Hello, friends. *extremely Jim Nance voice* I am Blakey Locks and I will be your guide this March. Every round I am going to traverse you through the trials and tribulations of betting your mortgage on 18-year-olds playing basketball. From Duke to Seton Hall to Gardner Webb, I will give you the knowledge necessary to conquer your bookie and feed your children. We will win together, lose together and laugh together. Let’s ride.
NCAA Tournament Record- (3-1)
(I’m posting this before the ASU game but I’m assuming I win. Will adjust if they lose.)
First Round- Thursday 3/21
Today is the day. It is going to be an absolute grind. I’m going to sprinkle in some betting tips for a day like tomorrow throughout the blog based on the time of day. As the overall goal is to go 67-0 I want to give a pick for every single game. However, due to the number of games the break down will have to be super brief so I’m just going to give my key to the game and my pick for every single game. You can tell how much I like my pick by how serious my analysis is. That being said, the ones I don’t have a great reason for usually actually win the most (S/O Bruce Hamburger). Let’s start with Betting Tip #1 and then get into the preview.
Betting Tip #1- Make sure you stock up on beer and food before the games tip. You won’t want to have to leave the house all day (if you’re at work, quit your job. Easy.)
All lines as of 8:00 PM EST 3/20 via BetOnline
12:15 PM on CBS- (10) Minnesota vs. (7) Louisville (-6) o/u 135.5
This one is simple. It’s Richard Pitino hoping to avenge the death of his father. Unfortunately, he’s probably gonna splooge down his leg 30 seconds in and get blown out by Louisville. Cards roll.
The Pick: Louisville -5
12:40 on TruTV- (14) Yale vs. (3) LSU (-7.5) o/u 156
The battle of the NCAA violators. The big story is obviously Will Wade not coaching for LSU thanks to the FBI. This is one of the super trendy underdogs of the year. Personally, I’m going the other way. I think LSU will be playing with a massive chip on their shoulder. Geaux Tigers.
Pick: LSU -7.5
1:30 PM on TNT- (12) New Mexico State vs. (5) Auburn (-5.5) o/u 145.5
Auburn just got done rolling through the entire SEX (SEC) Tournament. You see teams like that, who have talent and kind of underperform all season, then get RED HOT in their conference tournaments perform well in the big dance. I think Auburn is going to be raining and have guys who can take over the game. NMSU and 12 seeds overall get too much love. War Damn.
Pick: Auburn -5.5
2:00 PM on TBS- (13) Vermont vs. (4) Florida State (-9) o/u 134
As you can see, Vermont has a history of pulling tournament upsets. They are always competitive and March and guess what?? That means I’m finally taking a dog! Florida State is a good team and I think they can go a long way in the tournament actually, but the Catamounts will keep it close and give the Noles a scare. Mount em up.
Pick: Vermont +9
Betting Tip #2- Take a deep breath. It’s just after 2 o’clock and your first two bets of the day are coming down to the wire. Win or lose, you’ll be okay. It’s going to be a longgg day. Stay sharp, keep your units level, and eat some buffalo chicken dip. Hell, maybe order a pizza for a late afternoon snack. Keep the faith. This is March.
2:45 PM on CBS- (15) Bradley vs. (2) Michigan State (-19) o/u 134
I’m not gonna lie, I hate this game and I hate betting these monster first round spreads in either direction. But we’re not here to skip games, we’re here to go 67-0. Sparty has made me a lot of money this year and they got bounced early last year so I think they’ll be hungry. Also, another team coming in hot off a conference tournament victory. Sparty On, Garth.
Pick: MSU -19
3:10 PM on TruTV- (11) Belmont vs. (6) Maryland (-3) o/u 147
First Four teams have won another game every year since its inception in 2011. S/O UMBC but I don’t think it’ll be one of the 16 seeds which means it’ll either be Belmont or the ASU/Johnnies winner. I like Belmont better either way. They were the one team people had a gripe with being in the tournament and those teams always seem to perform. Maryland has played like absolute dog shit away from home all year and has had a dreadful last couple weeks of the season. This is another trendy dog, but I love this one.
The Pick: Belmont +3
4:00 PM on TNT- (13) Northeastern vs. (4) Kansas (-6) o/u 143.5
LET’S FUCKING GO! If these guys don’t you get juiced up then you hate basketball. These three Casper the Friendly Ghost looking motherfuckers are going to decimate this feeble Kansas squad. Kansas hasn’t been great in the tournament the last decade and this team is clearly the worst they’ve had since they lost the BIG 12 for the first time in a century. Also, teams with Huskies as their mascot are great in March.
The Pick: Northeastern +6
4:30 PM on TBS- (12) Murray State vs. (5) Marquette (-3.5) o/u 150
This is the hardest game to pick all day for me. Marquette has been a good team all year but never got to that level of “great team” for me. Meanwhile, Murray State has Ja Morant who will either be the second or third pick in the NBA Draft this year. Marquette’s Markus Howard is also a projected lottery pick and either could take over the game at any point. It’s going to be a battle and could be the most fun game of the day. I’m gonna roll with the Racers and hope Ja goes down with the Steph Currys, Gordon Haywards, and CJ McCollums of the world- high-level NBA talent guys who can lead a mid-major to wins in March. Race On.
The Pick: Murray State +3.5
Betting Tip #3: Pick and choose the dogs you bet the ML on. There’s not enough value on the Murray State line to take the ML as well. Take the 3.5 points in what will be a super tight game that could come down to the last shot. But at the end of the day you’re gonna get drunk and bet monster MLs anyways. So will I. This is March.
6:50 PM on TNT (10) Florida vs. (7) Nevada (-2) o/u 133.5
This is another really tough one to pick. Nevada was a semi-Cinderella last year with the Martin twins but has played uninspired all season. They were a pre-season Final Four pick for a lot of people but ended up with a 7-seed because of their weak regular season performance. Meanwhile, Florida’s young squad has gotten better all year and the Gators seem to always perform in March. Chomp Chomp.
The Pick: Florida +2
7:10 PM on CBS- (15) Abilene Christian vs. (2) Kentucky (-22) o/u 132.5
This one is going to be a grind down the stretch. PJ Washington should play which is huge for the Cayts. Kentucky is going to roll this made up school no problem. But if scrubs get in the game late could they blow the 22 point cover? I say no. After all, the expression is Cats by 90, not Cats by 20. However, this could come down to Brad Calipari’s fit for the game.
The Pick: Kentucky -22
7:20 on TBS- (11) St. Mary’s vs. (6) Villanova (-4.5) o/u 130.5
One of my favorite Rothstein tweets. However, I’m all over St. Mary’s. They’re one of my favorite picks of the day and I have them advancing in my bracket. Villanova could literally make a Final Four because Jay Wright is such an animal, and if they do, so be it. But coming off their upset over Gonzaga I think St. Mary’s is feeling feisty and poised for another upset. Go Gaels.
The Pick: St. Mary’s +4.5
7:27 on TruTV- (16) Fairleigh-Dickinson University vs. (1) Gonzaga (-27.5) o/u 152.5
I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for FDU being my first winner of the tournament this year. They saved me from what looked like a MISERABLE start to the tourney to a terrific comeback win. But I’m rolling with the Zags here. They have a lot of experience playing against super shitty teams and cover a lot of monster spreads during the year. Unlike some of these Power 5 teams, they know how to not play down to their competition.
The Pick: Gonzaga -27.5
Betting Tip #4- There are more games starting then your brain can handle. I have no tips. You’ve probably lost a lot of money. You’re probably pretty drunk. You’re probably having a panic attack. Embrace it. This is March.
9:20 on TNT- (15) Montana vs. (2) Michigan (-14.5) o/u 130
The Griz are a great group of kids and Rico Bosco’s team of destiny this year. As we all know he helped Scituate High School, UAB Football, and the New England Patriots win championships this year. If he is on the Griz then I have no choice.
The Pick: Montana +14.5
9:40 on CBS- (10) Seton Hall vs. (7) Wofford (-2.5) o/u 144.5
The Terriers have been a darling all season. They have spent some time in the Top 25 from the SoCon and I personally love this team. A lot of people are on Seton Hall in this game but I think the Big East sucks ass this year. They might as well be the SoCon. Wofford is a very very good basketball team and could go toe to toe with Kentucky in the next round.
The Pick: Wofford -2.5
9:50 PM on TBS- (14) Old Dominion vs. (3) Purdue (-12.5) o/u 126
Fun Fact: I played against Xavier Green in high school and my team whooped his team’s ass (Go Trojans). Therefore, I cannot back him in the NCAA Tournament. Purdue is always silently in the Sweet 16. Don’t fact check me but I just feel like that’s true. This is based on no facts. Just personal bias.
Blakey Locks High School Rivalry Pick of the Day: Purdue -12.5
9:57 PM on TruTV- (9) Baylor vs. (8) Syracuse (-1.5) o/u 130.5
So the big news is that Frank Howard is out for Syracuse. Apparently, this is scaring some people away from Syracuse in this game. I don’t get it. Boeheim in March is automatic, despite any
murder adversity he faced this year. Baylor is the king of being just good enough to get a 9-seed and then losing in the tournament. This is a nice easy pick to end the night. Go Orange.
The Pick: Syracuse -1.5
Betting Tip #5- It was a massive first day. No matter what happened, we have a ton of basketball ahead of us and it is going to be fucking awesome. Enjoy the wins, cry about the losses, bet too much money, drink too much alcohol, eat too much food, and most of all treasure every second of March we have. This is March.