The smoke has cleared, the cell phones silenced and then there were 16.
It was a rousing four days in the Vegas Sports books with gamblers hanging from the chandeliers with $100 bills spewing out of their hands. The excitement reached a high pitch in the Ohio State/Xavier game when it looked as though the Buckeyes would be the first No. 1 seed to be eliminated.
Somehow, Ohio State tied the game and won in overtime. The crowd was roaring when it appeared the Buckeyes not only would win in OT, but also cover the 7Â½ points. But they were silenced when Xavier got a late rebound and scored at the buzzer to lose by 7 and get the cover.
Sunday, the joints were really rockin’ and rollin’ as our UNLV Rebels went up by 12 at halftime only to lose that lead. Most bettors that I was around thought it was over for the Rebs. Instead, the well coached Kruger bunch with his son leading the way showed grit to battle back and post the biggest win in the program since its old glory days under "Tark the Shark."
Nobody was disappointed by all the well played games. Now it’s on to the Sweet 16, the Great 8 and Final 4. I saw no trouble at the Books with the big crowds, except that security was very busy tossing out players that were unknowingly talking on their cell phones. Now who could these bettors — women and men, young and old — be talking to on the other end?
I don’t think it’s their illegal bookie. It was very clear as the loud speaker would constantly bark out "no cell phone use in the Race and Sports Book."
Now let’s look at this week’s upcoming games.
Thursday, March 22
SOUTH, San Antonio
Tx A&M -2Â½ vs Memphis (135): This game opened at -2 and moved a tad in favor of the Aggies. This is the matchup I predicted and a possible trip to the Final 4 for the winner if able to beat the Ohio State/Tennessee winner. I don’t have a feel for this game, but if Memphis is history if unable to sink free throws. A&M.
Tenn +4 vs Ohio St (144): Sometimes you need a game like the Buckeyes had as a real eye opener in setting the stage for a run at the title. The Vols are playing super and if they can run and gun those three pointers, Ohio State is in for a real fight. I saw this game at -3 in one spot and took a shot with the Buckeyes. I will be rooting, not betting. However, I will wager on the total. OVER.
WEST, San Jose, CA
So. Ill +8Â½ vs Kansas (126): Top seed Kansas looks to have one of the easiest trips. The Jayhawks are playing great and should handle the Salukis. KANSAS.
Pitt +3 vs UCLA (123): This game actually opened UCLA -1Â½ and shot up to -3. I think bettors are giving the Bruins a push since the game is in California. It will go down to the wire, making the points look good. PITT.
Friday, March 23
EAST, East Rutherford NJ
Vandy +7Â½ vs G’town (131): Absolutely no movement in the line with both teams playing at a high pitch. I don’t see Georgetown losing and if it drops to -7, I will lay the points. If not, I will make a small bet on the total. UNDER.
USC +8Â½ vs UNC (150): This game opened with North Carolina a 10-point favorite and I actually ran to take it. The Trojans are playing super and give a big time effort to get the cover and possible win. Should be high scoring. USC.
MIDWEST, St. Louis
UNLV +2Â½ vs Oregon (140): They told me this game opened Oregon -1Â½, but I never saw that price. I was able to lay -2 against the Cinderella Rebels. As good as UNLV is playing and happy they got this far, I do think their run will be over. The Pac 10 has been smoking. OREGON.
Butler +10Â½ vs Florida (124): Florida got its little scare and now on the way to that possible dream matchup with Ohio State. The Gators will dominate and take no prisoners. FLORIDA.