Monday morning. Your alarm goes off for the first time in two days, you head back to the office and spend the first few hours of the workday planning how you’ll survive until closing time on Friday. Luckily, Poker Central and Death Wish Coffee have you covered. The world’s strongest coffee gives you a “Morning Perk,” recapping the weekend sports action on Monday and then the best from across the internet on Friday.
I’ll be honest, my bracket is always busted before the first weekend of March Madness ends. With nothing to play for in the tournament’s second weekend, I’m usually just hoping for complete and utter chaos. Save for Gonzaga handling Xavier to advance to their first Final Four, chaos and madness reigned supreme, with upsets, buzzer-beaters and Cinderella stories ruling the weekend.
— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) March 25, 2017
Over the last few years, I’ve watched some amazing sporting events in casinos and poker rooms while covering events. Nothing will ever top New England winning Super Bowl XLIX at the goal line, I watched that one at Foxwoods Casino in the heart of Patriots country, but Friday night’s Florida Gators vs. Wisconsin Badgers Sweet Sixteen game was almost just as crazy. Most of ARIA’s Poker Room was paying more attention to the final few moments of the second half and overtime than the poker in front of them, including the $25K High Roller final table. Chris Chiozza’s unorthodox, running, leaning, whatever you want to call it, three-pointer that sent the Gators to the Elite Eight had everyone in the room saying, “What a shot!” and what a shot it was.
— March Madness TV (@MarchMadnessTV) March 26, 2017
Through their first three games of the NCAA Tournament, Kansas looked unstoppable. They lived up to their #1 seed billing but that all changed in their Elite Eight match up with Oregon. The Ducks were in control for most of the game and even though the Jayhawks battled back in the second half, Jordan Bell had one of the most complete games of this year’s tournament to send Oregon to their first Final Four since 1939.
Before this year, South Carolina had a total of four NCAA tournament wins in its history.
It now has four in the last 10 days. pic.twitter.com/aXb6XalbC4
— ESPN (@espn) March 26, 2017
It’s been a long, long time since Oregon has made the Final Four but two teams are making their first ever semi-final appearance this year. After finishing the regular season with just one loss, Gonzaga was expected to make it out of the West Region and they did, ending Xavier’s Cinderella season on Saturday. The other school making their Final Four debut next week, came out of nowhere. South Carolina battled through a murderer’s row East Region and will now try to keep their own Cinderella season alive in Phoenix next weekend.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 26, 2017
The first three Elite Eight games were great battles but they didn’t go down to the wire like Kentucky vs. North Carolina did. The back and forth affair between two of college basketball’s most successful programs was easily the game of the weekend. Kentucky stormed back, thanks to freshman phenome Malik Monk, tied the game on a Monk three-pointer with less than 10 seconds left but then UNC drove the length of the court and Luke Maye hit a game-winning jumper to send the Tar Heels to another Final Four.
Incredible. 70 points for Devin Booker.
SEVENTY! ?? ?? ?? pic.twitter.com/uyzrEwXmGo
— theScore (@theScore) March 25, 2017
Devin Booker is younger than some players that played in this weekend’s NCAA Tournament games but the 20-year-old is already thriving in the NBA after entering the draft after a one-and-done 2015 season at Kentucky. This weekend, Booker went off, scoring 70 points for the Phoenix Suns. Despite the tally being in a losing effort to the Boston Celtics, Booker enters rare air in terms of NBA history, as only six players have ever scored at least 70 in a game. Wilt Chamberlain, David Thompson, David Robinson, Elgin Baylor, Kobe Bryant and now Devin Booker. That’s good company.