Potential Cinderellas Everywhere
Potential Cinderellas Everywhere
By the KING of Las Vegas WAYNE ALLYN ROOT
The KING OF UPSETS won Sunday with Vanderbilt outright over #1 Kentucky, and St. Bonaventure outright over Xavier. The Bonnies were the last Cinderella of the weekend, stealing the last spot in the Big Dance by winning the Atlantic 10. I told you my connections to New York basketball would pay off all month!
Now it's time to think about Cinderella's in the NCAA Tournament. I can't recall ever seeing a year like this...where SO MANY mid-major teams were given respected seeds...or who have a chance to knock off somebody with a respected seed.
Many in the nation will think of Wichita State as a Cinderella story if they go deep. But, they're favored by about five in their first game...and they've earned a solid #5 seed. I would have given them a #4 seed!
New Mexico is in the same boat. I watch the Mountain West Conference very closely since I'm based in Las Vegas. I got to see first hand this week in the MWC tournament how great New Mexico is playing. Are they a "Cinderella" team? If they win, they're possibly looking at Louisville in the round of 32, and Michigan State in the round of 16. Steve Alford's bunch will be thought of as a Cinderella pretty darned fast even if they are one of the top dozen teams in the country according to some computer ratings I respect.
Let me show you what I mean about all the possible Cinderella's. Here's a list of mid majors from spots 5-13 in the brackets...where the surprises typically come from.
5: Wichita State, New Mexico, Temple
6: Murray State, UNLV, San Diego State (Wow!)
7: Gonzaga, St. Mary's
8: Memphis, Creighton (both may be better than this)
9: Saint Louis, Southern Miss (ditto)
11: Colorado State
12: VCU, Long Beach State, Harvard (don't sleep on this group)
13: New Mexico State, Montana, Davidson, Ohio
My goodness. I should probably throw 14th seeded Belmont in there. The betting markets obviously have Belmont rated higher than many of the #12 and #13 teams you see...as the team is only +3.5 against third-seeded Georgetown!
The stage is set for not just a Cinderella season for somebody...but maybe for a true CINDERELLA DANCE PARTY with several mid major threats going deep. Maybe we won't see two mid-majors reach the Final Four, as Butler and VCU did last year. That really wouldn't shock me though. Wichita State and New Mexico in particular have been in strong form in recent weeks. Heck, VCU was an 11th seed last year. That means anything can happen.
Here are the keys to remember about the potential for a Cinderella Dance Party:
There are possible Cinderella's all over the card, not just in a few places.
Many of these teams should have received better seeds than they did in my view. I won't even start the list because it will include almost everyone. They're not just plentiful, but they're not as respected as they should be.
The brackets have many mid majors lined up against each other Thursday and Friday (particularly in the 5-12 games), which guarantees a few possible Cinderella's reaching the weekend. If Wichita State gets stunned in the first round (anything's possible), that launches VCU to further action. If New Mexico gets nervous and stumbles, Long Beach State is going to scare the heck out of the next team they face. If Murray State goes down, Colorado State moves on.
All of these teams saw what happened last year, and the last two years with Butler. That's going to provide a confidence boost to teams who will no longer enter the Dance assuming the worst. These teams now KNOW they can compete. Not all of them will impress...but some are bound to break through and do some damage.
It's the most important betting week of the year in Las Vegas (sportsbooks will be PACKED with tourists because it's both Spring Break AND the first week of the NCAA's!). And, upsets are always a big story in the Big Dance. Naturally, THE KING OF LAS VEGAS and THE KING OF UPSETS is the man you want to call for the best big money bets!
I'll be posting my plays here at the website this week a few hours before first tip. That means EARLY sessions Thursday and Friday of course. But, we won't be passing until then. I'll attack the NBA schedule Monday Night. Then, the play-in games in the Dance, and first round action in the NIT, CBI, and Insider tournaments will keep us busy Tuesday and Wednesday. The best way to get the most bang for your buck this month is to call my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946 to sign up for the rest of basketball.I'm the only handicapper whose name is featured on the Vegas "Walk of Fame." All of those tourists coming to town this week will be able to confirm that for you. It's the week you've been waiting for. Which means, it's time to sign up with WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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