Published Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Updated Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 9:31 p.m.
When the NCAA Tournament tips off Thursday morning, sports books and casino ballrooms across the Las Vegas Valley will be packed with patrons taking part in the madness.
Las Vegas, after all, is the best place in the world during this week of the year.
You know, folks either call in "sick" to spend the day in college basketball heaven or plan vacations to Las Vegas this week to spend four days watching — and wagering — on the games.
Will a No. 16 seed finally take down a top seed? Will your alma mater make a memorable run? Who will be this year’s Cinderella team?
And, most important in Las Vegas: How does my parlay look?
Whether you're in a bracket pool at your office or hoping to cash a three-team parlay, we will keep you updated all day once scores become final. Of course, we’ll include which teams covered the point spread. All betting numbers were taken Wednesday night from the LVH.
Good luck to all.
(12) Cal vs. (5) UNLV
4:27 p.m., East Region
LINE: UNLV -3; Total 131
Hometown UNLV opened as a 2.5 favorite against Cal and the number was bet up to 3. However, the Rebels lost the game straight up in failing to cover, having their season end with a 64-61 loss to the Golden Bears. The game stayed under the total.•••
(14) Valparaiso vs (3) Michigan State
9:15 a.m., Midwest Region
LINE: Michigan State 10.5-; Total 126
Michigan State wins 65-54 to cover spread by a half point — the line closed with Michigan State laying 11 points at several Las Vegas sports books, meaning certain bettors got their money back. The total goes under by five points•••
(11) Bucknell vs. (6) Butler
9:40 a.m., East Region
LINE: Butler -3.5, Total 122
Butler finishes strong for a 68-56 win to cover the spread. The total goes over by two points thanks to some late free throws with Bucknell trying to extend the game•••
(8) Wichita State vs. (9) Pittsburgh
10:40 a.m., West Region
LINE: Pittsburgh -4, Total 119
Wichita State, a four-point underdog, wins outright, 73-55. The total goes over the total in the final minutes.•••
(13) New Mexico State vs. (4) Saint Louis
11 a.m., Midwest Region
LINE: Saint Louis 9.5-; Total 122
Fourth-seeded Saint Louis wins and covers the big number against New Mexico State, 64-44. The total comfortably stays under.•••
(11) St. Mary's vs. (6) Memphis
11:45, Midwest Region
LINE: Memphis -1; Total 138
Memphis, a small favorite, covered despite trying to give the game away late. St. Mary’s missed a potential game-winner — and game-covering — 3-pointer at the buzzer, losing 54-52. The total stayed under by more than 30 points.•••
(14) Davidson vs. (3) Marquette
12:10 p.m., East Region
LINE: Marquette -3, Total 133
Davidson squandered a late lead in losing to Marquette by one point, 59-58. While it won’t be comforting to the players, they were winners at the sports books in covering as a three-point underdog. The total stayed under.
(16) Southern vs. (1) Gonzaga
1:10 p.m., West Region
LINE: Gonzaga -22, Total 126.5
A No. 16 seeded team still hasn’t beaten a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but Southern nearly became the first team to do so. Gonzaga survived for a 64-58 win in a game tied less than three minutes to play. Southern, a double-digit underdog, easily covered. And the game barely stayed under the total. In case you were wondering, Southern was +3500 on the money line at William Hill ($1 wagered paid $35).•••
(12) Oregon vs. (5) Oklahoma State
1:40 p.m., Midwest Region
LINE: Oklahoma State -2.5; Total 134
Oregon, a small underdog and a No. 12 seed, wins straight up against Oklahoma State, 68-55. The game stayed under the total.•••
(16) North Carolina A&T vs. (1) Louisville
3:50 p.m., Midwest Regon
LINE: Louisville -26; Total 123.5
Top-seeded Louisville rolled to an opening game victory and also covered a big spread with a 79-48 victory against North Carolina A&T. The total went over in the final minute.
(13) South Dakota State vs. (4) Michigan
4:15 p.m., South Region
LINE: Michigan -11, Total 139.5
Double-digit favorite Michigan covered the spread in advancing to the round of 32 with a 71-56 victory against South Dakota State. The game stayed under•••
(11) Belmont vs. (6) Arizona
4:20 p.m., West Region
LINE: Arizona -4.5, Total 140
Arizona was the third straight favorite to cover the spread in the late games, beating Belmont 81-64. The game went over the point total.•••
(12) Akron vs (5) VCU
6:45 p.m., South Region
LINE: VCU -7.5; Total 134.5
VCU’s 88-42 victory against Akron was the most lopsided cover margin of the day. VCU covered by about 38 points in advancing to face Michigan in the third round. The total barely stayed under•••
(9) Missouri vs (8) Colorado State
6:25 p.m., Midwest Region
LINE: Missouri -2.5; Total 144.5
A Mountain West team won — and covered — for the first time in the tournament when No. 8 seed Colorado State beat Missouri 84-72 in a Midwest Region game. The game was the highest scoring of the day in going over the point total•••
(14) Harvard vs. (3) New Mexico
6:50 p.m., West Region
LINE: New Mexico -11, Total 125.5
The biggest upset of Thursday is downright shocking. Mountain West champion and No. 3 seed New Mexico trailed for virtually the entire game in falling to Harvard of the Ivy League, 68-62. New Mexico was double-digit betting favorite, but didn’t live up to the hype. Don’t you love March? The game went over the point spread.•••
(13) Montana vs. (4) Syracuse
6:57 p.m., East Region
LINE: Syracuse -12.5, Total 127
The last game of the day produced little suspense. Syracuse dominated from the opening tip in an 81-34 victory against Montana to comfortably cover. Great effort by the Orange. The game stayed under the total.