April 23, 2014

On the first round of March Madness and why I don’t gamble

I don’t believe there is anything morally wrong with gambling.  I do not attend BYU and fall under the requirements of their honor code, and I also know plenty of people who would be thrilled to take my “action”.   People who live in Vegas that is.  So those are not reasons that prevent me from earning a million betting college hoops games this time of year.

I don’t gamble for two reasons.  One - I have no idea how to consistently predict the outcomes of these games.  Tenessee will lose by 30 to Michigan?  Okay, sure I thought that would happen.  So I primarily don’t gamble because I would lose a ton of money if I did.

But I also don’t, especially on this tournament, because I then wouldn’t be able to switch the team I’m rooting for mid-way through if the underdog has a real shot of knocking off a perennial power.  Which is one of my favorite things to do this time of year…Morehead State Nation, we did it!!!! 

Just in case I did get every single game correct this year though I entered the WFNY Bracket Challenge.  I wanted to have that doucmented for obvious reasons.  Craig was nice enough to point out yesterday that I’m not doing so well so far though.  Instead of documenting a bracket that I initially did refer to as the answer key, my bracket now serves to support this – why I don’t gamble on March Madness discussion - instead.  I imagine others can relate.

Oakland vs Texas:  I am that guy that goes out of his way to pick each of the few upsets that will surely besiege the first round in a given tournament.  That’s probably not a good strategy, and I was mostly wrong this year.  However I was kinda close when it came to my Oakland pick.  I watched Oakland a couple times this season and I thought they played at a great tempo.  I thought their guard (Reggie Hamilton, game-high 25) was a bad man, and I thought they had a real shot at beating a Texas team I watched a few times this season and still am not sold on.  So I picked Oakland to win, and they ended up scoring 81 points.  I was kinda proud of my pick in that I didn’t think most people thought they’d give Texas a game, let alone hang 81 on the Horns.  Which is what I told myself when the final buzzer sounded and Texas scored 85.  Oh and I probably shouldn’t have had Oakland in the Sweet 16 either, that was a little much in hindsight. 

Princeton vs Kentucky: I also suppose I shouldn’t have had Princeton beating Kentucky on Thursday since they didn’t, but I watched that Princeton – Harvard game and I really liked Tigers chances.  Princeton’s coach (Sydney Johnson) is an up-and-comer I think, and the Tigers gave the Wildcats all they could handle.  For a while, Princeton looked straight up like the better “team” in that game.  They backdoored Terrence Jones to the bench for most of the second half, and big kid from Princeton was dominating the key.  They even held Brandon Knight to ZERO points for the first 39 minutes and 54 seconds of the game.  The kid averaged 17.5 a game for Calipari’s squad.  But then Knight hit the last shot, Kentucky won, and the Ivy dropped another one.  As did I.

Morehead State vs Louisville:  Besides rooting for upsets that I “predict” I also like to switch sides when it looks like the underdog has a real chance.  Especially when that chance is to knock off a powerhouse coached by Rick Pitino.  I did have the Cardinals in the Sweet-16, but I am fine with seeing them fall to an in-state school that they have no business losing too since it doesn’t hurt me financially.  Morehead played smart and brilliantly.  While I should’ve been rooting for a team like Morehead from the start, I didn’t actually jump on board until they had Richard’s club on the ropes in the second half.  They hit some monster shots, and I was openly rooting for them out loud down the stretch.  Then the MSU coach literally called timeout with 30 seconds to go, with Morehead down 2, and actually played it for the last shot.  Down two.  And then the kid (Demonte Harper) hit an absolute dagger of a three that will be replayed for the next twenty years as the shot clock expired.  And at that moment, I was rooting for them.

Akron falls 69-56:  Great run through the MAC Tournament for Steve McNees, Keith Dambrot, McNight and that whole crew over there.  That’s a tough match-up with the Big East squad Notre Dame has this season, and in a lot of other match-ups they could’ve made some noise.  They played tough, and respresented the MAC conference as well as Northeast Ohio in a respectable fashion though.  Congrats on a championship season, and great careers for those seniors down there.  Good stuff fellas.

I’ll be back later with an actual WFNY Bracket Challenge Update, and some previews for the day’s slate of games.

  • Mark

    I too liked Oakland coming into the NCAAs but didn’t like them vs Texas. I probably would have picked them if they drew Louisville (obvious now) or Kentucky.

  • bobby

    Really, Kentucky is very lucky to have gotten out of Princeton because in my view Knight took 4+ steps before his GW lay-up.

  • MattyFos

    I always root for the upsets as well. Unless it’s an 8/9 or a 7/10 game. I don’t really consider those upsets. I couldn’t care less how my bracket works out. I don’t put money on it I just do a brackt for fun with my family.