Friday, March 21, 2008

March Madness Friday Live Blog

By Pauly
New York City

Yesterday was tons of fun. First day of March Madness is always one of my most favorite days of the year, where I get to actively engage in sloth-like activities and watch college basketball for 12 straight hours.

It had been a long time since I live blogged anything, and I couldn't recall the last time I live blogged an event on Tao of Poker. I was rusty and forgot about how intense it used to be! Based on my traffic numbers, people were tuning in from the office and when they got home. Thanks for following along. I will continue to live blog Friday's March Madness games here on Tao of Poker.

In the Tao of Poker March Madness Pool, I went 13 for 16. Beer and Snausages (B. Fowler) is in first place with 160 points after going 16 for 16 and finishing up with a perfect Thursday. He was the only perfect sheet out of 131 entries. Eight people went 15-1. Best of luck today.

In betting, I ended up 3-2 after a slow start. I turned a slight profit on a day where there were so many blowouts, it was hard not to make money. Yet, there I was struggling to break even. Bottom line... I'm up and cannot complain. Hopefully, I'll make better picks today.

Here are today's games...
3.21 Friday

12:15pm (2) Tennessee -19 (15) American University
12:25pm (10) Davidson -1 (7) Gonzaga
12:30pm (10) Saint Mary's -1 (7) Miami (FL)
12:30pm (5) Drake -4 (12) Western Kentucky

2:45pm (7) Butler -4.5 (10) South Alabama
2:55pm (2) Georgetown -16 (15) UMBC
3:00pm (2) Texas -15.5 (15) Austin Peay
3:00pm (4) Connecticut -11.5 (13) San Diego

7:10pm (1) North Carolina -24.5 (16) Mount St. Mary's
7:10pm (6) Oklahoma -1 (11) Saint Joseph's
7:20pm (4) Vanderbilt -6.5 (13) Siena
7:25pm (8) Mississippi State -2.5 (9) Oregon

9:40pm (8) Indiana -2 (9) Arkansas
9:40pm (3) Louisville -13.5 (14) Boise State
9:50pm (5) Clemson -6 (12) Villanova
9:55pm (1) Memphis -25 (16) Texas-Arlington

All times ET and spreads listed as of 9:35am ET
* * * * * Live Updates * * * * *

10:54am... I haven't decided on what games that I like. I might bet one in each grouping so I have at least one bet going at all times.

11:10am... Early game previews.
(2) Tennessee -19 (15) American University
(10) Davidson -1 (7) Gonzaga
(10) Saint Mary's -1 (7) Miami (FL)
(5) Drake -4 (12) Western Kentucky
I really don't like to bet any of these games, but I'm going to go with Davidson for a small bet because I'm an action junkie.

The early games feature the best matchup of the day in #10 Davidson versus #7 Gonzaga. Too bad that they have to play each other. They both had the potential to make the Sweet 16. Davidson has the better away record and a better free throw shooting team. I'm worried about their lack of depth. Stephen Curry (son of NBAer Dell Curry) is a sophomore and Davidson's best player. The 6'2" shooting guard is one of the premiere scorers in the nation averaging over 25 points. If Curry can get hot then Davidson should win.

At first glance, Miami and St. Mary's looks like one of those close games. I picked Miami on all of my sheets because St. Mary's is overrated. They don't have much of a bench and if Todd Golden is having a bad day from downtown, they're doomed. Simply put, Miami played a tougher schedule including Top ranked UNC once, Duke twice, and Clemson twice. They even won at Mississippi State. St. Mary's has 25 wins but mostly against unranked teams and a fluffy schedule. They lost at home to Kent State who got whooped yesterday by UNLV. The more I think about it, I'm going to bet Miami small.

American University doesn't have a chance against Tennessee. It's not a question of if they will lose, just how much? The experts in Vegas think Tennessee is almost a 20 point favorite. With the exception of Duke, all of the top seeds covered their large margins. If Tenn's pressure defense can rattle American and create turnovers, they can get out to a big lead early and lock it up.

Drake and Western Kentucky. I have no idea about either team, but I don't think WKY will be the #12 Cinderella this year. By the numbers, Drake plays better defense and shoots better free throws. They are on a roll and won their three conference tournament games by a combined total of 80 points.

12:11pm... Today's bets.
Davidson -1
Miami +1
South Alabama +4.5
Mississippi State -2.5
Clemson -6
12:15pm... Tip off in the Tenn/American game. Tenn scored off the opening tip.

12:24pm... Bill Raferty and Verne Lundquist are doing the Tenn/American game. They are my favorite announcing duo for CBS. Raferty is old school. He probably still drinks on the job, sipping his Irish coffee. I dig those guys way more than Jim "CompanyMan" Nantz and Billy "Fudge" Packer.

12:25pm... Good times. Bad times. CBS aired the Davidson/Gonzaga game. That's the good news. The bad news? Having to sit through Billy Fudge Packer's commentary. Thank god for mute buttons. I'm listening to Ornette Coleman on my iTunes instead.

12:27pm... Zags out to an early 7-2 lead. American is giving Tenn troubles early on.

12:39pm... Davidson finally tied it up at 15. Miami trails St. Mary's early. It's not even 12:40pm and I'm sweating two close bets.

12:48pm... Zags started to pull away with an 8 point lead. Davidson looks... flat and blah. Drake and Tenn are up by a bit. Miami and St. Mary's are tied at 9-9. I'm watching that game online.

12:59pm... Commercials prey on your weaknesses in order to sell you products that you don't need to survive, but end up buying to look cool or to see like a normal person since that's what everyone else is doing. The last commercial was for a credit card company. Sign up today and buy stuff you don't need. Then we'll rape you in finance charges. Corporate thugs. Even the mob has some semblance of humanity. Juice starts at 10%, even with the shylocks.

1:01pm... Gonzaga/Davidson game is back and forth. Davidson trails by six but finally got something going.

1:06pm... Racial profiling at March Madness. Whenever I see a short white guy step on the court, I immediately think, "Ah, he's the three point threat or the coach's son."

1:11pm... I got a text from StB that read... "Watching bball with lesbians is interesting."

1:25pm... Upset for WKY? #12 Western Kentucky made a run in the first half and jumped out to a nine point lead over the #5 seed. Can they pull off the upset?

1:31pm... Back from halftime and Davidson only trails by two. My buddy Jerry from Miami sent me a text, "Canes looking like shit." Miami is only down by five and should play better in the second half.

1:47pm... Gonzaga attempted to pull away, but Davidson hung in there tough, still down by five. I need help with about 11 minutes to go.

1:56pm... Miami went on a 15-3 run to start the second half. The Canes erased the first half deficit and lead by seven.

2:03pm... Still have the TV on mute. Can't stand the Fudgepacker/Nantz verbal diarrhea. I'm drowning in assholes. Switched up the music to Phish and a bootleg from Prague on 7.5.98. As soon as I put on Ghost, Davidson pulled even and tied the game at 62 with 9:41 to play.

2:16pm... 73-72. Davidson up by 1 with four minutes left. Most exciting game of the tournament so far.

2:22pm... Afternoon games preview.
(7) Butler -4.5 (10) South Alabama
(2) Georgetown -16 (15) UMBC
(2) Texas -15.5 (15) Austin Peay
(4) Connecticut -11.5 (13) San Diego
S. Alabama is one of the most underrated teams in the country. I really think they they should be the #7 seed in this matchup. Getting +4.5 is a gift. That is one of my big bets of the day. S. Alabama beat Western Kentucky twice and is led by senior guard Demetric Bennett (20 ppg, 41.1 FG3%), who might be the best player in the country you never heard of.

Some think that Georgetown is a Final Four team. If that's true, then they should rout UMBC by 20 points. Easy victory for the Hoyas.

Texas gave me trouble this year. It seemed that whenever I bet them to cover, they failed to do so. They'd win the game, but miss the spread by a couple of points. I'm not betting them today, but I'm keeping a close eye to see if they can beat Austin Peay by 16 or more. D.J. Augustin and big man Connor Atchley will be handful for Austin Peay's defense.

I picked San Diego to upset UCONN in one of my sheets. I picked UCONN in the rest. UCONN should win the game by more than ten points, if 7-3 center Hasheem Thabee can be a defensive threat.

2:24pm... Tennessee 70, American 57. Final. The favorite did not cover. 0-1 to start the day.

2:25pm... Stephen Curry is putting on a clinic with a 37 point performance, and 27 in the second half. He just put Davidson up by three with 58 seconds.

2:36pm... Davidson 82, Gonzaga 76. Final. Favorites are 1-1. Impressive performance from Stephen Curry. His NBA stock rose with every bucket he drained in the second half. He finished with 40 points including 30 in the second half. Phish ended up being the perfect rally music for Davidson. I started the day 1-0 in bets.

2:37pm... #12 seed Western Kentucky looked like they were going to upset #5 Drake, but Drake went on a 19-9 run to pull within five pints with three minutes left.

2:44pm... Miami 69, St. Mary's 61. Final. Favorites slipped to 1-2. My buddy Jerry from Miami was pumped. I won my bet and improved to 2-0 to start the day.

2:45pm... Sickness. Drake forced an overtime after a 29-15 run to close out the second half. First OT game of this year's March Madness.

2:48pm... The Joker was skiing in Colorado. He sent me a Text-a-Shot, "with the spring break tourists watching the tournament. This is a text-a-colorado-microbrew with the joker."

2:57pm... Drake's coach's name is Keno Davis. No shit.

3:03pm... Josh Young from Drake hit two big three's to keep them in the game, although Tyrone Brazelton dropped 33 for WKY. It's tied at 98 with five seconds left in OT.

3:07pm... Miracle ending. With five seconds left and down by 1, Tyrone Brazelton appeared as though he was going to go coast to coast and take the last shot. Instead, he drew the defense and dished off to Ty Rogers. He drained a trey as time expired. Western Kentucky won and pulled off the upset in OT.

3:08pm... Western Kentucky 101, Drake 99. Final. The favorites slipped to 1-3 for the day. It's been a day for the dogs, so far. If you picked Western Kentucky to upset Drake in your office pool, then you are looking like a fuckin' genius right now.

3:15pm... Three of the afternoon games have tipped off. CBS aired the Georgetown/AP game. I have to watch the S. Alabama game online. Man, I wish I was in Vegas. I'll have to wait a few days...

3:32pm... Georgetown struggled with UMBC in the first ten minutes. They finally figured out how to play them and are back on top.

3:33pm... Posted a few bits to Coventry (my music blog) today. Take a peek.

3:35pm... Back and forth action in the S. Alabama/Butler game. Butler up by 1. Both teams trading baskets back and forth. A.J. Graves already has 10 points for Butler including 2-6 from three point range.

3:37pm... Texas is up by 17 in the first half. That smells like an impending blowout, like watching a pimp beating down a $20 crack whore.

3:42pm... The UCONN game tipped off forty minutes later than scheduled because of the Drake/Western KY overtime game. CBS aired that in the NYC region. I have to watch the S. Alabama game online.

3:46pm... Butler opened up a 12 point lead. They're knocking down their threes, shooting 7-15 from behind the arc. S. Alabama is only 2-6 from downtown.

3:53pm... Butler up by 17 at the half. S. Alabama looked awful and got outplayed in the last few minutes of the first half. Demetric Bennett? Where the hell was he? He posted a goose egg for S. Alabama, shooting 0-2 in 16 minutes of play. Pete Campbell is single handedly destroying S. Alabama. He drilled a trey as time expired and dropped 20 points in the first half.

4:11pm... Halftime for Texas and Georgetown. They both lead by double digits. UCONN is struggling with San Diego. They trail by 2 with six minutes to go.

4:20pm... Smoke Break. Dial-a-Bong with Change100.

4:34pm... G'town up by 18. Texas up by 22. Butler up by 20. Three blow outs. The coaches are emptying their benches. Guess which ones I didn't bet? All of them. What was I smoking when I researched S. Alabama? Money to be made. Free money all around and I couldn't get any of it. So pathetic, like a narc who couldn't get laid in a whore house.

4:36pm... San Diego Cinderella? They went into halftime with a five point lead over #4 ranked UCONN. The Huskies are having nightmares about Gyno Pomare. I'm not making that name up. GyPo went 7-9 from the floor and scored 16 points. If UCONN can't stop GyPo in the second half, they are fuckin' toast and ruined a lot of people's brackets.

4:55pm... UCONN came out of the locker room flat. They can't stop GyPo. San Diego up by eight.

5:03pm... The S. Alabama bet blew monkey chunks. Texas and G'Town have victories locked up with less then four minutes to play. It all comes down to if they will cover.

5:11pm... Georgetown 66. UMBS 47. Final. Favorites are 2-3. Patrick Ewing, Jr. scored ten points.

5:12pm... Butler 81, S. Alabama 61. Final. Favorites are 3-3. I go 2-1 for the day and lost my big bet of the day.

5:13pm... Texas 74, Austin Peay 54. Final. Favorites are 4-3. Texas crushed AP even with a crappy six point game from Augustin.

5:49pm... Crazy ending. San Diego could not finish off UCONN. They forced an overtime. The second OT of the day.

5:54pm... Senor called me. He was at Foxwoods with his wife. He was watching the game there.

5:55pm... San Diego took a four point lead with 2:30 to go in OT. Sadly they lost GyPo. Gyno Pomare just fouled out. He scored 22 points.

5:58pm... With GyPo on the bench, UCONN finally took the lead. Up by one with under a forty seconds to go in OT.

6:08pm... Four lead changes in the last 44 seconds. Unreal. San Diego drilled a trey with a second to go to take the lead. They hold off #4 seed UCONN for the upset.

6:09pm... San Diego 70. UCONN 69. Final OT. The favorites are 4-4 for the day. #12 Western Kentucky and now #13 San Diego both advance in stunning OT victories and square off on Sunday in the second round.

6:10pm... Evening games preview.
(1) North Carolina -24.5 (16) Mount St. Mary's
(6) Oklahoma -1 (11) Saint Joseph's
(4) Vanderbilt -6.5 (13) Siena
(8) Mississippi State -2.5 (9) Oregon
The featured game is the #1 team in the country North Carolina. Lots of expectations from Roy Williams' squad. UNC was picked to win in a high percentage of office pools. They need to get the first game under their belt if they expect to win the championship. The formula is simple... get a big lead, then rest the starters.

Oklahoma played a tougher schedule. They have a well balanced attack led by Blake Griffin. It's a close game to call. I picked Oklahoma on most of my sheets. Unless it gets close, that might be the game that gets the least attention all night.

Lots of college hoops pundits picked Siena to upset Vanderbilt. I really don't see why. Siena plays in the MAAC against schools like Manhattan College. They even lost to lowly Manhattan College. So they beat Stanford, but that was in November before Turkey Day. Standford went cold that day and missed 19 treys and 45 shots total. Talk about a bad day. Vandy played Tennessee twice and beat them once. They are one of the top 10 teams in the nation shooting threes. Expect Shan Foster to light it up against Siena's suspect perimeter defense.

Mississippi State is one of the most overrated teams in the country. I look at the -2.5 line as a gift. Then again, at this point, I'm 0-3 betting on my "underrated teams." I guess I overrated my underrated teams and the ended up playing as expected. Perhaps I should re-think that label I thrust up Mississippi State? Ah, the bet is in anyway. I took Mississippi State. They are one of the best defensive teams in the country. They are in the top 5 teams in defending the three ponter. Oregon is one of the better shooting teams in the tournament. Interesting match up. If Maarty Leunen has a big game for Oregon, they have a shot at advancing.

6:12pm... Dinner Break. See you in an hour. Waiting for my brother to come home from work so we can order a pizza.

7:04pm... JW sent me a text, "just took down a dime betting S. Diego on the money line." Nice score, bro.

7:11pm... Tyler Hansbrough throws one down to start the game. He got UNC off to a 7-0 lead.

7:27pm... All four games are underway. I took third in an SNG on PokerStars. I'm now playing PLO cash game on Full Tilt. I won a pot with Ks-10s-7h-6s. I flopped two pair and a gutshot in a three-way pot. I turned a straight and was heads up. I won the pot on the river when my opponent folded.

7:33pm... Bad Beat of the Week. PLO. Action folded to me on the button. With Ac-As-Ks-Kh, I raised the pot. The big blind called. The flop was Kc-Qh-7s. Checked to me. I bet the pot with me top set and the big blind called. The turn was the 7c and I boated up. Checked to me. I bet 1/2 the pot and the big blind min-check-raised. I potted and my opponent was all in with Qs-Js-7h-5s and a smaller boat. The river was the 7d. One outered. Riverstars. Fuck me.

7:35pm... Two hands later I felted a guy with Kc-Kh-5s-5c. I turned a set of Kings and rivered Quads.

7:42pm... UNC up by 12 and led by Tyler Hansbrough's 11 points. Oklahoma, Oregon, and Siena were all ahead.

8:04pm... Halftime of UNC. Hansbrough has 17 points already.

8:08pm.. Halftime lead for Siena. Didn't think they could do it. Glad I didn't bet against them. Oklahoma is up 12 at halftime.

8:19pm... Successful Dial-a-Freshie with Daddy. He said he might take Arkansas +2 against his homestate Hooisers. He called it "emotional and financial hedge betting."

8:27pm... Halftime. Miss St. down by 10. And that's the team I bet on. Yikes.

8:49pm... UNC wiping the floor with MSM. Up by 40. Even the scrubs at the end of Carolina's bench are racking up points.

8:51pm... Miss St. hanging in there. Only down by 6.

9:06pm... Thanks Sven.

9:07pm... After trailing the entire game, Miss St. took the lead. Charles Rhodes is lighting up Oregon for 30 points (10-12 from the field and 10-12 from the FT line). 7:42 left in the game. Let's see if Miss St. can finish off the Ducks.

9:12pm... North Carolina 113, MSM 74. Final. Favorites are 5-4. I had put in a parlay where I bet ever #1 seed. So fat, three of them covered. I need Memphis to cover tonight to hit the parlay.

9:17pm... Oklahoma 72, St. Joe's 64. Final. Favorites are 6-4.

9:27pm... Siena 83, Vanderbilt 62. Final. Favorites are 6-5 today. Another #13 seed advances and another #4 seed gets dumped.

9:33pm.... Late games preview.
(8) Indiana -2 (9) Arkansas
(3) Louisville -13.5 (14) Boise State
(5) Clemson -6 (12) Villanova
(1) Memphis -25 (16) Texas-Arlington
Indiana is a tainted team after Kelvin Sampson's shenanigens. They dropped three out of the last four. Arkansas looked like a top notch team when they picked off Tennessee. They looked like absolute shit when they got thumped by a sizzling hot Georgia team in the SEC championship. Indiana is outsized. They'll have to contain Arkansas' seven-footer Steven Hill.

Those tot eaters from Boise State likes to shoot from downtown. Louisville has a pretty solid defense. If they can hold Boise State in check, they'll definitely cover. I just wonder which Louisville team will show up! Will it be the team that lost two straight or the team that beat Georgetown? Pitino will have his kids ready. Expect a rout.

Clemson won several big games. They had to play UNC and Duke a combined five times. OK, so they lost 4 times against the elite ACC teams. I bet Clemson hoping to end the day 4-1.

Memphis? Another favorite pick to win it all. Can they cover the spread? UT-Arlington has a player named Rog'er Guignard. I love players with hip names.

9:40pm... Miss. St 76, Oregon 69. Final. Favorite improve to 7-5 today. I improved to 3-1 in my bets. Big come from behind win for me. Miss St. will most likely face Memphis in the next round.

9:55pm... Daddy said that our brief phone call inspired him to write a post on Snailtrax. "A love story even," explained Daddy. Check out Leg Carvings.

10:02pm... Three of the late games tipped off. Louisville jumped out to an early lead.

10:11pm... I paced myself better today. Yesterday, I got too wasted, too early and expended too much energy. Last night at this time, I was spent and needed a nap. Tonight, I'm feeling much better and ready to party hard for the last two hours of March Madness tonight.

10:14pm... Clemson is making me look like a genius. They're up 8 with 13 minutes to go in the first half.

10:19pm... The NY Times reviewed the latest poker movie called The Grand.

10:20pm... What's the deal with the hippie guy on Arkansas?

10:31om... Busted out in 6th in an SNG.

10:32pm... Successful Dial-a-Shot with everyone's favorite Huge Junked Norwegian.

10:43pm... Two games at halftime... Louisville up by 13 and Arkansas up by 7. Nothing too exciting going on with those games. Clemson opened up a 14 point lead over Villanova. Memphis is up double digits.

10:48pm... Clemson up 12 at halftime. Just 10 more minutes away from clinching another bet.

10:59pm... Memphis up 14 at the half. They need to come out strong and but the game out of reach.

11:14pm... CBS finally aired the Clemson/Villanova game. Clemson's double digit first half lead was shrunk to three.

11:24pm... Rollie sighting in the sixth row. Ah, the former Nova coach is a throw back to the hay day of the Big East in the mid-1980s.

11:33pm... 4 point play? You shitting me?

11:44pm... Louisville 79, Boise State 61. Final. Favorites are 8-5.

11:46pm... Nova took a three point lead from Clemson. They are shooting out of their tits... 77% in the second half. Eight minutes to go.

11:50pm... Arkansas 86, Indiana 72. Final. Favorites are 9-5.

11:56pm... Nova running away with the game. Clemson hasn't scored a bucket in over six minutes. They went cold. Colder than cold. Like icicles on your balls cold. They will have to shoo their load just to tie the game. I can only hope for an overtime, then a shot at covering in OT.

12:14am... Clemson in trouble.

12:23am... Memphis 87, UT-Arlington 63. Final. Memphis doesn't cover by a point. Favorites are 9-6. That was the fourth leg of a four-team parlay that I needed to hit. It missed. Bullshit.

12:28pm... Villanova 75, Clemson 69. Final. Favorites finish up 9-7 for the day. They were 12-4 yesterday for a total of 21-11 for Round 1. I lost my bet and slipped to 3-2 for the day. I'm 6-4 since March Madness started.

12:31pm... That's it. See ya tomorrow around 2pm ET.

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