Friday, March 20, 2009

Fried Green Ham and Eggs: March Madness - Round 1 Friday

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

Well, yesterday was a wild ride. I shot a goose egg for 8 hours until I nailed three bets in the last hour to end the day +180.

And yes, today is a brand new day and I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

March Madness Round 1 - Friday Games:
12:15 PM ET Stephen F. Austin (14) vs Syracuse (3) -11.5
12:25 PM ET Tenn (9) vs Oklahoma St.(8) +2
12:30 PM ET North Dakota State (14) vs Kansas (3) -9.5
12:30 PM ET Utah St. (11) vs Marquette (6) -4.5

2:45 PM ET Temple (11) vs Arizona St. (6) -5.5
2:55 PM ET East Tennessee St. (16) vs Pittsburgh (1) -19.5
3:00 PM ET Cornell (14) vs Missouri (3) -12.5
3:00 PM ET Dayton (11) vs West Virginia (6) -9

7:10 PM ET Arizona (12) vs Utah (5) -1.5
7:10 PM ET Morehead St. (16) vs Louisville (1) -20.5
7:20 PM ET USC (10) vs Boston College (7) +2.5
7:25 PM ET Portland St. (13) vs Xavier (4) -10.5

9:40 PM ET Cleveland St. (13) vs Wake Forest (4) -8
9:40 PM ET Siena (9) vs Ohio St. (8) -3
9:50 PM ET Robert Morris (15) vs Michigan St (2) -16
9:55 PM ET Wisconsin (12) vs Florida St.(5) -2.5

Pauly's Friday Picks:
Utah St. +6
North Dakota St +10
Dayton +9
Cornell + 13.5 ($10 bet with Otis)
Utah -1.5
Louisville -20.5
USC - 2.5
Florida St. -2.5
Cleveland St. +8
Parlay: Pitt, Louisville, Michigan St, Syracuse

Disclaimer: these picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood and in parts of rural America. The Tao of Poker is not a registered investment adviser or broker/dealer. Readers are advised that the material contained herein should be used solely for informational purposes. Tao of Poker does not purport to tell or suggest which games that readers should wager for themselves. True gamblers should always conduct their own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Tao of Poker will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained on Tao of Poker. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.
* * * * *


I woke up with a wicked headache and popped a painkiller on the way to the coffeeshop around the corner. I sat at the counter and read the L.A. Times. Yeah, I know. A physical newspaper. It's like spotting an endangered species. I read an interesting article about Denzel Washington's kid who's a point guard for a HS hoops team in LA. He's a little undersized but has a good shot.

The cooks at the coffeeshop were talking about that UCLA game last night. The Bruins caught a break. Obama actually picked VCU as his upset pick, when it was Western Kentucky knocking off his home state Illinois.

Anyway, I'm feeling a lot better today about the games. It felt as though I was running in quicksand for most of yesterday. Today, I'm feeling a lot more confident about my picks... small bets on upsets with one or two medium-sized wagers on the favorites. I took a lot of dogs today and the Cornell game has significant implied tilt odds since Otis is a proud alum of Missouri. After all, the greatest Grateful Dead show of all time was performed at Barton Hall at Cornell. You can download that epic 5/8/77 show... here.

Anyway, back to hoops... four early games...
Stephen F. Austin (14) vs Syracuse (3)
Tenn (9) vs Oklahoma St.(8)
North Dakota State (14) vs Kansas (3)
Utah St. (11) vs Marquette (6)
I have money on Utah State and I was on the fence about NDSU. MiamiDon told me that he bet the money line on them, so at the last second I bet them with the points. They are one of the best shooting teams in the country, so they can score points at will. I have a feeling that there's gonna be an upset in the early game. I'm hoping it's Utah State since I actually picked them on my sheets, in addition to betting it.

So we're about ten minutes into the games, and I'm already on tilt with CBS's schizophrenic scheduling jumping back and forth between the Syracuse and Kansas game. I'm watching the Utah State game online.

Big East and ACC fared well on Thursday and went a combined 5-1, while Big Ten teams? 2-2.

* * * *


That Ben Woodside kid from NDSU is winning me over. He's got 16 points and kept them in the game against the Jayhawks. It seems as though NDSU can't contain the Kansas big guys who are scoring at will, but Kansas can't stop NDSU's perimeter shooting. If they could stay within 4 or 5 at halftime, I'll be happy with that result.

Syracuse cruised to a double-digit lead at halftime led by Jonny Flynn who has as many points as the entire starting squad at SFA. Hopefully, they can win by 20 and keep my parlay ticket alive.

Marquette's out-rebounding Utah St. in the first half, but the Aggies have the crowd on their side. That's the only thing going for them. The entire arena in Boise is filled with rowdy Mormons binge drinking on 1% milk. Marquette played blah and still dominated in the first half and Utah was lucky to be down by only 8 at the half. I'm sorry, but 18 points in a half in a March Madness game? Pathetic. Time for Utah St. to start shooting better if they want to be a Cinderella story.

Wow, I just saw a rare In & Out Burger commercial. At least some of the commercials today are different from yesterday. No Showcase Bud Light sightings... yet.

* * * * *


CBS finally threw me a friggin' bone and switched off the Syracuse game and gave us the Kansas/NDSU game since it's much closer with a four-point margin. Kansas looking a little rattled in the second half against NDSU's squad that included four crackers and a token soul brotha. Still 15+ minutes to go in that game and the Utah State game. Can the dogs keep it close?? The Aggies are surging and pulled within one. Holy sheeeeeet!

Too many James Bond commercials hyping up their Blue-Ray. When is it available on VHS?

* * * * *


It's a battle of the point guards in the Kansad/NDSU matchup. Sherron Collins at Kansas has been tough to contain all game, but his counterpart Ben Woodside at NDSU is doing everything right. Someone aside from Collins has to step up for Kansas to help kill NDSU's momentum.

Woodside and Collins are literally trading buckets back and forth. Highly entertaining to watch.

I never heard of Ben Woodside before today. He's my size... six foot and 180 lbs... and the senior guard averaged 22 points and 6 assists during the season. One of the amazing things about March Madness is that it can help shine a spotlight onto an unknown player from an obscure school like NDSU. I'm sure everyone in Fargo already knew that Woodside had a sick game. I'm sure he was the best player in his high school and one of the greatest players from his hometown in Minnesota. But now, the masses are getting a glimpse at his fearless ability to take over a game and attempt to lead his team to victory over the defending champs.

Rockchalk Jawhawk? Rockchump Jawhawk?

Signs of the depression? Longest running titty show in Vegas is closing after 50 years. RIP Folies Bergere.

Commercial Tilt: Those 'Becoming Legendary' commercials have become legendary annoying. Initially, I appreciated the concept of the campaign... taking painful moments in college basketball afflicting tremendous grudges in their victims. But, most of them are gutwrenching to watch. Anyway, they should have just show clips on those moments. Would have been a better campaign.

* * * * *


CBS switched me to the Tenn/Okie St. game. I screamed and cursed Verne Lundquist, even though that game was a thriller. Tenn and that Sampson clown choke. Again.

I had action on two other games and scrambled to watch both of them online. Aldrige stepped up down the stretch for Kansas to keep them ahead of NDSU. Just when Kansas would pull away, NDSU hit a big shot to keep it within two possessions. Yet, it all comes down to crunch time and NDSU faded. Kansas sealed the win.

Once the NDSU/Kansas game was out of reach, it came down to those crucial seconds of bullshit time... do the winning teams run out the clock or play "Ole!" defense or do the losing keep on fouling and chucking up treys? The spread was 10. Kansas led by 10 with 33.3 seconds to go. Meaningless for them, but those 33.3 seconds meant the world to me... alas. It was a push. Muthafuckers. So close. I started the day 0-0-1.

Utah St. took the lead with 2+ minutes to go and Marquette stormed back and took a lead. Then that lucksack banked a three pointer with 23 seconds to put Utah St. within two points. The spread was 6 and I was getting those points, so every bucket counted for me. When the clock ticked down to zero... Utah State lost by one, but I won my bet. Ship it. 1-0-1.

No upsets in the opening games, although two were pretty close. Betting the dogs is always a tumultuous, yet exhilarating time. It's always more fun to start the day with a win, than have to chase a loss. Time for a victory spliff.

Big East continued their domination and improved to 4-0. Syracuse easily covered in their game and my four-team chalk parlay is looking good.

* * * * *


Times are tough in the slums of Beverly Hills. I smoked a doobie in my alley and I aw three different people (inside of a ten minute period) check my dumpster for empty bottles. Two of them looked sketched out and the third looked like a twenty-something kid. I was a little surprised. Was the economy that bad or was he just a petty thief using dumpster diving as a cover to scout out apartments to rob? I gave him the stink eye.

I had a dream a few weeks ago that a #11 seed went deep. I bet on three of them and snubbed Temple. Utah St. and VCU came close and both of those #11 seeds lost by 1 point. Dayton and Temple are both #11 seeds and among the afternoon games. I took Dayton, which also happened to be my old man's alma mater. They offered me a full academic scholarship but I turned them down. Atlanta seemed much cooler than hanging out in Dayton. After all, some of my favorite bands (remember this is in 1990 and I was in a heavy REM phase) were from Athens, GA so it seemed like a much more hip place.

Anyway... here are the afternoon games...
Temple (11) vs Arizona St. (6)
East Tenn St. (16) vs Pitt (1)
Cornell (14) vs Missouri (3)
Dayton (11) vs West Virginia (6)
I have action on three of the games. Pitt is part of my chalk parlay. And of course, the one game that I don't really care about... is the game that CBS decided to air. I can't win. It was a blowout too as ASU went up by double digits early on.

What I like about March Madness is that I have visited some of the same venues and arenas where the teams are playing. Chances are... I dropped acid in one of those venues because I passed through on Phish tour or while I was following the Grateful Dead. Odd to think that the last time I was at the arena in Boise... my brain melted during a Phish show.

Commercial Tilt: Subway's $5 footlongs make me want to puke. I grew up with Blimpie's in New York City. They were OK during their heyday, but the franchise definitely got sloppy and started cutting corners. I encountered Subway during college in the early 1990s. Subway's subs were top notch and you got a ton of value. Over the years, the overall quality of their product diminished.

* * * * *


#1 seed Pitt struggled. Hopefully, they'll make adjustments and blow out E. Tenn in the second half. Arizona State tried to pull away in the second half. Temple's shooting guard Dionte Christmas has one of the best names in the tournament. He's Temple's all-time leading three pointer shooter and put Mark Macon and his flaptop to shame.

Cornell hung tough in the first half and even took the lead at the 4:20 mark. They didn't close out the half strong and Missouri went into halftime with a four point lead As DonkeyPuncher said, "This Cornell-Mizzou game is setting basketball back a few decades."

Dayton led for most of the first half and went into halftime up by 5... The Flyers surprised Bob Huggins' squad on both ends of the court. Marcus Johnson hit a couple of big threes... for a team that doesn't score a lot of points. Alas, WV struggled from the offensive end (scoring most of their point from the FT line), while Dayton shot almost 50% from the floor and over 57% from beyond the arc.

CBS Tilt: The suits at the Eye are conspiring against me. The two games I want to watch were ignored by CBS. They gave us a live-look in with Pitt and the ASU is a regional game for me, so I have to flip back and forth between the online feeds that seem to have more commercials.

Commercial Tilt: The new Nick Cage Armageddon flick? I'd rather pay you $10 and you just kick me in the nuts. What happened to Troy Aikman? He's pitching Wing Stop.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 1

Today's smoke break is brought to you by PokerStars....

* * * * *


Arizona State cruised all afternoon and knocked off Temple. Pac-10 team prevailed over the A-10. Pitt struggled and didn't look like a team that a lot of people picked to win it all. ETS pressure defense complicated things for Pitt. Talk about imploding. With less than four minutes to go, ETS pulled within a bucket... to make things interesting. #1 seed has never lost before. Pitt doesn't want to be that first team. If I had an actual betting slip, I'd be tearing up my parlay ticket right now.

West Virginia played Dayton tougher in the second half, but Dayton still maintained a slim lead.

Missouri pulled away in the second half. They were simply too athletic compared to the Ivy Leaguers at Cornell and led by 15+ points. Bad Blood sent me a text, "We need some garbage time buckets."

* * * * *


Pitt pulled away in crunch time as ETS wilted. #1 seed prevailed once again and they are 99-0 lifetime, with #1 Louisville scheduled to play tonight. The other #1 seeds (UNC + UCONN) crushed their opponents while Pitt looked like a bunch of amateurs during the first 38 minutes of that game.

Dayton held tough in crunch time and they went onto win. Go Flyers. I picked them for the upset on one of my sheets and bet them at the moneyline at +350 along with the points. Sweet delicious +275 game for me. Overall, we're looking at +325 for the day with five open bets in tonight's games.

Games resume around 7ish. Break time. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

* * * * *


During the break, I showed my office to a director of a short film. It's gonna be used as a shooting location and he wanted to check out the natural light and the layout of the room. One of those odd things about living in L.A.

I also tuned into PokerStars Blog and read Otis and Change100's coverage of the LAPT Uruguay. (Wow, I spelled it right on the first try without even having to utlize utilize spell check. In fact, I actually spelled 'utilize' wrong but nailed Uruguay.)

Anyway... I have action on three of the first round of night games...
Arizona (12) vs Utah (5)
Morehead St. (16) vs Louisville (1)
USC (10) vs Boston College (7)
Portland St. (13) vs Xavier (4)
Utah and USC are favorites but by small margins so I expected those games to be close the entire way. CBS is airing the USC game... obviously.

* * * * *


Halftime for three games and I'm losing all three bets. No shocker there. Not looking good for the #1 seed Louisville. Pitno's crew is barely ahead of Morehead St. Wow. That was a shocker. They actually shot well from the floor, but Morehead didn't back down.

USC had and up and down half against BC. They couldn't close our strong and BC took a four point lead into the locker room. Utah got off to a slow start and trailed Arizona, a team that many pundits felt had no business being in the tournament. I'm gonna need help in the second half. I'm almost conceding the L'ville bet, but both USC and Utah bets are winnable.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 2

* * * * *


I was on the verge of writing off the Louisville pick and then it sprang back to life. They are now up 18 with 11 minutes to go. Plenty of time left, but at least least there's a chance of covering and winning by 21. At halftime, the outlook was grim.

USC took the least with 12 minutes to go. I have a feeling that this game will come down to the last possession. I need USC to win by 2.5 or essentially 3 points.

Utah? Still down by 8. If they don't make a run soon, they are milk toast. The Mormons getting beat down by an Arizona team that should be playing in the NIT.

* * * * *


Interesting stat.... Big 12 teams are 6-0 so far.

Xavier coasted in their matchup and was almost up by 20 when I stopped checking the score. I don't think I saw one play in that game.

Utah couldn't hit a trey and Arizona didn't miss, especially their Big 3. It was ugly. The Mormons were missing wide open three point shots and could not convert. Yet, they somehow cut it to two points. Arizona responded and went back up by 8 with three minutes to go. Arizona obviously responded to their haters and beat up the Mormons en route to a double digit victory. And yes, another #12 topples a #5 seed. Arizona? Fuckers. At least it was only a small bet.

With 7 minutes to go, USC went on a run to open up the biggest lead of the game. They sealed it up in crunch time with some solid free throw shooting. Taj Gibson was a perfect 10-10 from the field and DeMar DeRozan is one heck of a ball player scoring 18 or so in his first every March Madness game.

Louisville's victory was locked up and luckily, Morehead St. gave up and the coach emptied the bench and put in the second string with two minutes to go. It came down to which team's bench scored garbage time buckets. With a 14-point lead, Louisville nailed back-to-back three pointers to push the score to 20. Wow, I had a shot at covering. Morehead St. turned the ball over and Louisville just dribbled out the clock in the last 20 seconds. I screamed at my laptop like a maniac, "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot the fucking ball!" I betcha there were hordes of people in sports books all over Las Vegas screaming the same thing. Alas, they didn't shoot and only won by 20. I lost that bet.

Overall? +260 for the day. I'm 1-2 in the night games after starting the day 2-0-1 (not including the Cornell bet with Otis).

Commercial Tilt: Triple hops Miller Lite commercials makes me want to puke. That trailer for the new Seth Rogan movie is being heavily publicized. Doesn't look very funny, like saw Pineapple Express which was non-stop hilarity.

Well, so far two #12 seeds have already won and a #11 seed (Dayton) won today. Is that going to be it for the upsets? Or can Cleveland State or Wisconsin join the list of bracket busters.

* * * * *

9:40pm... Here are the last batch of night games...
Cleveland St. (13) vs Wake Forest (4)
Siena (9) vs Ohio St. (8)
Robert Morris (15) vs Michigan St (2)
Wisconsin (12) vs Florida St.(5)
I have money on FSU and Cleveland State. Let's see if one team can pull off an upset and if the other can hold off one. At this point, even if I whiff on bets the rest of the night, I'll post a winning day. Obviously, I'd like to finish up strong and head into Saturdays games with a +500 margin.

The FSU line moved to -3.5. I locked it in at 2.5
* * * * *


Cleveland St. got off to a smoking hot start with a 9-0 run. Nothing could have made me happier as they opened up a 12 point lead after the first six minutes of play. I love J'Nathan Bullock, the guy on CSU with dreadlocks. Those guys play in the Horizon League. That totally sounds made up... like the California Penal League. Well, the Horizon champs are trying to upend an ACC team.

J'Nathan Bullock

* * * * *


An upbeat Cleveland State was up by double digits on the verge of a blow out, but Wake finally woke the fuck up and closed out the half strong with a 9-2 run. They hit a big three in the last minute to cut the lead to nine.

FSU shut down the Badgers and held them to 19 points and shot an anemic 1-10 from downtown and 27% overall from the floor. Led by Toney Douglas's 10 points, FSU opened up a double digit lead.

With both games at halftime, the bets looking good. Time to step out side for some fresh LA smog-ridden air and smoke a fatty before I hunker down for the second half.

* * * *


All the annoucers wer eputting me on tilt with all of their cheesy cliches, so I turned off the sound on the TV and on my laptop and I'm listening to music instead. I put my iPod on shuffle.... a little Jimmy Cliff and Widespread Panic.

FSU has some hot, but skanky looking cheerleaders, kind of girls that had back tattoos since they were 13, and as he saying goes, all Tallahassee girls are tube steak guzzlers, but beware of those STDs.

Siena trying to advance to the second round for the second year in the row. Last year,. they were an upset team at a #13 seed. Siena doesn't come to mind when you think about a college basketball power house. Siena? Sounds more like the stage name of a dancer on the afternoon shift at the Rhino.

Wisconsin went on a 16-2 run to start the second half that made me shake my head and stand up and star pacing around the apartment. They actually took the lead 35-33 after a clutch three which capped off their outburst.

* * * * *


The first OT game of the year. Siena came from behind to tie Ohio State and send the game into OT.

After Wisconsin stormed back into contention after halftime and took the lead, FSU went on a run of their own and regained the lead. The momentum went back and forth and with three minutes to go, both teams were at a 46-46 standstill.

Cleveland State? Are you kidding me? Looking good to beat the spread and win the game. That +350 moneyline bet is within sights as they're on the cusp of a 20 point lead. Wake Forest should be embarrassed with how the gang at Cleveland St. wiped them off the court.

Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 3

* * * * *


About time things got zanny at March Madness. Two Midnight OT games... one of them a double OT game. What more could you ask for?

I needed the FSU game to go into OT. That was the only way that I'd win my bet.

Cleveland State game is over and the Vikings are Cinderella stories. I'm looking like a genius among bowling retards with a moneyline bet along with getting +8. Hello Cleveland!

* * * * *


Wisconsin fucked me. They took a two point lead with two seconds to go. I needed another OT to get a shot at winning the game with a -2.5 spread. They could not connect and the cheese-eating Badgers were the third #12 seed to advance to the second round. I lost the bet and FSU did the walk of shame off the court. Oh well.

Siena and Ohio State went back and forth in the second OT. Siena's Ronald Moore drilled a couple of huge treys. He hit one from waaaaaaaay downtown to put them up for good. Back in my schoolyard days in NYC, we'd say, "He shot that so fat downtown, he was in Chinatown."

Siena? Indeed, they are the best college hoops team in New York State.

Friday's results? +425. I went 4-3-1 (not including the Otis bet and the chalk parlay that I whiffed on) for the day. I also nailed two clutch money line bets with Ohio-based dogs (Cleveland St. and Dayton) which more than made up for the losing bets.

How about some bad beats? Two games were so close. North Dakota pushed in their game. Louisville did not cover by a half of point. Half a fuckin' point.

Overall for Round 1? +605. I'm more than happy with that amount. I'm basically freerolling into the first batch of tomorrow's games.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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