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The Lo-Down: Do not bet on March Madness

Since May 2018, when the United States Supreme Court shut down the Amateur Sports Protection Act, 38 states have legalized sports betting and now two-thirds of the American population lives in a legal betting market. Gambling has become so normalized that in August 2023, it was reported Americans have lost a combined $245 billion since the Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed – a number that has surely risen since it was reported.

With that said, refraining from sports betting should be a no-brainer. The average person is bound to lose money through sheer luck, and while most betting platforms offer “free money” to get you started, it is not as if experience is going to increase your odds. It will only get you more and more hooked on a dangerous habit.

Especially in the case of March Madness, putting money into a gambling website or app can be tempting because of the sheer number of games. In reality, all that guarantees is more opportunities to throw money down the drain, giving yourself a bigger hole to climb out of. It is referred to as “madness” for a reason and attaching money to something as historically unpredictable as the 64-team tournament seems to lack logic.

There are many alternatives to gambling on March Madness as well. Filling out a bracket for free can be rewarding, regardless of whether money is tied to your picks or not.

However, I know that my opinion on this likely will not affect you much. If you have read this far, and are not convinced, I doubt anything else said will change your mind. So, regardless of whether you plan to bet on these games or just want guidance filling out a bracket, below are upset picks for each region I like for this year’s first round.

East: Drake (10) over Washington State (7)

Drake features a father-son coach and player duo in head coach Darian DeVries and star guard Tucker DeVries. The player half of that duo is averaging 23.0 points per game since March began and could lead a red-hot Drake team past the first round in a very strong East region.

West: New Mexico (11) over Clemson (6)

Clemson had its season come to a bitter end against Boston College in the first round of the ACC tournament, where it lost by 21. While the Tigers have a rather talented roster and finished their season with a respectable 21-11 record, they are not favored in this matchup by advanced metrics like KenPom by any degree. New Mexico possesses one of the nation’s best guard trios in Donovan Dent, Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr. as well.

South: James Madison (12) over Wisconsin (5)

James Madison might be the best story in collegiate athletics. The Dukes’ football team made their first bowl game in program history, while their basketball team went 30-3, making them one of four teams to hit the 30-win mark this season. Wisconsin is an extremely tough team, having beaten one-seeded Purdue in the Big Ten tournament. If everything goes right, James Madison could continue their story deep into March.

Midwest: Samford (13) over Kansas (4)

Kansas has featured two players boasting All-American resumes all season in Kevin McCullar Jr. and Hunter Dickerson but currently it is looking as though neither will be available for the team’s first-round matchup, and potentially deeper into the tournament should Kansas win. On the other hand, Samford possesses a dangerous offense, which ranked fifth in the country in points per game, presenting a potential problem for Kansas should it fail to score without its stars.

Logan Adams is a sophomore studying journalism. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Logan know by tweeting him @LoganA_NBA.

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