This Week in March Madness Betting, A-Z
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 3/17/2011
A – Apricot. I’m not sure exactly what the color apricot looks like, but the odds of Queen Elizabeth wearing an apricot-colored hat at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, is 10/1. The odds, courtesy of Bodog, offer a number of color selections for the Queen’s hat, including the favorite blue (3/1) and the long shot, black (20/1). There was no official listing on Bodog, but I think the odds of the Queen wearing an actual apricot are somewhere around 35,000/1.
B – Beadle and Barnaby. In what has become a rite of passage for female ESPN employees, Michelle Beadle of Sportsnation has admitted she is dating an ex-jock. Beadle went ahead and took it a step further, she is dating a former professional athlete who is also employed by ESPN, NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby. When things eventually turn sour for the 35-year old Beadle and the 37-year old Barnaby, we’re going to have Must See TV on our hands.
C – Cincinnati Fans. A sad, angry and frustrated pair of Bengals fans (are there any other kind?) have finally had enough. Brothers Corey and Jesse Fischer have been making the three-hour trip to Cincinnati home games for five years to see futility. Now the Fisher’s decided to bill the team with an invoice of their expenses including tickets ($8900), tailgating ($5580, apparently they like to eat and drink), gas money ($460) and paper bags, pepto bismol and Excedrin ($9.98). The Excedrin could help with the headache of being a Bengals fan and the hangover that comes with consuming $5580 worth of tailgating “materials.” No word on a reply from the team yet or if the brothers will include costs for their therapy sessions next.
D – Duke. In what amounts to extremely convenient timing, the Blue Devils just may be getting their formerly injured guard, Kyrie Irving back in time for the NCAA Tournament. The announcement did not really affect Duke’s odds as the Blue Devils are still anywhere from +400 to +475 to win the national title. One interesting prop on Sportsbook.com, asks whether or not No. 16 seed Hampton will ever have a lead against Duke. The Yes is –190, the No. is +150.
E – European-style names. In case domestic soccer did not annoy you enough, the MLS decides to start its season the first day of NCAA Tournament games. And now more and more teams are starting to adopt those European-style nicknames that make no bloody sense. You have teams named Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC, D.C. United, Chivas USA, Sporting Kansas City, etc. Instead of trying to replicate European-style soccer, the MLS is content to just use their naming strategy.
F – Free Pizza. In case you needed more reason to cheer for a No. 16 seed on Thursday and Friday, Pizza Hut is upping the ante. If a No. 16 seed does the unthinkable and knocks off a top seed, then Pizza Hut is giving out free pizza throughout the continental United States.
G – Gilbert Gottfried. Baseball fans will be given a reprieve from Gilbert Gottfried’s voice during the Aflac trivia question thanks to some untimely tweets from the voice of the duck. Amidst the ongoing catastrophe in Japan, Gottfried unleashed a series of off-color tweets about the situation including these lame ducks, “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.” And, “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, “They’ll be another one floating by any minute now.” The fact that Aflac does 75 percent of its business in Japan did not help matters for the out-of-work comedian. This is likely the last paying job Gottfried will ever have.
H – Hill, Grant. The former Duke basketball star lashed out at Jalen Rose for speaking the truth about the Duke basketball program. During a documentary on Michigan’s fabled Fab Five that Rose was a part of, Rose said that he hated everything about Duke because, “I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms.” Hill went ahead and called the comments, “sad and somewhat pathetic,” although he never said they were not true.
I – Insider Higher Ed Bracket. The real March Madness takes place when the geeks at Inside Higher Ed play out the entire 68-team NCAA Tournament based solely on academics. They have been doing it for six years now. Winners of each tournament game are determined by using the NCAA’s multi-year Academic Progress Rate. The results were surprising. If this year’s NCAA Tournament were played out in the classroom the Final Four would consist of No. 13 Princeton, No. 4 Texas, No. 8 Butler and No. 1 Kansas. The formula actually has Butler knocking off Texas in the championship game. This is almost a believable concept, a little better than when the geek squad tournament first began six years ago. The first three champions were Bucknell, Holy Cross and Davidson.
J – Jimmer. So BYU forward Brandon Davies cannot have sex, but star player Jimmer Fredette can teach an entire country how to “Jimmer.” The spin-off of the dance anthem “Teach me how to Dougie” has elevated Fredette to new heights. The song is available on iTunes for 99 cents, it has its own Web site, t-shirt and music video. BYU fans just hope the song doesn’t get Jimmer laid.
K – Kansas. In this year’s version of Baracketology, President Barack Obama loaded up on chalk and picked all four No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four. He may be a liberal, but when it comes to March Madness, he was conservative. For the second year in a row he gave the kiss of death to Kansas, picking the Jayhawks to win the national championship. He did the same thing last year only to see Kansas get bounced in the second round.
L – Lhotse Merriam. Even for a guy who has pulled off some incredible stunts in his career, this is impressive. Tony Hawk has divorced Lhotse Merriam, his third wife, after she discovered a plane ticket Hawk purchased for his mistress. It gets better. The mistress is Cathy Goodman, the wife of Hawk’s best friend, Matt Goodman. Cathy and Matt were married for more than 19 years, but they have now separated as well. Hawk’s former wives have included his publicist and his nanny. Matt Goodman was a groomsman in all three of Hawk’s previous weddings. No word on if Hawk and Cathy plan on getting married and if Matt will be a groomsman there as well.
M – MLS. Here is one reason why the MLS is not a real professional league. FC Dallas defenseman Jair Benitez was fined for his actions during a game. The total of the fine: $500. Or about $99,500 less than the average James Harrison fine. It gets better. Real Salt Lake defenseman Jamison Olave was fined for criticizing officials via social media (who the hell is following this clown anyway on Twitter?). Olave’s fine was $250.
N–Nantz, Jim. It may have only been on Tuesday and only aired on TruTV, but at exactly 8:59 p.m. ET on the 15th day of March, Jim Nantz declared, “March Madness has begun!” He made the announcement just as UNC Asheville hit a three-pointer to force overtime in a First Four game against Arkansas Little Rock. UNC Asheville would win the game in overtime, 81-77.
O – Ochocinco. The eccentric Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver has done some crazy things in his career. But his latest stunt might top them all. For some reason Ochocinco is trying out for the MLS. He has a four-day tryout scheduled with Sporting Kansas City (check “E” for an explanation of the team name). If MLS had any marketing sense they would sign him up regardless of his talent level and start him to sell tickets. So considering that, expect Ochocinco to be cut.
P – Porn team. If March Madness was truly perfect then No. 14 seed Morehead State would have the likes of George Mason forward Luke Hancock, Tennessee guard Josh Bone, Texas guard Andrew Dick, Illinois guard Crandall Head and most importantly, Texas A&M guard BJ Holmes.
Q- Quake in Japan Controversy. What qualifies a women’s basketball player to speak about any topic besides bad basketball is beyond me. But off went Cappie Pondexter about the situation in Japan. Apparently the WNBA is still around and Pondexter plays on one of the teams and she knows how to use a computer and Twitter. Pondexter fired away at the Japanese blaming the earthquake on the people of the country. She tweeted the following, “u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so u can’t expect anything less.”
R – Roadrunners. Hands down the best nickname in March Madness goes to No. 16 seed and play-in game winner, Texas-San Antonio. The Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners made Alabama State look like Wile E. Coyote as they jumped out to a 17-4 lead and dropped anvil after anvil all over the Hornets as the Roadrunners took a 48-21 halftime lead by the time people figured out what channel TruTV was on their cable box. The Roadrunners would win the game, 70-61, and advance to play a better team (Ohio State) but not a better nickname.
S - San Diego State. For anybody who has the No. 2-seeded Aztecs penciled in for making a deep tournament run in their brackets, here is one number you may want to take a look at. Zero. That is the total number of NCAA tournament wins in San Diego State history. They are 0-6 in the Big Dance. Coach Steve Fisher is 0-3 in the big dance at San Diego State.
T – TruTV, TNT, TBS. At least one US congressman is incensed that CBS has pushed some of its March Madness games to non-basic cable destinations. Connecticut US Rep Joe Courtney sent a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert stating that if the Huskies first-round game vs. Bucknell remained on TNT as it was scheduled, that 150,000 Connecticut homes will not be able to watch it. It is downright shocking that many people do not have cable or satellite. And then of course two idiots (CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and Turner Sports exec David Levy) had to go out and say that they were not too worried because all games are available for free online, because you know people without cable in the 21st century definitely have the Internet.
U – UAB. The Dragons further stated their case as the worst at-large team in NCAA Tournament history after being pasted 70-52 by Clemson in a First Four game Tuesday night. It was already clear that UAB had a worse resume than a lifelong McDonald’s employee but then they go out and lose by 18 and that only fuels the fire of those who lambasted the NCAA selection committee for inviting UAB.
V – VCU. The First Four, aka the play-in games, aka the latest way the NCAA is trying to fix something that is not broken, were a major flop on Tuesday and Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. It started with a good overtime game, albeit between No. 16 seeds but sparse crowds, a channel nobody could find (TruTV), and a pair of first-half runaway blowouts. In the end no one was calling this the first round. We all know the tournament does not start until you skip school or work or both to watch a noon game during the middle of the week. The winners of the First Four were Texas-San Antonio, UNC Asheville, Clemson and VCU. Can anybody name a player on one of those teams? Anybody?
W- Women’s March Madness. Don’t forget about the ladies, they too have March Madness. If you are a real degenerate you can organize your friends and have a bracket competition for the women’s NCAA Tournament or you could just wager on the eventual winner. According to Bodog, Connecticut is the favorite (shocker!) at –225. Baylor is not far behind at +250. There are also odds available for Stanford (+700) and Tennessee (+1200) and then of course the ‘field’ which is at +1200.
X – X-Games. ESPN bid for the rights for March Madness but lost out to the CBS/TNT/TBS/TruTV cluster of networks. Now the “Worldwide Leader” is bowing down to the tournament. Instead of trying to compete against the tournament, ESPN will counter with X-Games footage, most of it re-runs. On Thursday and Friday if you get tired of watching great tournament basketball you can always turn on ESPN and watch women’s snowboarding superpipe competition.
Y – Yahoo! Sports. In an interview with Adrian Peterson, Yahoo! Sports tried to coax the star running back to say something stupid about the ongoing NFL labor dispute. Peterson took the bait and ran with it. A star running back slated to make $10 million this year, Peterson went ahead and compared the NFL players’ current situation as ‘modern-day slavery.” The firestorm began soon after and, of course, Peterson said things were taken out of context which they clearly were not.
Z – Zbikowski, Tom. Count at least one NFL player with a back-up plan in case there is no more NFL and playing MLS soccer does not count, sorry Ochocinco. Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski entered the boxing ring last week and looked rather impressive in reviving his once fledgling boxing career. The 193-pound Zbikowski knocked out 235-pound Richard Bryant in the first round of a pay-per-view bout. Okay, so maybe boxing won’t cut it for Zbikowski if there is a strike, the fight only netted him $10,000.
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