I'll spare you a lofty intro and a pretentious quote, and we'll cut to the chase. Here's the lines as of Midnight PT...
March Madness Round 1 - Thursday Games
12:20 PM ET Butler (9) vs LSU (8) -2
12:25 PM ET CSU Northridge (15) vs Memphis (2) -20.5
12:30 PM ET Texas A&M (9) vs Brigham Young (8) -2.5
2:30 PM ET Northern Iowa (12) vs Purdue (5) -8.5
2:50 PM ET Radford (16) vs North Carolina (1) -25
2:55 PM ET Maryland (10) vs California (7) -1.5
3:00 PM ET Chattanooga (16) vs Connecticut (1) -21
4:55 PM ET Mississippi St. (13) vs Washington (4) -6
7:10 PM ET Michigan (10) vs Clemson (7) -5
7:10 PM ET Minnesota (10) vs Texas (7) -4.5
7:20 PM ET American U. (14) vs Villanova (3) -17
7:25 PM ET Akron (13) vs Gonzaga (4) -13
9:40 PM ET Morgan St.(15) vs Oklahoma (2) -16.5
9:40 PM ET Binghamton (15) vs Duke (2) -21.5
9:50 PM ET VCU (11) vs UCLA (6) -7.5
9:55 PM ET Western Kentucky (12) vs Illinois (5) -5
Pauly's Thursday Picks:
Memphis -20.5 vs. Northridge ($5 bet with Schecky)
Purdue -8.5 vs. Northern Iowa
Miss St. +6 vs. UW
Villanova -17 vs. American
Duke -21.5 vs. SUNY-Binghamton
VCU +7.5 vs. UCLA
Disclaimer: these picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood. 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.
Well, it's been a while since I live blogged something on Tao of Poker. In the past I went all out during the opening rounds of March Madness. I hope to update a little less this year so I can enjoy the games and not be handcuffed to my laptop. To set the scene for you, I went to bed early because I'm on the west coast for the games. It's been a while since I watched the first round in the Pacific time zone which meant that the games kicked off at 9:20am! (Note that I'll be posting my updates using ET time stamps)
I'm raging solo. My girlfriend is currently in South America covering the LAPT Uganada with Otis, while I get to sit on the couch, pantless, and clutching the bong like it's manna from heaven. I was up before the dawn and got two hours of work in before I ripped a couple of bingers and headed out to breakfast. Nothing is sweeter than the first high of the day and I stumbled over to the neighborhood coffeeshop in the slums of Beverly Hills. You can imagine how astonished I was to walk in baked to the tits and see 20 LAPD eating their breakfast. I sat down at the counter and wondering what's up with all the cops. One of them told me that they were on Obama motorcade/traffic duty. They wouldn't tell me when and where he was going to be because even they didn't know. One of the cops saw my UNC hat and we started chatting about March Madness. I told him that Obama picked UNC on his ESPN sheet... which bothered me because I picked them to win it all and I'm worried about the Obama jinx. I heard that Duke's coach Mike Krzyzewski was irked that Obama filled out an ESPN bracket. Yeah, he's wicked pissed because Obama picked intra-state rival UNC over his Duke Blue Devils.
"Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets," said Coach K.
Yeah, I'm not an Obama disciple, but maybe Coach K should stick to running the picket fence and let Obama have a little March Madness fun. Maybe he should be wagering $1 trillion on the game in order to pay for all those bailouts?
There are three noonish games to kick off March Madness. I never bet on 8 vs. 9 games, so let's just ignore the LSU/Butler and the A&M/BYU match up. I think I split those teams on my sheets. I have a small bet on Memphis at -20.5. Schecky is an alum of Cal State Northridge so he wanted to bet on his school so I took Memphis giving lots of points. It's a $5 gentleman's bet, but I usually want to win those more.
Schecky actually put $20 on Cal State Northridge... to win $40K!
* * * * *
Halftime in all three games. Since I'm in LA, I got stuff with the Memphis game. It was close, so it made the game watchable. I was a little surprised that Northridge kept it so close in the first half and only trailed by 3 at the half. Memphis should pull away in the second half. I did not catch a whiff of the A&M/BYU game but that looked like the biggest blowout of the day with the Aggies dominating the Mormons in the first half. I haven't pulled up the online coverage yet. I'll check it out shortly.
According to Joe Speaker, "Northridge lost its leading scorer to burglary arrest (along with the coach's son!)"
So, I'm about an hour into March Madness and I'm sliding into commercial tilt. I might just block out all the audio and listen to music instead. I have been waiting to see Showcase's Bud Light commercial. It aired during the SEC and PAC-10 Championships, but I haven't seen it yet. SAG supposedly pays him $75 everytime it gets aired, so I'm hoping he can rack up a couple of grand over this weekend.
At halftime, I went outside and smoked a doobie. As I stood in the alley, a smoking hot chick walked towards me. I had never seen her before and assumed that she was interested in renting the empty apartment across the hall. I was pretty much busted in mid-toke when she smiled and handed me a pink pamphlet. I glanced at the cover and it said something like... Oxford Capacity Analysis Test(OCA)... and then I turned it over and this was what I saw...
Yes, she was a real life spammer for the Scientologists trying to covert the masses.
Drinking an Arnold Palmer... iced tea + lemonade. I think the gang at Memphis are shaving points and letting Northridge stay close. They kids from the Valley are shooting well (and went up by 4 with 11:20 to go), but Memphis should lock it up in the last ten minutes. Memphis is due for a big run. It's way to early to be talking upset. Let's wait until crunch time to see if they have a legit shot.
Three games are over. Texas A&M thumped the Mormons. #9 seed beats a #8 seed. I didn't see a single play of that game because Northridge was making a run and it's a regional game. LSU beat Butler in a game that came down to the last couple of possessions. I saw Cleveland State upset Butler a week or so ago and knew that they were flawed. Plus they couldn't stop Marcus Thornton who dropped 30 on them. And Northridge came close... and hung in there for 38 minutes... before they fizzled out in crunch time. It doesn't matter what you do in the first 38 minutes. Everything comes down to the last two minutes. If you can't close out the game and make tough defensive stops, hit your free throws, and score on every single possession down the stretch... then you're milk toast. Alas, the thugs from the Valley couldn't step up when it counted the most and Memphis coasted to an 11 point win. Roburt Sallie lit it up from downtown with 10 treys. He scored 35 overall and hit a couple of big shots to seal the victory for the #2 seeded Memphis.
Good thing I had a small bet and only lost $5 on Memphis. As I was about to hit publish, Showcase's commercial came on. It's in rotation which is great news for Tao of Poker's favorite out-of-work actor.
Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 1
Second leg of games are off and running which included two #1 seeds. Four games in this stretch...N. Iowa (12) vs Purdue (5); Radford (16) vs UNC (1); MD (10) vs Cal; Chattanooga (16) vs UCONN (1)... I got a bet on Purdue and I picked UNC to win it all, so I'll be keeping an eye on the Heels. Coach Calhoun was hospitalized so the Huskies are without their coach. They should still win by 25. Since I'm on the left coast, I got the Cal/MD feed with former NJ Net Mike Gimiski doing the commentary. I fired up the live feed on NCAA.com to watch the Purdue game since I'm sweating my bet. I'm already on commercial tilt on the online feed. I want to punch that skydiver in the nuts.
And I think Gene Hackman is doing voiceovers for Lowes. I recognize Coach Dale's voice anywhere.
Feeling groovy. Maybe that's the sunshine that finally broke through the grey skies? Or maybe the pharmies? Or the fact that Purdue is up 12 in the first half. Corn fed white boys versus corn fed white boys. I love it. Reminds me of Hoosiers.
The CBS eye has been bombarding me with Fast & Furious commercials and billing it as a sequel that as all the original players back for the fourth installment. I actually watched the first one like 100 times. And I always wondered what happened to Jordanna Brewster since then? I know that Derek Jeter dumped her at some point. Who would have thought that M-Rod had the best career after that flick with a stint on Lost and a big part in that surfer girl flick Blue Crush.
The commercials for the free online feed are slightly haunting and ominous. On more than one instance, a Marines recruiting commercial was followed up by an Exxon/Mobil commercial touting their new green/Eco-friendly image. Hmmmm.... military + oil = ???? I should let the Human Head weigh in on his take on those messages.
The pizza wars are being waged on CBS between Pizza Hut and Papa John's. Those two seem to be the most prevalent. I could actually go for some wings right now, but I would never get them at Pizza Hut. The WSOP destroyed any cravings of Pizza Hut after the atrocious pieces of cold cardboard that they passed off as food. of course, I ate on average one per day and had to sprinkle two or three packets of red pepper flakes in order to give it some sort of flavor.
Every time that CBS leaves one game and then goes to another and then they cut to a commercial... I'm going to microwave a kitten in protest of that lowbrow tactic. Maybe PETA can step in and cause a ruckus and get the suits at the Eye to get their shit together and provide more hoops and less consumerism.
Oh and I cut the tail off a puppy every time I see another fuckin' Geico commercial.
I'm totally sweating that Purdue game. N. Iowa playing much better in the second half. I have a feeling that's gonna come down to the last possession. I'm second guessing my decision to not bet on Ty Lawson-less Carolina and Calhoun-less UConn.
Today's smoke break is brought to you by PokerStars....
To my good friend AlCantHang who is knee deep in debauchery on Duval Street in Key West... this binger's for you.
Rough start. Purdue won but did not cover and I lost my first bet of the tournament. In the past, I often jumped out to a hot start with mediocre results. Let's hope the first fuck up is the last today.
I wagered favorites in two four-team parlays. I had UConn, UNC, Villanova, and Memphis in one. I had Oklahoma, UNC, Duke, and UConn in the other. One parlay is still alive. But holy shit, UNC and Uconn destroyed their opponents. It wasn't even close. Their second string could have torched them by twenty.
I'll be sweating the Miss St/UW game, a potential upset team, but I don't need them to in... just not lose by a lot. CBS went on a break. Bastards, so I'll have to watch it online because they fucked me and are now airing The Price Is Right.
With MD's victory, two of the higher seeds advanced, albeit #9 and #10 teams who sent #8 and a #7 team packing.
Despite getting off to a smooth start in the first few minutes, Miss St. looked like ass the remainder of the first half. They just couldn't get any sort of offensive rhythm, while UW surged a couple of times with a loud crowd behind them. Down by 11 at the half. The Bulldogs are being outplayed and out hustled by the Huskies.
I whiffed on Miss St courtesy of piss-poor shooting. With three minutes to go, Dee Bost and Ravern Johnson were 3-22 combined from the field, including an anemic 0-8 from downtown. They could not contain UW's Quincy Pondexter (who posted a double-double) and Miss St. promptly got blown out of the Rose Garden.
Slow start betting wise for me, but the good news is that I'm stuck an insignificant amount (around $250) after a plethora of small bets. Even tonight, I'm staying disciplined and I'm waiting until the Sweet 16 before I crank up the heat.
There are eight games tonight. First batch includes... Michigan (10) vs Clemson (7); Minnesota (10) vs Texas (7); American U. (14) vs Villanova (3); Akron (13) vs Gonzaga (4). I'll be sweating the Villanova game. I'm considering a bet on Gonzaga... might be a last minute decision. There's a lot of money going down on Texas it appears. The public has no love for the Gophers. Sorry, Drizz.
Showcase stopped by to hang out for a bit. We were hoping his commercial would come on during the first game, but so far, nothing yet.
And yeah, the Nova pick is not looking too good. American U playing solid all around. Of course, I'm stuck with the Gonzaga game, so I have to watch the Nova game online.
Nova and Zaga looking like chumps compared to the fired-up American & Akron squads. I'm feeling better now that I didn't bet Zaga, but fretting over that Nova picks.
FYI... I'll be a guest on Keep Flopping Aces, which is Lou Kreiger's radio show. Tune in tonight starting at 9pm ET. Head over to Rounders Radio for more details.
I'm back. I spent the last hour chatting with Lou Kreiger about the durrrr challenge and March Madness. Towards the end of my stint, he asked me who had the best cheerleaders. I told him that the UCLA chicks looked pretty tasty. He said that USC's were better. I dunno... what do you think? The Rooster would insist that the bitches from his alma mater had the best pieces of poon tang in the nation.
I'm glad that I was distracted and did not have to watch the end of that horrendous Villanova game. Holy fuck me in the ear with a dildo. I can't pick a dog with fleas to save my life. Nova was losing at one point and came from behind to win. They beat American by double digits but failed to cover. Uggggggh.
I'm glad that I did not bet Gonzaga at -14. I was on the fence leading up to tip off. Glad I backed off. They were down early on but rallied back to win... by 13 points. Texas easily beat Minnesota and AJ Abrams from Texas knocked down 8 treys and scored 26 overall as he played the entire game. At one point, he scored 12 points inside of 90 seconds. And the Big Ten prevailed over the ACC as Michigan beat Clemson. Another #10 beats a #7.
My late night hopes rest on the Dukies and a VCU upset. I still have one four-team parlay that's open and need both Dule and Oklahoma to cover in order to win that. It pays 12/1 and it will get me unstuck.
Showcase Bud Light Commercial Count: 2
Three games at halftime. Duke is up by nine and need to turn up the heat in the second half. The Okies are kicking ass and need to keep up that whoop ass. Sadly, VCU looked like a bunch of pansies. The trialed UCLA by 10 at the half. I'm getting 6.5. Not looking good, but with all the upset pick I made today, I wagered small. At this point, it's going to come down to Duke. If they cover, I'll win that bet and be in great shape for the parlay.
Oh, and that lucksack Otis is currently winning the Pauly's Pub Pool. He's a perfect 12-12.
That VCU cheerleader did a walking handstand from one end of the court to the other. Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas were making fun of her. Enberg said something totally retarded. I'm sure he really wanted to say... "I haven't seen a woman do a trick upside like that since that since a hooker in Thailand shot an entire watermelon out of her snatch."
The moment of reckoning is near. Duke and Oklahoma are both winning but they're close to not covering. While VCU keeps hanging around. Whenever UCLA tries to pull away, VCU scores a couple of buckets and keeps it within 5 points.
I crunched the numbers. I'm -435 and with my three outstanding bets, I have a shot at ending up +180. That would be one helluva way to end the first day... by nailing a four-team parlay to save my ass.
Ship it. I won my first bet of the 2009 March Madness shortly before Midnight when Duke covered against my buddy Girtz's alma mater. And then Oklahoma came through in the clutch... to complete the fourth leg of my four-team parlay. That paid me $300 and guaranteed that I'd get unstuck for the day. Now, I have one outstanding bet pending... but at this point, I'm freerolling...
I went on tilt for about thirty seconds when the TV changed channels because Change100 set her TiVo for Grey's Anatomy. What the fuck? In the middle of sweating a bet. Tilt.
Wow. It was close. I had VCU with the points and the money line. They made a last minute charge but fell short and UCLA won by 1 point. So I missed the money line bet but scored with the points. That winning bet pushed me to +180 for the day. Almost ninety minutes ago, it looked like I'd be stuck over $400 but I caught some last minute magic to end the day on a positive note.
Of course, all hail Otis. He went 16/16 on Day 1 and took the early lead in the Pauly's Pub pool. Defending champ MeanGene is tied for second with Daddy.
That's it. Time to fire up a victory fatty and end the rest of the bag of Milanos. Good luck tomorrow.
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