The basketball court is in session.
First case: The chances of any seed beyond a No. 3 winning the national championship? The court recognizes the trend showing there’s an 88 percent chance the winner comes from this list of 12: Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Kansas, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Purdue, Duke, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Michigan State.
Second case: Are any of the No. 4 seeds worthy of being a 3? Yes, Gonzaga and Arizona. Sub them for Texas Tech and Tennessee.
Third case: Any teams in the Dance that shouldn’t have been invited? Yes, Oklahoma and Arizona State. Shafted teams: Middle Tennessee State, St. Mary’s.
Fourth case: Any chance a 1 seed will lose in the tourney for the first time ever? Not this year.
Court adjourned until Tuesday’s first two play-in games at Dayton, Ohio.
OK, now that we’ve taken care of official business, let’s get down to the first-round games. Mind you, we do NOT have strong opinions on all the games but realizing the betting public will likely have a play in every matchup we’ll give it a go. Our goal is 20 wins against the spread, but we’ll take more.
St. Bonaventure -3.5 vs. UCLA: Nice to see the Bonnies back in. They will get the sympathy vote in Dayton. UCLA getting points is too good to pass up. UCLA
LIU-Brooklyn -4.5 vs. Radford: We’re not taking a team that went 18-16. RADFORD
NC Central +5 vs. Texas Southern: Know little about either, but 5 seems too many. NC CENTRAL
Arizona State PK vs. Syracuse: A coaching matchup between Bobby Hurley and Jim Boeheim is a mismatch. SYRACUSE
Houston -3.5 vs. San Diego State: Mountain West not a strong conference. Houston would have won it. HOUSTON
Miami -2 vs. Loyola Chicago: Here’s a Cinderella. It would be just like the Canes to come in overconfident. LOYOLA-CHICAGO
Kansas -14.5 vs. Penn: On more than one occasion KU coach Bill Self hammered his Jayhawks. If he’s not happy, we’re on the Ivy League champs whose program has risen back to power. PENN
Michigan -11 vs. Montana: The Wolverines made a serious run last year and look like they can do it again. MICHIGAN
Tennessee -13 vs. Wright State: Thank you Wright State for eliminating Cleveland State. WRIGHT ST.
Texas Tech -11 vs. SF Austin: Texas shootout has us on Stephen F. and those 28 wins. SF AUSTIN
Virginia Tech -2 vs. Alabama: It’s all about momentum and the Crimson Tide has it. ALABAMA
Rhode Island -1 vs. Oklahoma: The Sooners are a fraud. RHODE ISLAND
Kentucky -5.5 vs. Davidson: If Davidson had Stephen Curry, maybe. KENTUCKY
Seton Hall -1.5 vs. NC State: The Kids in the Hall opened as a pick. SETON HALL
Texas A&M -3.5 vs. Providence: Some divine intervention may enter in. PROVIDENCE
Virginia -22 vs. UMBC: Baltimore hasn’t seen a defense like this since the Jets in SB III. UVA
Missouri PK vs. Florida State: Banking on Michael Porter’s return helping. MISSOURI
Arizona -8.5 vs. Buffalo: A lot going on off the court with Zona but so much talent. ARIZONA
Auburn -11 vs. College of Charleston: The Tigers have something to prove after early SEC tourney loss. AUBURN
Nevada PK vs. Texas: Big Mo Bamba due back for the Horns. TEXAS
Arkansas +1 vs. Butler: Playing this one in Detroit a big factor. BUTLER
Clemson -4.5 vs. N. Mexico St.: A lot of respect for the underdog Aggies, especially playing in San Diego. N. MEXICO ST.
Cincinnati -16.5 vs. Georgia St.: Bearcats earned that No. 2 seed. CINCY
Michigan St. -13.5 vs. Bucknell: Like Arizona, a lot going on off the court and Bucknell is dangerous. BUCKNELL
Purdue -20 vs. Cal-Fullerton: The Boilermakers are 1-12-1 against the spread in their last 14 games. CAL-FULLERTON
Creighton -2 vs. Kansas St.: Seeing the Blue Jays as a favorite has us antsy. KANSAS ST.
Ohio State -7.5 vs. S. Dakota St.: Loving the dog and their 28-6 overall record. Another potential Cinderella. S. DAKOTA ST.
Lipscomb +18.5 vs. N. Carolina: No surprise to see the Tar Heels set up in Charlotte for the first two rounds. N. CAROLINA
UNC Greensboro +13 vs. Gonzaga: The Zags in Boise is music to their ears. GONZAGA
Marshall +12 vs. Wichita St.: It’s been 31 years since the Herd made it to the Dance. They may have a few surprises up their sleeves. MARSHALL
Iona +20 vs. Duke: The Blue Devils are a Final Four team. Iona won a weak conference. DUKE
W. Virginia -10.5 vs. Murray St.: Upset alert. Murray State has won 13 in a row and 19 of the last 21. MURRAY ST.
My Final Four: Virginia, Duke, Villanova, Gonzaga.
A Last Man Standing entry: S. Dakota St., Kentucky, Gonzaga, Bucknell, Murray St.
Encore: One-seeds have done well over the past 11 years in the Big Dance, winning it all eight times… The D’s colorful owner Derek Stevens is at it again, betting $385,000 multiple games divided between the South Point and Golden Nugget, according to the VSiN Twitter feed. All part of the Madness.