Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nurse the Hate: March Madness Part 2

As expected it was a flurry of gambling activity that looked grim on Thursday, and improved significantly by Sat night. Like most of you, I sure enjoyed that meaningless bucket at the buzzer that took the Texas A&M/BYU game over and took jack out of my pocket. Then, my Internet went down for no particular reason, and I was flying blind on Sat. However, being as heavy as I was on Marquette and Xavier, everything was just peachy. So what about tomorrow?

Let's take a flier on Tennessee on the money line. While everyone you know around the office water cooler will be talking shit about how good Louisville is, I think they're overrated. (Plus those Rubes don't know shit. I don't either, but it may seem like I do if I say it with enough conviction.) Louisville loves to tank when they are big favorites, and CBS can show Rick Pitino looking dour at the end of the game. On top of that, Tennessee is 4-1 vs the Top 25 this year and is 8-1 as an underdog. These guys get fired up when they are "disrespected", and this is one of those games. Let's go Vols.

I'm on West Virginia -1. These guys are experienced, with the last 4 years going Sweet 16, Elite 8, NIT Champs, Sweet 16. Here's the big factor...Xavier hasn't played anybody that plays "D" and WVU Ds up all game. Xavier's record vs. teams with a better D than WVU is 5-4 SU, and 4-5 ATS. Xavier is 1-9 when they've been held under 67 points, and WVU has done that 28 of 36 games. That's enough for me. I'm on West Virginia.

Quick Note: Great CDs I picked up lately...The 2 CD Dead Moon "best of" on Sub Pop is great. You have to get past the often sketchy production and Fred Cole vocal, but this is pure rock and roll. These are really nasty garage rock songs one right after another. I would also pick up an early Hives record called Barely Legal. Tons of energy without some of their annoying tendencies. It ain't easy to find good rock, but trust me on these...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate March Madness

Well, we're in The Shit now. An orgy of gambling is about to grip even the lamest pin dick in your social circle as people feverishly fill out their brackets for their high stakes $5.00 office pool. Oh yes, Steve from accounting will be shitting bricks when that North Carolina v Coppin St game goes off...However, not wanting to miss out on any action, I'm ALL IN on these brackets, but the real action is going to be on side bets. Here's a few I'd take a real good look at...

Texas A&M/BYU UNDER 128.5: This is a matchup of two of the best defensive teams in the NCAA, with both holding opponents to under 40% shooting. On top of that, neither can shoot better than 65% from the free throw line. Now they have to try to shoot on a neutral court in a nationally televised game? Not likely. Love the under...

Oklahoma -1.5 over St Joes: Look, I know this looks crazy. Oklahoma was only 6-12 ATS in conference, and 3-9 ATS in NCAA Tournament openers. Let's all agree they're not going very far in this tournament. Those Midwestern teams fold fast. However, #6 seeds are 14-1 straight up against opposition with winning percentages as low as St Joes. That's a real nice trend, and I'm going with it.

Winthrop +8.5 over Washington State: Every fricken Rube in Vegas will bet against Winthrop because they have never heard of them, while Washington State seems like a legit team. "Hey getta load of this! You ever heard of Winthrop? Only 8.5 points? That's a joke! Let's get on Washington State guys!" Winthrop beat UNC Ashville by 18 pts in their conference tourney, and beat Miami on the road this year. They'll keep it within nine points. Will they win? Who cares? Washington St won't cover!!!

George Mason +6.5 over Notre Dame: The dreaded 12 vs 5 slot rears it's over publicized head here. Here's the most important stat to look at with these games...How well did the team play on the road? Notre Dame was just 7-7 on the road, and the Irish looked shaky as hell in their conference tourney. Take a flier on George Mason split with the points and on the money line.

Marquette -6 over Kentucky: KY didn't beat a single tournament bound team on the road this season, and the guards turn the ball over 16 times a game. That ain't gonna cut it against a Marquette team that may send 3 guards to the NBA. Hit Marquette hard!

Also, when this week unfolds you should immediately punch in the face without warning anyone that says...

* "I'm a Bracketologist!"

* "In the tournament, it's all about guard play!"

* "I knew (Team A) was going to win, but I didn't take them!"

Go get 'em, and I'll check in Saturday to see how bad we're getting our collective asses kicked...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nurse the Hate: Hate Snow

There was once a time when rugged Midwestern residents stoically battled the elements without pretense or fanfare. Nobody complained because what good could come of that? In the winter, you got snow. That's what happens in the winter. If the Gods dropped a foot of snow while you slept, you calmly picked up your shovel and got to work clearing it out of the way. Not any more...

You would think that clouds of cyanide gas were being dropped from airplanes the way people reacted this weekend to the weather. I stopped at a grocery store on Friday afternoon as the projected 12-16 inches of snow began falling. All I wanted was an apple and a sandwich, and I was totally unprepared for the bad craziness I stepped into. Old women were on the brink of fist fights over cans of tomato soup. Terrified eyes of soccer moms scanned the quickly thinning shelves looking for the last box of strawberry pop tarts to keep their wailing child satiated as they prepared to ride out "Death Storm 2008". Shelves were picked clean as local residents braced themselves for the worst. All rules of the road were suspended as old men drove through stop signs, and macho suburbanites drove as fast as possible to justify their giant four wheel drive SUVs.

On television, all local stations broke into programming every 15 minutes attempting to dream up new ways of saying "We're going to get a foot and a half of snow over the next 24 hours". Impressive terms like "accu-track" and "dual doppler" really seem cutting edge until you realize they don't mean anything. Each station tries to outdo the other in presenting the one actual sentence of information in new and spectacular fashion. Everyone is urged "NOT TO LEAVE YOUR HOMES!!!!" Like a Rube, I listened and stayed in virtual lock down in my bunker.

Stuck inside all day, I was forced to gamble wildly on college basketball and boxing while drinking heroic quantities of red wine and pale ale. It started out innocently enough with a small wager on Stanford to "keep the game interesting", and quickly snowballed into white knuckling it on Princeton +7.5 against Cornell. I bet on Cleveland State, Rhode Island, Duke, and was moments away from losing a small fortune on Juan Diaz when he got his ass kicked by a journeyman in a Don King production in Cancun. I would like to point out, I don't really know anything about any of those teams, games, conferences, or match ups. It got so bad in the afternoon, that I was trying to figure out why the line on the Butler/U of Illinois-Chicago Horizon League semi final was dropping like a stone. Things had clearly gotten out of hand...

When was it exactly that we became such pussies about extreme weather? It must have been sometime around when that term "Alberta Clipper" first started getting tossed around. (Side note: I think "Alberta Clipper" came around the same time as "high ankle sprain". Has anyone had just an "ankle sprain" since the advent of the "high ankle sprain" term? Suddenly, everyone is a fucking amateur Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Example: "Oh, Daniel Gibson will be out at least 6 weeks minimum. I saw how he came down on it. He's got a high ankle sprain.) The bottom line is that change has to start somewhere. Me? I'm going retro with my attitude towards weather. Will it put me in incredible danger? Maybe. But, at least I won't be gambling on Ivy League basketball.