New Orleans has its Mardi Gras and Rio de Janeiro has its Festival, but Las Vegas has March Madness.
It was just crazy, wild and noisy; people were having a great time. I was all over the city Thursday and Friday and you need to be here to believe it. The betting lines were out to the street, parlay cards were flying off the counter and the games never stopped coming.
Almost every game had about an equal amount of crowd support. I found it amazing that never at any time was there any kind of argument between the bettors. When one game ended the losers just wanted to regroup and play the next one. The winners patted the losers on the back and headed to the windows to let it ride.
Some of those games were Madness, but one sticks out in disbelief that would have made Larry Bird and Magic Johnson go nuts. They knew exactly what was going on at the end of the game and what to do. They were as well coached as any players can be and that started in grade school basketball.
It seems most players of this era are simply uncoachable. It is all about them being the hero, or maybe they just don’t get it. Just when I thought I had seen it all I caught the last two minutes of the Pittsburgh/Butler game. I took the points with Butler, knowing they would stay close. The end was a perfect example of players being out of touch with what’s going on.
I have named this game “Dumb and Dumber.”
The dumb came with Butler up a point with two seconds remaining on the clock. Pitt would have one desperate half point prayer but the Butler guy fouled him at half court and gave Pitt a shot at the win. He makes the first free throw but missed the second, which meant overtime.
Now the dumber Pitt player fouls the Butler guy going for the rebound. Butler makes one of two and wins by 1. Amazing.
One more thing. Ticket writers at all the books need a big pat on the back by their bosses for a job well done under very trying conditions. A big YA-HOO to the Vegas underpaid and overworked ticket writers for a job well done.
Let’s take a little glance on how I see the games this week.
In New Orleans: Syl Friedman says the BYU run will come to an end as Florida put the one man show away as a -2½ point favorite. I will agree and make a parlay to Wisconsin -4 to end the Butler run a little early this year.
In Anaheim: I just love Connecticut, which looks to be in the zone. There may be no stopping a roll to the Final Four. The hot Huskies as a pick’em will put away a very good San Diego State team in what should be the thriller. In the second game Arizona will take on Duke, who escaped 73-71 versus Michigan. I like OVER, staying away from the side until the Blue Devils face UConn on Saturday.
In Newark we have a potential Cinderella in Marquette getting around 5 from North Carolina. I say the run ends and lay the 5 with the Tar Heels. The second game could settle the National Championship picture. Kentucky is getting around 5 from Ohio State. I will be rooting for the Buckeyes but this will be a dogfight. The advantage goes to the Wildcats +5, having played two tough games while the Buckeyes have not been tested.
In San Antonio, Kansas is around 10 against another Cinderella wannabe, the Richmond Spiders. The Jayhawks win, but I won’t lay 10. I’ll wait to see the total and bet OVER if it is in range. The second game, another Cinderella wannabe VCU is +5 facing Florida State. I will take the points as the Seminoles may overlook Commonwealth.
Our first big “FREE” Kentucky Derby seminar is right around the corner on Friday, April 8. We are billing it as the “Derby Prep” seminar, covering the big stakes races the following day.
There will be free cocktails and food, it all starts at 6 p.m. in the Palace Station Race Book. Get there early for the goodies and the seats because they go fast. Be there or be square.