Sunday, March 15, 2009


I entitled one section of The Madness of March, "You Got a Lock?" because that was an inquiry presented to me in 2007 from a fan turned bettor--a stranger--in a sports book.

A good thing to remember in Las Vegas is that there are few locks.

Last Sunday evening after the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, I was seated at the Marriott bar and found myself conversing with a fellow who knew nothing about college basketball. The Marriott was the headquarters for the tournament and in several spots around the lobby there were signs that read, Welcome CAA. This fellow wanted to know what the CAA was. I explained. He had never heard of the CAA and had only a passing acquaintance with the NCAA tournament.

We talked some more and he told me he was a banker. We began talking about the market. I asked what his thoughts were about a light at the end of the tunnel. He gave me what insights he had. In the course of his description he told me, without my solicitation, of several specific stocks that would do well this past week because of his sense that they were undervalued. Also he believed that there would be some movement in Washington last week that would spark the market.

As I considered our discussion subsequently, I saw no difference between what he was saying about stock x and stock y, and what march madness bettors will be saying about team x and team y, this week.

There was another similarity between his tips and those I have heard before by pundits attempting to predict the unpredictable. Last week half of my banker friends predictions were correct and half were incorrect.

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