Thursday, March 27, 2008

"That game was fixed. They were using a freakin' ladder, for God's sakes!"

NCAA Tournament Preview: Rounds 3 and 4: Well...I was going to go with something more substantial, but after making my picks, I cruised over to Seth Davis's latest entry. His selections are identical, so, if you're going to read anyone's pre-game analysis, it might as well be his. The picks are straight up, though I've made my (indefensibly gutless) spread selections in bold.

All gambling data comes from

Round 3 picks

UNC (-9) over Washington State: if WSU manages to control the tempo, this game could be closer than people expect...and I'm hoping it is. In fact, I officially rooting for WSU to win, since UNC is the leading national bracket national champion pick, plus they were kind of dicks in running it up against an overmatched Arkansas squad.

Louisville (-3) over Tennessee: should be a terrific game.

(-12) over Villanova: walkover.

Wisconsin (-5) over Davidson: can't wait for this one, though it scares the bejesus out of me, which makes different than any other Wisconsin game. What concerns me is that, for the second game in a row, the Badgers will not have the best player on the floor. And if you don't think is an issue, see this (which still makes me angry). 10 bucks (+125) on Stephen Curry to be over 23.5 points, though--hopefully--Wisconsin shuts down everyone else.

Update: Just discovered this...which scares the crap out of me even more. That's a whole lotta goodwill.

Memphis (-4.5) over MSU: initially, I had Memphis covering this one. But here's the thing: given how terribly they shoot FTs, this effectively makes the line more like 7 or 8. In other words Memphis, in all probability, needs to up by fifteen or so late in the game (in which case Tom Izzo won't foul) to be assured of a cover.

(-2.5) over Stanford: hopefully. On the plus side, this would probably cause Misha's head to explode.

(-11.5) over Western Kentucky: I'm tempted to call this a "trap game" UCLA--though it's somewhat of a misnomer in a one-and-done tourney--but are they really going to look past WKU in anticipation of playing...the winner of Xavier/West Virginia? Hardly. Unless they've already mentally punched their ticket to San Antonio (where they'll likely play Memphis), they should win going away tonight.

(+1) over West Viriginia: tough one to pick. WVU is more athletic and has more star power, but Xavier's the better team. It would be fantastic for their program if they got to the Elite 8.

Round 4 picks

UNC over Louisville
Wisconsin over Kansas
Memphis over Texas
UCLA over Xavier

All four of those have the potential to be outstanding games. If Louisville survives Tennessee, it wouldn't surprise me if they knocked off UNC. If you're a UNC booster (which is not unlike rooting for democracy), you cannot tell me that you aren't a little concerned about a repeat of last year's Elite 8 meltdown. Which reminds me....

Three Quick Prop Picks

1. Yes, Memphis is (at 6/5) far and away the most likely one seed to be knocked out first, but the payout is lousy, so I'd be tempted to go with UNC or Kansas (both are 13/4).

2. The Big 12 (at 11/4) to have the most teams in the Elite 8.

3. UCLA (at 9/2) to win by 21 or more points tonight.

I'll hypothetically lay $7.50 on each of the games, $15 on Curry, $5 on UNC crapping out first, and $10 each on the Big 12 and UCLA.

Now...sit back and watch me turn that $100 into $37.50. Bear Stearns ain't got nothin' on me.

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