LAS VEGAS – The NCAA Tournament is heading to the Final Four this weekend, and so are the contestants at the top of the leaderboard in the VSiN Beat the Spread Challenge.
That’s the contest that was open only to Point Spread Weekly annual subscribers and involves picking every game of the tournament against the spread with first prize being $5,000 plus 2 nights at the South Point and a guest appearance with Brent Musburger on his VSiN show, “My Guys in the Desert.”
Randy Raynolds is the leader with 43 points (based on 1 point per win through the first three rounds and two points per win in the fourth round, aka the Elite 8, this past Saturday and Sunday), but it’s a precarious lead with Troy777 and tweedyimpertinence tied for second with 42 points, followed by Tommy Brackets and Pat Webb at 41 points and TheIdahoKid, KKBASKETBALL and Swicat @swicatsides at 40 points. Saturday’s Final Four games are worth 4 points apiece with Monday night’s title game worth 8. There are 39 contestants within 8 points of the lead, including one that a lot of people who have followed my Vegas contest coverage over the years will recognize: Fezzik, the only two-time winner of the SuperContest, who is just 5 points behind the leader.
Even if Raynolds is caught, he’s already a winner. VSiN also offered a $250 prize to the contestant scoring the most points in rounds 1, 2 and 3, with Raynolds compiling the most points in the second round. David Randle was the early leader out of the gate with the most points in round 1 while CD777 had the most in round 3, so congrats to those prize winners.
We’ll find out the overall winner next Monday night and hopefully secure an interview before their appearance with Musburger.
Hoops Madness Challenge at Westgate
The Westgate, home of the famous SuperContest, held its inaugural Hoops Madness Challenge and drew 160 entrants at $100 per entry with a mix of locals and tourists as it only included the first round of the NCAA Tournament (specifically the 28 games on the first two days of the main part of the tournament, March 15-16, so not including the First Four games or the games involving those winners on that Thursday and Friday).
The contest paid the top three finishers based on a 50/30/20 scale and three contestants ended up tying for first place with records of 20-8 (71.4%): Pramod Vangeti of Parker, Colorado; Derek Ronnebaum of Las Vegas; and Brandon Medeiros, also of Las Vegas. The tiebreaker was picking the total points scored in the Florida St.-Missouri game. FSU won 67-54 for 121 points and Vangeti has the lowest number at 135 to win the $8,000 first-place prize. Ronnebaum collected $4,800 for second with Medeiros getting $3,200 for third.
Extra Westgate note: The SuperBook is hosting another new offering which sets a record for longest contest title, the Westgate SuperBook Baseball Season Wins Challenge. You pick the over/under for all 30 MLB teams, so this lasts the entire baseball season. The entry fee is $200 with a limit of 3 entries per person and the deadline, with all teams having Opening Day on Thursday, is 10 p.m. PT on Wednesday, March 28. For those in town and looking to enter, don’t wait until the last minute as we saw several people who got shut out of the Hoops Madness Challenge when that closed the night before the tournament started.
Last Man Standing at Station Casinos
Last but not least (certainly not in my mind), is the Last Man Standing, which cost $25 to enter (buy 4, get 1 free) at the ubiquitous locals casinos here in Vegas. Contestants make 1 ATS pick each day of the NCAA Tournament (meaning that its mainly for locals unless someone is able to come to Vegas all three weeks), one loss and you’re out.
There was a $50,000 guaranteed, but Stations exceeded that with 2,525 entries for a final prize pool of $51,350 (note: before anyone comments below or on Twitter, etc. about how 2,525 times 25 equals more than that, don’t forget about the free entries).
Entering Sunday’s games, there were only 6 contestants remaining, including yours truly Dave Tuley. As I explained Monday on “The Edge” with Matt Youmans and Jonathan Von Tobel and “My Guys in the Desert” with Musburger & Co., I won with Kansas plus-2.5 and was still waiting to hear how many of the other players also survived. With Duke being -2.5 on the contest (when the Blue Devils were -3 and bet up to -3.5 during the day), I was hoping the rest of my competitors were lured into taking that or Texas Tech plus-6.5.
As it turned out, 3 of my competitors avoided that landmine as there are four contestants remaining, so we have a Final Four heading to the Final Four round on Saturday and then the title game on Monday, if necessary. If there's more than one contestant standing after Monday night (or if all remaining contestants are eliminated on the same day), the first tiebreaker is each person's "national champion" pick on the official entry form. The team on my alive entry is Villanova (North Carolina and Kentucky were on my other entries), so I'm also hoping Nova wins it all or my competitors used a team that didn't get to the Final Four. If still tied, the prize pool is split equally.