I was in Vegas this past weekend for the NCAA tourney. What a weekend to be there, with upsets rampant, totals being foiled by half-court 3-pointers at the first-half buzzer and fans sounding like they'd been on three-day benders of whiskey and cigarettes.
My favorite story was the guy sitting next to me at the M on Sunday afternoon. I was doing in-running wagering on Texas A&M and Purdue, looking for opportunities to hedge a couple of bets I made pregame. I did OK, getting saved by a money-line bet on Purdue at plus-420 when the Boilers were down by seven early in the second half. The guy in the seat next to me had a two-team teaser -- silly, silly man -- on Cornell to win and Texas A&M plus-four. The payout was $1,000. With the first bet already won, he was happily watching A&M cruise in the first half.
Then the Aggies collapsed. And he swore like a sailor. So he started buying Purdue on the money line to win through his in-running device. When the game got tight, he knew he had a nice little middle opportunity. And he swore like a sailor some more. With joy. As Purdue dribbled away a last shot in regulation I thought this guy -- who went about 6-foot-2, 260 -- was going to weep. He had been put through the ringer. But when Chris Kramer pulled out that filthy crossover in OT to give Purdue (and our man in the middle) the W, he stood and yelled, "F-ING MIDDLE, MAN! YEAH!!!!!" I thought the roof would cave in. He won a few grand on the game.
And he'll probably lose it this weekend. Unless he takes a gander at what the sharps are thinking in Part I of the Sweet 16 edition of the wise guy brackets. Today's guests are Paul Stone, the handicapping Texan who also happens to run ultra-marathons, and Edward Golden, who runs right angle sports, aka. handicapper.net. Golden is one of the most respected totals players in college hoops.
To read the wise-guy breakdown of the East and South Sweet 16 matchups, you must be an ESPN Insider.