We’re halfway through the last day of the first weekend of the 2011 NCAA Tournament (that’s a mouthful) and it was a wild morning gambling-wise, but fairly sane when considering the chalk. We had the two North Carolina schools failing to cover but escaping with victories. We had Ohio State absolutely dismantle George Mason. And we had a fun Arizona victory over Texas. A quality morning of basketball with four games remaining.
No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 7 Washington – The Tarheels were a 4 1/2-point favorite against Washington and I went with UNC to get the late cover. This ended up being a fairly wild affair to which UNC barely held on. Washington gave Carolina all they could handle but it was not quite enough. Even more unfortunately, Carolina held on without covering as they won 86-83.
No. 1 Duke vs. No. 8 Michigan – Duke was an 11 ½-point favorite over Michigan and I went with Duke to cover but having to work for it into the second half. The latter part of the prediction really doesn’t matter for gambling purposes, but I figured it was worth including anyway. Well, things ended up a lot closer than I expected as Michigan hung around and even had a chance to force overtime at the buzzer before losing 73-71. Duke threatened to pull away numerous times but the Wolverines managed to get big shots and hang around until the end. At the end of regulation Darius Morris drove into the lane and shot a runner at the basket but it bounced off and time expired.
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 George Mason – Ohio State was an 11 ½-point favorite against the Patriots and I went with Ohio State to win and cover fairly easily. The Patriots took an early lead and seemed set to hang in, but then Ohio State decided to take this game seriously. By the end of the first half, the Buckeyes had doubled up George Mason 52-26 and never looked back. Ohio State seemed intent on destroying George Mason and sending a message to the rest of the field as they finished with an easy 98-66 victory. The field only gets more difficult, but the Buckeyes are looking good right now.
No. 4 Texas vs. No. 5 Arizona – Texas was a six-point favorite against Arizona and I took Texas to cover late. Arizona ended up in control for most of this game before escaping with a late win thanks to a huge and-on with 9.6 seconds left. Arizona led by as many as 13 points before Texas made a late run. The Longhorns led by two and had the ball with 14 seconds left. However, freshman Cory Joseph turned the ball over out of a timeout (plenty on that little clusterf***) and Arizona managed the key and-one. Texas drove the lane to close the game but could not score as time expired.
It was a less than stellar showing this morning as I went 1-3 against the spread. I did manage to go 3-1 straight up, which helps me in my bracket. Of course for more bracket, I need San Diego State at least in the title game to have a chance to win some money. It was a fun morning of basketball though, with four more games to go and VCU currently dominating Purdue.