Opening weekend of March Madness was everything as advertised, with Las Vegas sports books and casinos packed with fans and bettors.
There were a few surprises in the opening round, but they were mild ones. Favorites, that is, the higher seeds, mostly moved on as expected.
In fact, this year marked the first time ever that the top three seeds in each region moved on to the Sweet 16 round next week.
We’ll see just how "sweet" the round is, and to spice things up here are a few tidbits of my own.
Pittsburgh -7½ vs. Xavier: Pitt should be able to handle Xavier, and the point spread is not that insurmountable. The Panthers are a tough club with great inside strength, with more than adequate guard play. Take Pitt and lay the points.
Duke -2½ vs. Villanova: I’m not sold on Duke, as they rely too much on outside shooting; if they can’t shoot 45 percent from outside, they can’t control this game, and I don’t think ’Nova will allow too many open 3-pointers. Take ’Nova plus the points.
Connecticut -7 vs. Purdue: The Huskies have the toughest shot blocker in college ball, and will force Purdue to rely on jump shots with no easy baskets. Defense, brother, wins big games. Lay the wood with Connecticut.
Memphis -6 vs. Missouri: John Callipari’s club is not nearly as strong this year as in the past few years, especially without his superstar point guard. Take Missouri +6.
Louisville -8½ vs. Arizona: The Cats have three blue chip players who are playing well and they figure to be within the point spread. If Louisville can lose at home to UNLV, they can lose to Arizona in Indiana. Wildcats plus the number.
Michigan State -1 vs. Kansas: I’m usually anti-Big 10 teams, and this match-up is no exception. The Jayhawks survive with an efficient fast paced offense. Kansas +1.
North Carolina -8½ vs. Gonzaga: The Tar heels have their superstar point guard back, and they figure to run the Zags off the court. This perhaps will be a mismatch, as they should be favored by double digits. Tar Heels minus the points.
Oklahoma -1 vs. Syracuse: Sentimentally I want to pick the Orangemen, but my better judgment has to go with the Sooners. They’ve got the better interior personnel and should out rebound Syracuse, as their superstar shows why he’s the best big man in the country. Oklahoma.
I’m not certain that this week could be as exciting as last week, but if it is my blood pressure will go through the roof.
The optimistic news for this week concerns mortgage interest rates on homes. The consumer can now obtain a lesser monthly payment on his home, as the interest finally is below 5%. This may be a crucial step towards righting our economic ship. With lower payments available more people can qualify for mortgages, which in turn will help buy up the available bargains belonging to the banks who don’t want the homes they have accumulated. Once the foreclosures are bought up, the banks get some operating capital, and proceed with low interest loans to those who now qualify. It has a domino effect upon many people like you and I. Furthermore, after thee homes go off the market suddenly your existing home develops more value which equates to an increase in your equity. See, I told you it would all work out. It is simple if I can describe it. Well, now that the housing problem is solved, let’s now concentrate on universal health care.
Buy American and have a great week!