By the KING of Las Vegas WAYNE ALLYN ROOT
Four college basketball conferences will determine their champions TONIGHT in what is annually one of my favorite nights of tournament action. Sure, the major conferences haven't started yet. But, you're going to see an amazing level of intensity this evening because automatic bids to the Big Dance are on the line in three of the games (in the fourth, both teams are already locks).
How often will we see that later in the week? In my view, some of the excitement is lost from those major conference finals because both teams are usually already assured of an invitation. Some coaches hold back so nobody gets injured. That's not going to happen tonight.
Here's the schedule:
VCU (-3) vs. Drexel
If I were in charge of the NCAA Tournament, both of these teams would get in. But, that's far from clear right now. The winner gets an automatic bid. The loser is on the bubble with a lot of other teams from bigger conferences who will have a chance to impress later this week. It's going to be a very tight call as to whether or not two teams go from the Colonial. Given that backdrop, and the high level of play we've seen from these teams of late (VCU just CRUSHED George Mason, while Drexel is the top seed), tonight's game could be something special.
WEST COAST CHAMPIONSHP
Gonzaga (-2.5) vs. St. Mary's
Here's another game where the #2 seed is a small favorite over the #1 seed. Note that this is being played at the Orleans Arena here in Las Vegas. I've been monitoring the whole tourney very closely because it's being played on my porch! Gonzaga sure impressed locals with their rout of BYU in the semifinals. But, that's why they're the betting favorites. I've told you all year that I know these Western conferences like the back of my hand. I already have may strategies mapped out for tonight, and for these teams (and BYU) in the Big Dance.
Fairfield (-2) vs. Loyola-Maryland
A surprising meeting here, as top seeded Iona was upset by Fairfield in the semifinals. Loyola is the unheralded #2 seed who stayed off the radar much of the season. One of these teams is going to jump on the radar in a very big way after tonight. Oh, this is now three straight games where the inferior seed is the favorite! I will be scouting this game because of Cinderella possibilities down the road. I'm hoping Iona gets an at-large bid because they'd enter the Dance with a chip on their shoulder.
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
Davidson (-12) vs. Western Carolina
Where did Western Carolina come from? They took advantage of being in the softer half of the Southern brackets. They scored an upset win over Wofford, and also took out the Citadel and NC Greensboro as favorites. Oddsmakers aren't giving them much of a chance to compete with Davidson. Just remember that Illinois State was +12 in their game against Wichita State! Big dogs have nothing to lose. Heavily favored top seeds sometimes choke in the spotlight (as Middle Tennessee did in the Sun Belt).
I can't post official selections here in my web articles as you know. My Monday card is available right now here at the website. Have your credit card handy. Or, take this opportunity to call the office and sign up for the rest of basketball. It's only going to get BUSIER this week! Take full advantage now of a free afternoon to lock everything into place. The number to call is 1-877-766-8946.
March is the most important betting month of the year in Vegas because the basketball thrills are spread out DAILY. Vegas is hosting THREE events this week...tonight's West Coast Finals, the WAC tourney that will be held at the Orleans starting Thursday, and the Mountain West tourney that will be held at the Thomas and Mack Center that same day.
I'm going to be all over those events, as well as the five-day Big East tournament held in my old stomping grounds at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Shouldn't you be on board right now with THE KING OF LAS VEGAS who was born in New York as a true S.O.B (son of a butcher!)! It's absolutely, positively time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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