I forgot one thing in my guide to the bracket. Never go with Obama. This isn’t political. The President has a chalk addiction. His sweet sixteen has all four #1s, all four #2s, all four #3s, three #4s and Wisconsin. A five seed. Careful out on that ledge, Barry. This is a great way to fill out your bracket if you want to finish in the middle of the pack. The President thinks it’s Indiana’s year, which means he’s clearly never seen Tom Crean coach a big game. If you want, you can pick against the President at ESPN, and I’m sure three to seven million people will take their chances. Free pools can get a bit addictive. One of these years, you’re going to get the perfect bracket and win that million. But until then, maybe you should fund your pool habit with some bets on individual games.
This is a huge Vegas weekend. And, I can tell you first hand that the sports book here at Don Padre’s Mexican Cantina, Pawn and Video Poker is already starting to get a little crowded. I can’t imagine what it’s like at the more trendy spots. Along with being a heavily bet weekend, I imagine it must be the most ignorantly bet sporting event of the year as well. When people decide to get wild and throw down a few bucks on the Super Bowl maybe they’ve at least seen Baltimore play a few downs, or they were on TV in the background at some point? For the next four days people will be betting heavily on teams they couldn’t find on a map, let alone have seen play basketball. And, I love that. I really do. Have I seen these teams play? The more important question is, DOES IT MATTER?
Pay for your pools with the following:
Southern (+21.5) over Gonzaga. Early in the year, Gonzaga was killing teams. They know how to win big, but the Southern Jaguars (they’re from Baton Rouge, not Jacksonville) are no pushover. They beat Grambling by 39 this year and got into the tournament with a scintillating 45-44 win over Prairie View A&M. What I’m getting at is that this line is too low. Who knows something? And, the real beauty here is that even if it’s a loser, it won’t be 35-10 until about 14 minutes in anyway, so you’ll feel good at the start, regardless.
St. Louis (-9) over New Mexico St. St. Louis, despite losing Larry Hughes (a decade ago) is a really good team. Jay Bilas might say they have good basketball players. They’ve won 16 of 17 and play in a tough conference. If they weren’t in a brutal region, more people might be picking them to sneak into the Final Four. And in fact, they are 6/1 to make the Final Four despite being tucked in with Duke and Indiana. INTERESTING. You’d think the 3rd choice in the bracket should cruise past New Mexico St, who I assume is terrible. Go Billikens!
New Mexico (-11) over Harvard. Do not confuse New Mexico for New Mexico St. New Mexico owns the state, so to speak. This is more about Harvard, though. Remember the charm of last year when the Crimson, home of the Winklevoss twins, made the field for the first time in 60+ years? Such a feel good story. Well, they’re back and no one is quite as excited, because the novelty has worn off and Harvard is a pedestrian 19-9. One and done again for Harvard who can go back to writing equations and sh*t on the walls.
Butler (-3.5) over Bucknell. When was the last time you saw a Bison in Lewisburg, PA? I’ve got to say that PA schools have the worst nicknames. It’s true, don’t try to fight me on it. But getting back to Butler, Do you have the audacity to bet against Brad Stevens in the first round? Bucknell lost to Penn State this year, which as usual, is a complete embarrassment. Another Butler run–starts now.
Temple (+4.5) over NC State. You might not know this, but I know Fran Dunphy personally. I’ve cleaned his golf clubs. I’ve dropped a “Hey, Coach,” on him. He once gave me a Temple basketball hat that did not fit my gigantic head. If I see Coach Dunph again (that’s what we call him, Dunph) I’ll be like, ever going to get out of the 1st round? This is Temple’s sixth straight tournament, but they haven’t seen the round of 32 since 2001. Feels like it’s time.
Duke (-17.5) over Albany (NY). It’s always hilarious when Duke loses early. Or late for that matter. Last year was that unfortunate episode against Lehigh (Mountain Hawks–see) and now Duke finds themselves again as a #2 seed. There’s no way, just no possible way Duke chokes again. Albany was 9-7 in the American East. They lost to Stony Brook (twice). Their mascot looks like Scooby Doo. No chance.
Minnesota (-3) over UCLA. The Gophers are favored as the #11 seed. That is all.
Pacific (+12) over Miami. Miami is very good, but I feel like they’re totally enamored with themselves. But, really, I’m not sure why this line isn’t higher. Pacific’s leading scorer averages 11.4 per game. Their leading rebounder–4.0. How is that possible? They don’t score a ton, or shoot it particularly well, it just seems like this line should be 16-20 points. Unless Pacific gets a ton of national money I don’t know about. ‘Canes come out cocky and flat (the motto of their athletic department) and survive a scare–by single digits.
Big Dub’s Picks: I think Big Dub actually watches college basketball (aside from Bucknell, at least) so it’ll be interesting to see if that helps, or hurts his selections…
Bucknell +4 vs. Butler: Apparently Bucknell has a great post player. I honestly don’t know diddly about either team. The line seems shady and I’m following it.
St. Mary’s -1 vs. Memphis: An 11-seed is the favorite. Lock it up.
Oregon +2.5 vs. Oklahoma State: The Pokes aren’t as good as advertised. The entire year they somehow survived close game after close game. That’s not a style I can back in the tourney. Give me the hot team that was once ranked in the top 15 and now feels disrespected.
South Dakota St. +11 vs. Michigan: Wolverines shoot way too many threes. I’m gonna be against them every round. If and when they’re off I look like a genius. We all know I’m guessing though.
Belmont +4.5 vs. Arizona: I love the logo.
California +3 vs. UNLV: Revenge spot.
Montana +12 vs. Syracuse: The Orange are loaded with talent. I actually thought this was a Final Four team last week. The thing that worries me with laying a lot of points is when a team goes on a scoring drought. Syracuse does that with the worst of em.
There’s still time to get in the pool. Again, we want only the desperate and downtrodden. The truly broken souls. If you want to get in, IT’S FUN, go here please. The Group ID is 72893 and the password is: stopit.