First round of the NCAA basketball tournament? ‘Crazy man!’

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How can I describe what happened starting Thursday in the NCAA Tournament? I can’t so let’s just leave it like that.

If you were in any of the sports books here in Vegas you know exactly what I am talking about, as one of my favorite college basketball announcers would say, “Crazy, man.”

When the smoke cleared and the Sweet Sixteen was finalized it was the State of Ohio that won big with 25 percent of the entries. Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier and Ohio U in the last 16!

It was real irony when the Bobcats from Ohio U beat Michigan. Ohio State fans who go back to the Woody Hayes era remember the old coach referring to arch rival Michigan as “the school up North.”

So when Brady Hoke was hired as the head football coach at Michigan, he started referring to Ohio State as “Ohio” to retaliate.

This tactic was picked up by basketball coach John Beilein who started the season referring to Ohio State by name. Then in mid-season he followed Hoke’s example and changed the reference to just Ohio.

The last laugh now is roaring out of Ohio State fans since the Michigan Wolverines were beaten in the NCAA basketball tournament by…you guessed it, the “Real Ohio” who then went on to defeat South Florida and make it to the Sweet 16 along with the rest of Ohio.

As for the West Coast teams you can put a fork in them, the furthest West you can go is the Big 12 conference which sends Baylor from Waco, Texas, along with Kansas.

The big conference winners were the Big Ten with four (almost five but Purdue gave it up late) and the Big East also with four. The ACC and SEC sends two, the MAC and the Atlantic Ten one each.

Let’s take a little glimpse at the upcoming games starting on Thursday and taking us to the Final Four.

BOSTON

Wisconsin is getting +4 points vs. Syracuse and this game should go down to the wire. If Syracuse still had their big center they would be -8.

The other game has the Ohio factor as the Bearcats from Cincinnati take on Ohio State. The Buckeyes are favored by -7½ points and should get the win and beat either Wisconsin or Syracuse on their way to the final four.

PHOENIX

Florida takes on Marquette in this near pick game. The opening line has moved to Marquette -1½; I would take +2 if it gets there.

The other game has Louisville getting +4½ points against Michigan State who does not want a rematch with the Buckeyes but may get it.

ATLANTA

Kentucky is a big chalk Friday against Indiana as they are giving up -9. This could be a little high from my point of view, and even though I think Kentucky gets the win I will be forced to take the +9 or higher.

The other game will be Xavier of Ohio getting six points from Baylor. This spread is a little high. I will take the 6 as I look for the Musketeers to pull off the upset, looking at their past NCAA Tournament history, including this year The X-men have gone 16-2-2 ATS in this tournament.

ST. LOUIS

Ohio U will lose its Cinderella slippers in this game as North Carolina looks to be on a mission of its own. The Tar Heels are just the better team. I don’t know if they will cover the point spread, but they will get the win and meet Kansas.

The other game in St. Louis has the Jayhawks a big 8-point favorite against another team wearing Cinderella shoes, N.C State, but the shoes go in this game.

Kansas was very fortunate in its win against Purdue and I think that game woke them up.

It really has been a great tournament and it will continue with surprises but all I can say is, GO BUCKEYES, for my cousin Lou!

 

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