NCAA basketball has been nothing but nuts this year

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“Take me back, I’m begging please, take me back, I’m on my knees…” one of my favorite slow dance songs back in the 60’s by Little Anthony and the Imperials.

Yes, I do read Scotty Schettler’s column and I know we can’t go back, but we can still have those great memories.

So why go back now? Well, it was the NBA game this past Sunday. They called it the All Star game, but it actually had some defense at the end. Of course for the most part it reminded me more of the old Harlem Globetrotter games of the past.

At one time the NBA really did have All Star games with players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul Jabbar (aka Lou Alcindor for those of you who didn’t know) and many other great players who played the All Star game like it was for real. Oh well, just one of my vents for the week. I am still trying to get over Fergie brutalizing the National Anthem.

The rendition was so bad, Rozanne said, “I’m off the hook.” Little Anthony would have been a far better choice, right Monti?

College scene

Hoops have been nothing but nuts this year and the NCAA tournament is up for grabs. This bettor took some shots with Cincy and Xavier to win it all at some good prices. Both teams went down in flames this past weekend but there is still hope as teams jockey for a good seed with some needing wins to just have a shot at making the Big Dance.

Let’s just take a look at a few conferences and lock in the best teams that could get to the Sweet Sixteen, the Great Eight and the Final Four.

In the ACC, defensive minded Virginia, who this bettor also has a good play on to go all the way, should get a high seed along with Duke as usual and North Carolina.

In the American Athletic Conference, Cincy looked to the creme de la creme but lost at home this past Sunday as a six-point chalk to Wichita State who shocked them. Can’t wait for the rematch.

In the Atlantic Ten there is no team that can make the Sweet 16. The best teams in the league are Rhode Island, Davidson and Saint Bonaventure.

Moving to the Big East, Villanova and Xavier are the best, Villanova depends on the three pointer, so a cold spell could knock them out. Butler rounds out the top three.

In the Big Ten, Michigan State and Purdue are the top two. After that are so-so teams Ohio State and Michigan.

The Big 12 conference is as evenly matched as you could find with Texas Tech, WVU, TCU, Kansas and Baylor all within a few points of each other.

In the Big West there isn’t a team that can get past the first round, UC Irvine, Cal Santa Barbara are the main two.

The Colonial is just a tick above the Big West with Northeastern and The College of Charleston the main two.

Conference USA has two teams just about the same as the Big West and Colonial with Middle Tennessee and Old Dominion not getting past the first round.

The Horizon gives us Northern Kentucky with Oakland around five points behind them.

The Ivy League – which I love to watch play no frills, normal basketball – is evenly matched between Harvard, Penn and Yale. One will make it to the Big Dance and lose in the first round.

The Mid-American gives us Toledo in the West and Buffalo in the East. After that it’s Ball State.

The Missouri Valley has Loyola Chicago, who looks much the best, with Southern Illinois picking up the pieces.

The Mountain West has hot Nevada and Fresno State. Both could be dangerous in the early rounds.

The Pac 12 has Arizona a few points better than UCLA, USC, Utah, Oregon and Arizona State. Any of these could knock off the others on any given day. The final four will have no team from the Pac 12.

The SEC has at least nine teams around two or three points of each other; it’s a crapshoot.

The Sun Belt has very little to offer with the exception of UL Lafayette, who can compete.

The West Coast has their normal two with Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.

Horse sense

The road to the Kentucky Derby takes its twists and turns each week. This past weekend it took some in the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds. Just when you think he is gone trainer D. Wayne Lukas sends out a 3yo to win a stakes race. Bravazo scored at 21/1, beating the Asmussen 3yo Snapper Sinclair by a nostril at 41-1, capping a $603.40 exacta.

The 7/5 favorite Instilled Regard, who many have picked to win the Kentucky Derby, finished fourth, a neck behind Noble Indy. Castellano, who has at least five mounts lined up for the Kentucky Derby, may have one less to worry about. He is listed to be on Bolt d’Oro for his 3yo debut.

My suggestion is get out and make some future bets on the winner of the NCAA tourney. Don’t take a short price. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

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