This weekend was my second time attending a regional in person. But, the Final Four is still on my sports bucket list. It’s just hard to justify paying $200 to sit in the last row of a football stadium to watch a basketball game. Also, look at where the Final Four has taken place over the last decade:
|2002||Atlanta, Georgia||Georgia Dome||Maryland|
|2003||New Orleans, Louisiana||Louisiana Superdome||Syracuse|
|2004||San Antonio, Texas||Alamodome||Connecticut|
|2005||St. Louis, Missouri||Edward Jones Dome||North Carolina|
|2006||Indianapolis, Indiana||RCA Dome||Florida|
|2007||Atlanta, Georgia||Georgia Dome||Florida|
|2008||San Antonio, Texas||Alamodome||Kansas|
|2009||Detroit, Michigan||Ford Field||North Carolina|
|2010||Indianapolis, Indiana||Lucas Oil Stadium||Duke|
|2011||Houston, Texas||Reliant Stadium||Connecticut|
|2012||New Orleans, Louisiana||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||TBD|
These aren’t exactly cities that would otherwise be high on my “to visit” list. Of course, this year, it’s NoLa. That’s intriguing. The next four years of sites are already in place. They are far less interesting than New Orleans. In 2013 the games will go back to the ATL. The next year, 2014, the new Cowboys Stadium gets the Final Four for the first time. Then it’s back to Indy and Houston in 2015 and 2016.
Is a trip eminent? I mean, I guess I want to see the colossal screen and Cowboys Stadium. I wouldn’t live up to the American stereotype if I didn’t give a shit about a massive big screen TV. In actuality, this goes back to my earlier point. Seeing a hoops game in a stadium like that, you need a nice HD screen to watch on, because there’s a good chance you will barely be able to decipher the action on the court.
All those questioning points not withstanding, at some point soon, it must be done. The trigger must be pulled.
Back to this past Saturday’s action in Boston. Here’s how it went down.
The Garden Goes Orange…
Saturday night’s elite eight game at the Garden featured Ohio State and Syracuse. As expected, the Orange fans were out in full force.
Prior to tip we stopped by The Fours, across the street from the Garden, for a bite and a pregame drink. Or two.
The place had been converted to a ‘Cuse rallying point. Hundred and hundreds of Syracuse fans engulfed the restaurant and bar areas. The place was crawling with orange. In the sea of the orange shirts and jerseys, only a few Buckeye fans could be seen. The 300 mile journey from upstate New York to Boston was made by thousands. Still, all things considered a decent number of Buckeye fans did make the nearly 800 mile trek from Columbus.
In the end, Ohio State was too much for Syracuse.
The Orange fans poured from the Garden without incident. That’s a miserable ride home to have make that night or the next morning.
Unfortunately there really was not an underdog or “Cinderella” to root for at all this weekend. The Elite 8 featured all power conference teams. And, more than that, most of these schools were very used to being dominate basketball programs.
In this particular game I found myself rooting for the “away team” Buckeyes. That’s something I almost never do. But, in the face of 10,000 orange shirt wearing upstate New Yorkers, it was impossible not to in this instance.
The Luckiest Bet Of March…
Elsewhere the Kansas Jayhawks covered in their win over North Carolina to help me to continue on a tremendous March betting run on Sunday. But things didn’t come so easy on Friday night.
I teased North Carolina with the under. The under part of the bet looked like a sure thing. However, UNC struggled overall. I realized as the clock ticked down to under a minute that overtime was my only shot at the Tar Heels covered. But, then, it dawned on me that same overtime period could cost me the under portion of my teaser.
Kids, this is why teasers are sucker bets. I know that. Yet, as you can see from my March betting, I use them semi-regularly.
I got extremely lucky here.
UNC pulls away in OT to cover, and the under still hits even after the extra period. I don’t think I’ve felt that fortunate regarding the outcome of a bet in a long, long time.
Although I didn’t pick Louisville to continue their tremendous success this deep in to March, I did pick the other three Final Four teams. My bracket now sits in the 97th percentile on Yahoo! Sports and ESPN. Here are my other vitals:
- Picked 41 / 60 games correct
- Picked 11 / 16 of the Sweet 16
- Picked 5 /8 of the Elite 8
I believe this may be my best position ever this late in the tourney.