March Madness teams need some of the Steubenville Lump-less coffee

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You can’t make this up! Watching these NCAA games with supposedly the best college players on the face of the earth it takes me back to my pool playing days at the arcade hall in Steubenville, Ohio.

This arcade had the look of the great movie “The Hustler” with Paul Newman and my favorite actor of all time Jackie Gleason, who by the way played his own shots in the movie. The arcade was owned and run by another Steubenville Greek, Jimmy Pappas, along with his son George who ran the little coffee shop that was hooked on.

The Greek sold tobacco products, wrote numbers and always bet baseball when his cousin Milt Pappas was pitching. George would sell his 15-cent hotdogs, which by the way were great, and his no lump coffee for a dime with one refill. Now the no lump coffee is what reminded me about these NCAA games with supposedly the best college hoops players in the land.

At the arcade there were always money games going on, usually for quarters but sometimes there would be $1 and $5 nine ball. We had players who just were great when shooting for 25 cents, “Sluggo McQade” comes to mind, but when the money got bigger like for a buck, Sluggo could not make a shot. That is what George called the lump.

You can see players getting the lump in all sports – golf, baseball and baskets more than any, especially at the foul line. You could actually feel it in your throat if having the straight in nine ball for the game or that easy putt for a birdie. When a player would miss an easy shot in a money game at the arcade George would say he needed a cup of his no lump coffee. That’s what some of these best players may need.

Thursday

At Atlanta

Kentucky -5.5 vs. K-State: Kentucky got by a tough Davidson team by 5 and then put it to Buffalo so they come in playing well. The money rushed in on Kansas State this past Sunday vs. Maryland-Baltimore County but they failed to cover, winning 50-43. In the battle of Wildcats, UK has gone 7-0 ATS in this Sweet 16 round. KENTUCKY

Nevada -2 vs. Loyola Chicago: How many had this matchup when doing their brackets? Nevada has made back to back comebacks when they looked hopelessly beat, both as dogs. Now they’re chalk. NEVADA

At Los Angeles

Michigan -3 vs. Texas A&M: Michigan made a miracle three-pointer at the buzzer to get here. A&M just put it to North Carolina. Another matchup not many had on their bracket tickets. We like the Aggies in this game as a 7 seed. Wolverines are 0-6 ATS the last six years in this round. TEXAS A&M

Gonzaga -5.5 vs. Florida St.: With a win here the Zags will be headed for the Final Four and this team will not get the lump! ZAGS

Friday

At Boston

Villanova -5 vs. W. Virginia: We believe the winner of this game will take it all. Nova will win if they make their three-pointers. WVU will not go easy. Two well coached teams that will not get the lump. PASS on this one.

Purdue -1.5 vs. Texas Tech: The No. 2 seed Boilermakers are very game without Isaac Haas who was injured. No. 3 seeds in this round (Texas Tech) have gone 0-5 ATS the last five years. PURDUE

At Omaha

Duke -11.5 vs. Syracuse: We doubt anyone had Syracuse getting this far. We could never lay the points with Duke. The No. 10 seed or higher (Syracuse is an 11) in this round has gone 7-1 ATS when getting 4 or more points. We will be in a taking mood here. SYRACUSE

Kansas -4 vs. Clemson: The Tigers have really put things together. Kansas, the other 1 seed remaining, has covered back to back in this round of 16 and will not be overlooking Clemson. KANSAS

Remember, it’s all about having fun. Get out and make some parlays, play some video keno, bet the ponies and treat your family well. You could be walking around lucky.

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