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July 23, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: Stephen F. Austin vs. UCLA

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Denis Poroy / AP

Stephen F. Austin players run onto the court as they beat Virginia Commonwealth 77-75 in overtime in a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Friday, March 21, 2014, in San Diego.

Here’s the latest installment of the Play of the Day, using odds from the South Point.

Our three sports writers started with a $10,000 bankroll — fictional, of course.

Stephen F. Austin plus-9 against UCLA in the NCAA Tournament Third Round: $440 to win $400. I’m not one of those rooting for underdog Stephen F. Austin to pull off the upset. While I love a good story, I hate pulling for the Cinderella in March Madness.

Sorry, Desmond Haymon — your March run will end, but not before cashing one last ticket in Las Vegas for sports bettors.

It’s awesome when a no-name school from a one-bid league wins one tournament game. Two wins is pushing it, however. I’d rather watch the powerhouse program with blue-chip recruits and future NBA first-round picks.

With that said, Stephen F. Austin is better than your average run-of-the-mill NCAA Tournament darling. The Lumberjacks (32-3) haven’t lost since November and have talented players at multiple positions. They’ll give UCLA fits from start to finish.

They are eighth in the nation with 16.6 assists per game and 45th nationally with 76.5 points per game, meaning they’ll be able to score with UCLA to cover the inflated betting line. Haymon and Jacob Parker each average 14.4 points per game, giving the Lumberjacks a dangerous scoring punch.

UCLA’s talent and depth off the bench will eventually prevail, but Stephen F. Austin will keep it close long enough to cover. Then, they’ll head back to Nacogdoches, Texas, as heroes for a remarkable 30-plus-win season.

Standings: Bern (16-11, $10,890), Keefer (12-12, $9,297), Brewer (8-13-3, $6,450)

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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