Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bonding and Betting Redux

In a few minutes the madness of march will begin, at least the introduction to the madness. The NCAA has expanded the field to 68 since I wrote "...Bonding and Betting with the Boys in Las Vegas." Tonight two of the preliminary games take place with the first starting at 630 eastern time. Another game follows at about 9. This second game between Iona and BYU will be interesting. Iona has been widely criticized for its inclusion in the dance. Last year so was VCU. VCU made it to the final four. Iona could be a sleeper this year as well.

I am going back. The book is written about the 2007 tournament, but I returned in 2008 to do some fact checking (though I still missed at least one thing) and in 2009 I went out at the suggestion of the publisher to blog from the casinos. Now, after a two year absence I want to see what has changed.

The games are spread out a bit differently than before. Games will be played all day, but it is not until later in the afternoon when four games will start relatively concurrently. I wonder if the madness in the casinos that typically began as early as 7 a.m. with people racing to get seats in front of the sets, will not be the same, and the zaniness will be reserved until later in the day.

I wonder if more women will attend. When I first went to the games in 2001, it was a very rare sight to see a woman sitting among the beer inhaling crowd. In 2009, it was not as uncommon. Will the complainers be whining as much, the pontificators as certain of what cannot be certain, the cheering sections as rabid. Wisconsin plays one of the early games on Thursday. Will the Grateful Red be out in force--will a Michigan State contingent break out in the fight song (as they have in the past when I've been there) when they play their first game on Friday night.

Let me know if you have a lock. I love Alabama against Creighton, and will be surprised if St. Louis cannot play Memphis tough. For some reason I think the Jackrabbits will be able to stay close to a Baylor that may be looking past the Albuquerque games to the regionals. And I think Connecticut goes down early--and should not have been invited.

It is now 630 eastern time. Post time.

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