Saturday, March 17, 2007

March Madness Round 2 Saturday Picks and Happy St. Patty's Day

By Pauly

First of all, congrats to Katja Thater for making the final table of EPT Warsaw. You can follow the action over at Poker News's Live Reporting section. If you didn't know, I'll be a part of the live coverage team for the EPT Grand Finale Championships in Monte Carlo at the end of the month. Best of luck to Katja!

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St. Patty's Day usually falls sometime around March Madness. What could be better than binge drinking and gambling on schools you never knew existed until the brackets came out a week before?

The luck of the Irish will be out in full force today. I usually have awful results on the Ides of March and pick up the slack on St. Patty's Day. This year was different, however.

I actually had a decent Ides and started out 8-3-1. Yesterday's outstanding 5-0 start to Day 2 really helped me as I struggled with the early evening games. The night games were stressful until my teams finished strong to end the day. That helped push me to 9-2-1 and a mind-blowing 17-5-2 overall.

I never expected to be doing this well so early in the tournament. I'm afraid that I used up all my good mojo early. Round 2 starts today. There are eight games total as all of Thursday's winners will be slugging it out to see who advances to the illustrious Sweet 16. I'm going to pay less attention to the stats again and go with the gut since that's the strategy which got me to this point.

Here are the betting lines courtesy of BoDog as of 10am ET:
1:10p Xavier +8 Ohio State
3:20p Butler +6 Maryland
3:40p Louisville +3 Texas A&M
5:40p Vanderbilt +2 Washington State
5:45p Boston College +8.5 Georgetown
5:50p Virginia Commonwealth +7.5 Pittsburgh
8:05p Indiana +7.5 UCLA
8:15p Michigan State +10 North Carolina

Here are 7 games that I'll be betting on today:
Ohio State -8
Butler +6
Texas A&M -3
Vanderbilt +2
Boston College +8.5
Pittsburgh -7.5
UCLA -7.5
The games are extremely tough today. I'm avoiding the UNC game because I picked them to go all the way and they are my favorite team in the tournament. And you can't bet with your heart. That is unless I'm really stuck for the day and then I get desperate and put out a last minute bet on the Heels.

The boys in Vegas set some difficult lines today and I only had less than a day to examine the picks. One point either way and I could easily go with the other team. I'm having these thoughts like, "Georgetown is gonna win, but it's going to be a close game. Have to pick BC and their flex offense."

I feel the same way about Maryland against Butler. The Terps will win a close game, so I have to pick Butler and the points. How could you bet against A.J. Graves who's from Daddy's hometown in Indiana? It will be interesting to see how Butler's slower pace matches up against Maryland's running and pressing fast-paced style of play.

Wazzu is a headache for me. I don't want to get into that trap where I bet against one team in Round 1 and lose, so I take them in the second round and promptly lose. Or I bet against one team the entire tournament and they fuckin' win every game. I'm praying that Vandy and SEC player of the year Derrick Foster comes to play. Vandy needs to shoot better from downtown. Both are tough defensive teams, but teams that play great defense and don't score much often struggle in the tournament. That's why I picked against Wazzu in the first round. They average around 66 points a game compared to Vandy's 76. I'm also hoping history is on my side. Wazzu has never won two games in the same March Madness tournament since 1941.

Indiana has a less than impressive road record and if UCLA can shut down their guards, they can coast to a ten point victory. I also think that VCU shot their load against Duke, who wasn't as strong as most people expected. They beat one of the worst Duke teams in recent years. So what? They will have a tough time with Pitt's big trees down low along with Pitt's defense. I only wish the spread was a point or two lower. Don't we all?

In case you were wondering, the Pauly's Pub March Madness Pool had 39 entrants. We had 40, but DoubleAs forgot to do his picks! First place should pay out $400 and the top 4 win prize money. Paboo is out to a quick lead after picking 30/32 first round winners. The only two ladies in the tournament not far behind in third place. Yes, it's true, Gracie and Change100 are tied for third. Visit the Tao of Pauly for a complete update.
Pauly's Pub Round 1 Update... The Top 6:
1 Paboo's Phighting Phalli (Paboo) 300
2 Stimulation (Senor) 280
3 Logan's Run (Gracie) 270
3 Capt. Tom and the P.O.B.s (Change100) 270
3 warren coolidge all-stars (Hector31) 270
3 Backdoor Inuits (JoeSpeaker) 270
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By the way... the last time I pimped Miami Don's Big Game on a Saturday, I won it!

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1:25pm... Ohio St out to a slow start against Xavier, who are holding their own on the boards. OSU has 11 to XU's 9. Xavier scored 6 unasnwered to take a 10-9 lead, as Oden picked up a carless offensive foul.

1:50pm... Jamar Butler drilled two treys (one from way way downtown in NBA range) as OSU pulled out to a 6 point lead with six minutes to go. Xavier strugled from three-point range missing their first 7 attempts. As soon as Oden went to the bench for a breather, XU took advantage and attacked the basket. Brandon Cole was fouled on a layup. He scored but failed to convert the conventional three point play.

1:53pm... Five point swing. Oden was called for basket inference as Xavier came down and hit their first three-pointer of the game to pull within 1.

2:00pm... Halftime. Just when OSU looked like they were going to close out the half strong, XU's Josh Duncan hit another three. OSU headed into the locker room with 4 point lead and has seriously outrebounded XU 21-14. OSU needs to shoot a lot better in the second half if they are going to cover for me.

2:30pm... Xavier came out fired up and took the lead as Justin Doellman lit them up. XU were up three until OSU tied it up with 15 minutes to go. OSU needs to cut down on those turnovers, and Oden has to stop missing those layups!

2:45pm... The lead keeps changing hands in this exciting match-up as Xavier is living and dying by the threes. They extended their lead to 6 after Justin Cage dropped another three. Oden picked up his third foul (and his second offensive foul) with 10 minutes to play. At this point, I'm worrying less about OSU covering and need them to win outright to keep every pool I have intact!

2:55pm... Justin Cage is playing out of his tits. They took an 11 point lead after a barrage of three-pointers. OSU is starting to panic with plenty of time left. Oden picked up his 4th foul with 5 minutes to go.

3:11pm... Both teams played below average for the first 30 minutes. I expected that OSU would step up and outplay XU in the last ten minutes, like #1 seeds are supposed to do. Alas, they kept turning the ball over, failed to convert on the offensive end, and was unable to stop Xavier's sharp shooters. After starting 0-7, they went 8-12 from downtown. Then it came down to who had the biggest heart in crunch time. OSU rallied to within one point after Jamar Butler rained down a big three and then OSU picked up a steal on the inbound pass, followed by a bucket from Ron Lewis, a foul, and a FT. With a minute to go, XU has a two point lead.

3:16pm... OSU could not score as Oden fould out with 14 points. With 9 seconds to go, XU was at the FT line with the lead. Justin Cage hit the first and missed the second. That would cost them the game. OSU rushed down the court and Ron Lewis drilled a three pointer to tie the game with 2 seconds. Overtime! Covering is still a possibility for OSU, but Oden is on the bench with five fouls. What a comeback.

3:21pm... Freshman Mike Conley outscored XU 7-2 in the first 2 minutes of OT, as XU looks flustered. If they pull this out and cover, I owe that kid several lapdances.

3:31pm... OSU came from behind to win by 7. Spread was 8. OSU was up 9, but I was killed by a meaningless basket from XU. Ugly. Fuckin ugly. That's like a classic suck, then re-suck on the river. At least I got a nice head rush for the last thirty minutes. Mike Conley from OSU stepped up big time. That kid has balls of steel. 0-1 for the day.

4:05pm... Butler up by 5 at the break. Daddy's buddy AJ Graves has 9 points, all from three pointers. Maryland is crushing Butler on the boards, but Butler is outscoring the Terps 21-3 from three point range.

4:50pm... Thanks to Mike Jones deft long range shooting, MD erased a six point first half deficit to pull even against Butler 46-46 with eight minutes to go. The Texas A&M and Louisville is tied at halftime. The Aggies led for most of the game.

5:10pm... Butler was up by six, but Maryland came back led by two buckets from DJ Strawberry. With 2:11 to go AJ Graves hit a trey from the corner to extend Butler's lead to 5.

5:22pm... It's over. Butler goes to the Sweet 16 after they upended Maryland 62-59. #5 Butler's win put me at 1-1 for the day.

6:00pm... Lousiville's press has been irking Texas A&M as their lead slipped away. Rick Pitino's NYC recruit Edgar Sosa is lighting up A&M's defense for 29 points. He hit two big baskets including a three to put Louisville ahead by 6 with six minutes to go. I need A&M to step up. Quickly.

6:20pm... A&M up by 1 with less than a minute to go. Another gut wrenching game for me. Edgar Sosa was 15-15 from the FT line and seemed like a lock to drop two. He missed both.

6:27pm... "A push is not a loss!" exclaimed my brother as Texas A&M beat Louisville by 3 points. I feel bad for Edgar Sosa. The Louisville guard played his guts out, dropped 31 points, and then made a couple mistakes late with the two missed free throws and a missed three pointer to win the game. The Aggies advance to the Sweet 16. The push put me at 1-1-1 for the day.

7:11pm... Georgetown went on a 10-0 run take a two point lead over BC with 11 minutes to go. Pitt is up by 15 at the start of the second half, while Vandy took the lead with nine minutes to go on consecutive threes from Derrick Byars.

7:43pm... Shan Foster hit a huge three with 1:08 to give Vandy a one point lead. With the game tied at 60, Wazzu took the final shot and missed as Vandy picked up the rebound with under two seconds to go. The refs used replay and tried to figure out when they actually called the TO. It didn't matter and the game headed into overtime. Second game today. If I had any hair, I'd be pulling out divots right now.

7:47pm... With 1:03 to go, G'town held a four point edge over BC. They locked up the game after a reverse dunk (followed up by the free throw for a three point play) by Patrick Ewing 2.0. They flirted with the spread, but G'town won 62-55 as I picked up my second win in four games. 2-1-1 for the day.

7:58pm... Double OT for Vandy-Wazzu. Pitt blew a big lead and is only up by 3 with three minutes to go.

8:06pm... Pitt played with their heads up their arses for the last five minutes of the game. They scored only five points down the stretch as they pissed away a 19 point lead. Pitt had VCU on the ropes and let them back in the game. VCU took the lead with 55 seconds to go. With game tied, Levance Fields missed two big FTs with a chance to win the game for Pitt. No such luck as the game headed into OT. Third OT game today. Amazing comeback from VCU and Pitt deserved to lose the game. They got a second chance with the OT. We'll see if they can fuck that up. Covering would be a miracle right now. Bastards. You should all be shot.

8:12pm... Talk about an exhilarating game. Two OTs. Big threes down the stetch. Plenty of missed FTs. What more could you ask for? #6 Vandy advanced to the Sweet 16 after beating Washington St. 78-74. That win put me to 3-1-1 for the day.

8:27pm... Pitt won by four and didn't cover. I slipped to 3-2-1.

9:31pm... I was online at FT and donked off my chips in a token event for the Big Game as I ran 6-6 into 8-8. Guess I'll buy in directly. Still working off a bonus. Michigan St. could not stop Tyler Hansbrough who dropped 19 on them in the first half, but they outplayed them in the first five minutes to take a one point lead. UCLA and Indiana played an ugly game. It's 20-13 at the half.

10:03pm... UCLA came out of halftime on fire. They scored the first seven points. UNC opened up a six point lead with five minutes to go.

10:45pm... UNC won by 14 and actually cvered, but I didn't bet on it. The only game today hat I had no action on. Tyler Hansbrough scored 33 points with 9 rebounds. He was everywhere and MSU couldn't handle him. UCLA blew a big lead as Indiana went on a 13-2 run in the last five minutes to pull within 2.

10:59pm... Busy day as three overtime games and a couple of near upsets as eight teams advanced to the Sweet 16. Add UCLA to that list. Indy tied UCLA with about a minute to go, but UCLA prevailed with an ugly 54-49 victory. Once again, a team that I bet on squandered a hefty lead late in the second half and hold on to win, but not cover. Plus add those two games where I lost by a point and pushed. Ughhhhhhhhhh. So close today. Alas, I broke even (minus some juice) as I ended the long day at 3-3-1. I'm 20-8-3 overall since March Madness began. Still up and I have eight games to bet on tomorrow.

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

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