Books set to Dance

Mar 14, 2006 6:27 AM

NCAA Tournament 2006 will be in full swing this coming Thursday, which will start off another big week for Nevada Sports Books.

Last week it was NASCAR, which seems to just get bigger and bigger every year bringing in thousands of race fans. These guys and gals know how to gamble and drink. Now come the NCAA hoop fans and believe me they also know how to drink and make some bets.

As I was handicapping the brackets, here is what I came up with in my initial look. And, I call 7:30 Monday morning very initial!

It looks to me that Duke and Texas will have the easiest trip to the Great Eight and will face off in what looks to be Coach K and the Blue Devils as a very small favorite or a pick’em game. The only team that looks to have a chance at upsetting the apple cart is West Virginia. If they can drain those treys they could upset.

After WVU, this bracket looks like a cake walk for the top two. Somehow, Syracuse won the Big East tournament and became a No. 5 seed. This is a team that looked like NIT material the last half of the season. It just makes one think how some conferences may sit back a little to get an extra team to the Big Dance.

That’s just one of those thoughts and I know its not true, but I just wanted to toss it out there. Now we have Syracuse facing Texas A&M a 12 seed and only a one point favorite!

The Oakland bracket looks to be the most wide open and could offer several upsets. The team that I really like is Kansas who looks to be jelling at the right time. KU only needs to get by the winner of the Pittsburgh/Kent game to face off with Memphis and a trip to the Great Eight. Pitt will have their hands full with Kent and I don’t think the Panthers can beat KU.

After Memphis and KU it is wide open with Gonzaga, Marquette and UCLA. This is one of the best UCLA teams in a while and the Bruins are my pick to meet up with Kansas in the quarterfinal round, but it will be no easy road for any of the above.

Moving to Washington, D.C. it looks like all the UConn Huskies have to do is get by Washington or Illinois and they will get to the Final Four. I don’t see them losing to teams like Michigan St, North Carolina, Murray or Tennessee. As for Tennessee, the Vols will be lucky to get past Winthrop.

Lets move on to Minneapolis where we have another wide open bracket. Nova will most likely have to overcome either Arizona or Wisconsin to face Nevada or Boston College. Then they will have to oppose Florida, Oklahoma, Georgetown or Ohio State. I think that Florida may have the best shot at beating Nova, but the Buckeyes could be there depending on their mental state. I see several upsets in the making in this bracket.

I will now head out to make some early plays, starting with some Thursday games.

Winthrop +9 vs Tennessee: The Eagles have a good shot at winning outright.

Iona +7 vs LSU: These two match up well and this should be a close game.

Illinois —9 vs Air Force: I will lay the points, seeing the Fighting Illini beating the Force by double digits.

UCLA —20 vs Belmont: The Bruins will lay the lumber to Belmont, running up the score.

Moving on to some Friday games.

Davidson +11½ vs Ohio St: My beloved Buckeyes! But, you can’t bet with your heart. I think Davidson gets the money here.

Murray St +13 vs UNC: State should hang in here and get the cover.

Kent St +7 vs Pitt: This should be a real good game.

Bucknell +5 vs Arkansas: My one final dog play. This could be one of the first Friday upsets.

Kansas —8 vs Bradley: See, I do like favorites!

W. Virginia —4½ vs So Ill. We like those Pittsnogles for breakfast.

I gotta go so I don’t miss any numbers, is it Thursday yet?