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But anything still possible in Big Dance

All I can say is SWEET, it’s indeed Sweet Sixteen time, and what about those four days of Madness? They have left me, of all people, speechless.

If you read my column last week I preached about just playing the dogs, but who would have believed that they would have gone 12-4 on Thursday and 9-7 on Friday?

Things started to even out on Saturday as the favorites went 5-3 and on Sunday it was 4-4, but it was one of the most exciting first weeks of play that I can ever remember.

Usually there is a Cinderella team that emerges in the tournament, but this year there are several candidates, with the likes of Northern Iowa, Butler, Xavier, Washington and St. Mary’s … but what about mighty Cornell? Wow! How many glass slippers can there be?

What I really saw this past week was there are a lot of very good players out there and if a team comes out flat, look out.

One team that was really flat was No. 2 seeded Villanova, who looked lackluster in their overtime win against No. 15 seeded Robert Morris. If you watched that game it was like the Nova team wanted to be somewhere else as their minds were not in the game, which made St. Mary’s a great play on Saturday plus the points.

I have no explanation for Kansas, as they just were overwhelmed by a good team and may have been reading their press clippings and dreaming about all the money they would get when signing huge NBA contracts; you can never look ahead in this kind of tournament.

Three teams that have been on the go are Kentucky, Syracuse and Duke, who have won and covered both of their games in fine fashion and they look like the main three at this point with Syracuse looking to have the easiest road to the Final Four if they can get by Ohio State, who is also playing on the go with their star Evan Turner really turning it up a notch on both defense and offense.

In the future betting (see odds on page 8) you can get Syracuse to win it all at 7/2 and Duke at 6/1 with Kentucky remaining the chalk at 2-1. The other main contenders are Ohio State at 8-1, Kansas State at 8/1 and West Virginia at 6-1 with the rest at 20-1 and higher.

This week’s games start on Thursday once again and here are the matchups.

Thursday, March 25

Cornell +9 total 146 vs. Kentucky: The Cornell run stops here but you may want to bet this game over the total, the plus nine looks inviting but don’t think so.

Washington +4½ total 142 vs. WVU: If you look at or use Parry Power Guide (page 11) which can be found in or in our weekly paper you would have made big money on the Huskies as Parry has them rated higher than Kentucky. We will side with Washington plus the points and hope Parry continues to be correct, we also like the over in this game.

Butler +7 total 135½ vs. Syracuse: Both teams playing with a mission but in what looks to be a real battle we like Syracuse to win the game but not cover and the game to go under the total.

Friday, March 26

Northern Iowa vs. Michigan State: There is no line on this game at press time as Michigan State’s top guard Kalin Lucas may be out but his replacement hit the winning trey that beat Maryland. With Lucas or without the N. Iowa run is over, bet on Michigan St.

Tennessee +5 total 134 vs. Ohio State: You know who I will be rooting for but I do see this game as a real dog fight, take the five.

St Mary’s +3½ total 145 vs. Butler: This game is a real toss up and I will just watch.

Purdue +8½ total 129 vs. Duke: The Boilermaker run stops here in Houston, Duke wins this game outright and should be able to cover the points.

If you have a few hundred that you would like to double your money on just make a money line parlay with the top seeds, Kentucky, Syracuse and Duke.

In Kentucky Derby preps this past week there were two races at Gulfstream Park, the Grade II Swale with D’Funnybone winning at 50 cents on the dollar vs. a group of wannabees, no Derby winner here. The Florida Derby was the next race but it has lost its importance somewhat this year with the date change and with top Derby prospect Eskendereya defecting, the upset winner was Ice Box who will give one of my favorite trainers Nick Zito his Derby horse, good luck Nick you will need it. This year’s Kentucky Derby continues to remain wide open but we are closing in and don’t forget that our annul Kentucky Derby seminar at Palace Station will be at 6 p.m. Friday.

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