Underdogs were active during Thursday’s Round of 64 games with 10 such teams covering the spread. In fact, at one point late Thursday afternoon, underdogs had either already covered or were covering in every game. Still, despite so many favorites struggling against the number, 12 of 16 higher seeds managed to survive and advance, setting up an intriguing Saturday set of games. If you’re anything like me, filling out a bracket and joining a pool is fun, but loading up on individual games is my favorite way to do March Madness betting. So, let’s look at second round odds at New Jersey sportsbooks and run through some need-to-know information before locking in your picks.
The doors opened early at Sixers practice today, before most of the media could assemble.
Jimmy Butler, first in line to speak, did his Friday availability in front of just two cameras and half a dozen reporters. As with most things Butler, the conversation was candid and off the cuff, and you never know what you’re going to get from him on a given day.
Here’s a transcript of the more interesting stuff, after the jump:
Sports Betting Updates
Three months ago my boss came to me and told me I would be covering a conference beginning on March 21. I’m sure I blankly looked at up her with my dead, beady eyes and agreed to it. It was three months away. Who cares about something that’s going to happen in three months.
Two weeks ago my wife asked me if I had put any thought into a March Madness bracket.
Oh shit. Does that start on the third week of March or the fourth? THE THIRD WEEK OR THE FOURTH?!
Of fucking course. March 21. First day of the tournament. Basketball, alcohol, legalized gambling….. CONFERENCE?!
That dog won’t hunt.
So here I am, in some God forsaken state, in a God forsaken convention hall, listening to much more successful men and women talk about their accomplishments that I couldn’t begin to understand. But am I a quitter? Am I just going to sit here and let the greatest four days of the year slip through my fingers?
Am I not going to watch any of the first two rounds of the March Madness tournament? Of course not. I’m no communist.
I decided to keep a running diary of my trials and travails of the first day of the tournament and my desperate attempts to stay connected on one of the greatest sports days of the year.
And yes, I’m well aware this is a complete ripoff of a Bill Simmons creation, but I’m sure he never did one for the first day of the tournament (don’t Google that please).
Ahh, the Flyers. Yes, they’re still playing. Yes, they’re still technically still in a playoff race, sitting five points out of the final spot with eight games to go.
Yes, I know it’s easy for them to get lost in the shuffle these days. There’s so much going on around the Philadelphia sports world that it’s easy to forget about the hockey team.
While you were caught up in betting on the NCAA tournament and watching Villanova survive and advance against St. Mary’s, or lamenting the botched firing of Phil Martelli by St. Joe’s, or were celebrating Bryce Harper’s two-homer game in Spring Training, or were still basking in the glow of the Sixers big win over Boston or were caught nodding in approval of the Eagles bringing back Vinny Curry, the Flyers were in Chicago in yet another do or die game Thursday.
And like Villanova, they survived… and advanced another day while still technically in the race with a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. And they did it behind the work of three players who continue to be superb when they play – Carter Hart, James van Riemsdyk and Sean Couturier.
So, while hockey is just a blip on your sports radar at the moment, I figured I’ll just give you a quick taste on those three as it’s no doubt that they’ve been the three players who have had the biggest impact in keeping the Flyers afloat this long.
I’m in the camp of people who feel this way about Phil Martelli:
“Phil, much respect to you. We appreciate everything you’ve done here in 30+ years. It’s time for new blood and it’s time to move in a different direction.”
Is that off-base? The days of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West are long gone, 15 years gone, to be exact. St. Joe’s has won a single NCAA tournament game since, while failing to claim a regular season Atlantic 10 title. For all of the great things Martelli did in building the Hawks’ basketball program, the results on the floor were not what they should have been over the past decade.
That’s my take as a neutral, as someone who didn’t go a Big Five school but enjoyed watching SJU hit the Elite Eight back in the day. Phil was always very good to us at CBS 3 and seemed like a straight-up and honest dude, a real down to Earth type of person. New Athletic Director Jill Bodensteiner, who took over after 350 years of Don DiJulia, could have and should have done a much better job transitioning from Martelli to whoever is the next head men’s basketball coach.
Phil went on 94 WIP with Angelo Cataldi this morning to talk about his firing, and said the following, after the jump:
You may have seen this story elsewhere, earlier this week.
Crossing Broad did not run it, because we wanted to gather the facts and go through the journalistic process. For us, it’s more important to be correct, than to be first.
After the Flyers’ 3-1 home loss to Montreal on Tuesday night, Radko Gudas spoke to reporters in your typical locker room scrum. Visible on camera was some guy standing behind NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Taryn Hatcher, who gave her a somewhat weird look, resulting in this:
— Jordie 🔵 (@BarstoolJordie) March 20, 2019
Here’s another clip of the alleged creeper, after the jump:
Survive and advance.
Villanova hasn’t been the team we knew when they won their two national titles. But against an upstart Saint Mary’s team, they came out strong in the second half on a 12-3 run en route to a 61-57 win over the Gaels. The Wildcats trailed by two at halftime.
Phil Booth led the way with 20 points and six assists, while Eric Paschall had 14 points and six rebounds.
It might have been good that Nova trailed by two at the half. Barely anyone was there.
This was the sight at tip off of the Villanova St. Mary’s game. Security didn’t start letting people in until 12 minutes before game time at XL Center in Hartford, CT. Great scheduling by the NCAA @BarstoolNova @novainsider1985 @BarstoolReags #NovaNation pic.twitter.com/Szue1VkDCx
— whiteboyboogi (@ilove2millyrock) March 22, 2019
The afternoon session didn’t end until after 7. Security opened the doors for people around 7:30 for a 7:45ish tip.
Up next for the ‘Cats is a much tougher opponent in #3 seed Purdue Saturday night at 8:40 PM on TNT. The Boilermakers crushed Old Dominion 61-48.
As for another Philly school, who could be the next head coach of the Hawks?
The Roundup: Continue Reading
There’s a troll in the comments section who hates whenever we share Bryce Harper highlights. He thinks we have a hard-on for Harper.
This one is for him:
We're not sure this one has landed yet.
BRYCE HARPER TWO HOMER GAME pic.twitter.com/XfWsqmY6GB
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 21, 2019
That’s two home runs in one game for Bryce. The Phils hit six dingers in a 13-6 win this afternoon, which included a pair of three-run shots from Andrew Knapp and J.T. Realmuto in the 4th inning.
We’re one week away from the Phils’ home opener and the boys are looking good.
Let’s play ball!