New York City
Well, there goes another #1 seed down the toilet. Duke haters rejoiced when Arizona upended America's most loathed #1 seed, which sent a huge percentage of brackets into a tailspin. The first bracketbuster of the year occurred when Butler picked off Pitt, and the first #1 seed got the boot last weekend. You can add Duke to the list of defunct #1 seeds. As much as Duke gets the short-end of the venom stick, I know a significant number of people in my pool(s) who had Duke (at the least) advancing to the Elite 8, let alone most of America who had Duke as a lock for a Final Four. Ah, but Sean Miller's Arizona squad stood in their way and prevented a repeat championships for Coach K and the Dukies.
I picked Arizona +9, but it wasn't because of a scouting report or a hunch, rather out of simple Duke-Sucks-Bias. I just wanted to bet against Duke and I got lucky. No skill there. But man, Derrick Williams is probably the best player in the country after his performance against Duke with 25 points in the first half to keep them in the game. Jimmer Ferdette gets a lot of hype, and the kid from upstate NY can shoot, but he looked awful last night. Meanwhile, Williams solidified the assessment of NBA scouts -- he's the real deal and could/should go #1 in the draft. Whereas, Jimmer's future as an NBA player is a question mark. The kid can shoot but can't play a lick of defense, which means the Knicks will make him their #1 draft pick.
BYU had a shot but they (Jimmer) couldn't score in crunch time. Perhaps the Mormons ran out of gas? Florida, on the other hand, had the game locked up yet couldn't close it out and as a result, allowed the game to go into overtime. I needed the OT to cover 2.5. I would have been livid if Florida scored on their final possession in regulation and won the game by a mere bucket. Alas, this was the second time this March Madness that I needed OT for a shot to cover -- and I got it -- after Florida whooped BYU in the extra session. In the final 7-8 minutes of the game, an exhausted Jimmer couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat.
Butler took on a schizo Wisconsin team. The Badgers looked the the squad who got blown out by Ohio State and could barely muster up 30+ points against Penn State. Yep, that's what they looked like for almost 30+ minutes as Butler opened up a 20-point lead, but Butler got complacent and allowed Wisconsin to storm back and get within 4 points. Alas, Butler held off a Wisconsin comeback and they held onto a 7 point victory. I knew Butler played a lot of close games so getting points is a blessing. In that instance, I didn't need them.
The only misstep on Thursday was San Diego State. Bleh. I knew the fix was in 4 minutes into the game when Kawhi Leonard picked up a second foul, a technical at that, which seemed strange because SDSU rarely got techs and Leonard has been known as one of the more quiet (aka non-cocky) players in the country. Kemba Walker finally got hot and UCONN pulled out to a lead. In the second half, SDSU made a run but Leonard picked up a third and eventually a fourth (both tickey tack fouls), which disrupted their offensive flow. As a result, their O stagnated down the stretch and they couldn't stop Kemba. UCONN prevailed and I lost my only bet of the day, albeit a big bet, but luckily I won all of my other (smaller) bets including a double down on Butler when SDSU lost the game.
Enough gloating/moaning about yesterday's games. You're here to fade/tail my picks for today, so here they are...
- UNC -200 ML. I'm afraid to bet UNC after they failed to cover in the last game. I like them to win, along with most of the favorites on Friday, but I'm squeamish about laying points, so I took the Heels with the money line.Disclaimer: These picks are for entertainment purposes only. After all, gambling is illegal at Bushwood Country Club and in most 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.That's it for now.
- Kansas -725 ML. More favorites. It's hard to picture a scenario in which Kansas loses to #12 seed Richmond, but I dunno if they can cover 11-12 points.
- Richmond +10.5. This is a hedge just in case another #1 seed falls. I'd hate to lose a monster moneyline bet on Kansas, but if that's the case, this would cushion the blow a bit.
- Ohio State -5.5 and Ohio State -260 ML. At this point, the championship is Ohio States to lose. As much as I have a ton of friends who are Kentucky fans, I loaded up on the OSU moneyline and put a minor bet on the points. They smell blood.
- VCU +4. This is my only dog of the day, which isn't saying all that much considering they are up against #10 FSU. VCU has blown out their last two opponents, which is why I'm weary of hammering them in the Sweet 16. FSU is a sleeper, so much so that I doubt many people had them advancing this far, then again, you can say the same thing about VCU. I can't turn my back against a hot team, so VCU it is.
Instead of live blogging the minutiae of sports betting, you can follow my progress on Twitter via @taopauly for live Sweet 16 updates. Not to fear, the vacuum chamber and regular poker programming will resume on Monday.