Let the madness begin! And this will be some madness.
I did all my preliminary handicapping of the brackets last night and this is how I see it going on Monday morning sitting at my desk in our beautiful GamingToday office out here on Post Road on a beautiful spring day.
Let’s spring into action and see who will get to Houston.
Ohio State easily advances and most likely plays a real tough Kentucky team on its way to Newark for the regional final.
The game between the Buckeyes and the Wildcats could be one of the best matchups of the early tournament games, and the winner could be sitting on the title. But the winner will most likely have another tough game in Newark against either Syracuse or North Carolina.
On the road to Anaheim, Duke will have an easy time of it and most likely play the Longhorns who have been in a late season slump after many thought they could be a 1 seed at the half way point of the season. Texas ended up a 4 but still a very dangerous opponent who can rebound better than most.
The winner of Texas-Duke most likely faces San Diego State who looks to have a good draw. The Aztecs will play the winner between Cincinnati, Missouri or Connecticut as all three of those teams look equal. I probably like U Conn the best, playing some inspired ball.
If Duke gets past Texas, the Blue Devils will be in the Final Four and the team to beat.
Lets head to the Alamo and San Antonio. Kansas will be playing Louisville, which will be a good game to watch and bet on. Take the OVER.
UNLV got a horrible draw, and if they somehow beat Illinois, get the luxury of playing Kansas. Then it is back home to Las Vegas.
Purdue got a good draw and will move on and play, most likely, Notre Dame. These two teams look to be about a pick’em game with the winner moving on to San Antonio and losing to Kansas, sending the Jayhawks to the Final Four.
My friend Syl Friedman, who will be in New Orleans taking in the regional finals, likes Florida to reach the Final Four. The Gators start with St John’s, BYU and UCLA – all about equal.
Florida will play Pittsburgh but the Panthers may have their hands full with Butler. They know what Butler did last year and will not be looking ahead. Kansas State, Utah State and Wisconsin all look to have a shot at Pitt.
So who will win the Pittsburgh-Florida game and get a shot at the title? The game will probably come out with Pitt about a -1½ point favorite unless Florida really blows some teams out. Either team can win.
When filling out your brackets just flip a coin on this one. The Final Four will be a complete toss up if all four 1 seeds get there, which is possible but highly unlikely. We will take another look next week and see who the Cinderella has taken down if she shows up this year.
I ran into a couple of our younger readers last week when in one of the books here in Las Vegas and, yes, we do have younger readers. They asked how I got into the business.
I told them the truth. When I was a kid, and most of the other kids wanted to grow up to be a pro baseball player, I wanted a bubble gum ticker tape and a little room to book bets.
When I started high school, my first day in homeroom as a freshman, our homeroom teacher asked each of us to come up and tell the class something special that happened to us during the summer.
The first girl said she was in England with her family and got to see a new group called the Beatles and how great that was. The next kid got up and told us about his family trip to Disneyland and on and on. Then it was my turn.
I told them about a two-day nine ball game I was in at the Arcade pool room downtown and how I won $200 bucks. Then I took a bus ride to Pittsburgh with my friend Bob “Zak” Kozick. We bought some new suede shoes and some Italian knits. When I came back I hit a four-team baseball parlay for $50 bucks.
The classroom was completely silent and my teacher was just sitting there with her mouth wide open. I eased back to my seat and after that became some sort of a cult figure during my very eventful high school years, laying the ground work for my Vegas times.
Have a good time with the March Madness and, remember, as Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest, but by the seeds you plant.”