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Las Vegas Expert Picks.

Vegas veteran Benjamin Eckstein, author of America’s Line, brings three decades of experience to make weekly picks in his “Ecks & Bacon” column.

LAS VEGAS — Might have told this story, so stop me if you’ve heard it. A few years ago, got to go to a Duke game at Cameron Indoor with a great friend and amazing hoop guy, a Hall of Famer, Howard Garfinkel. Garf was tight with Coach K and we not only sat behind the bench, but went into K’s office after the game to watch tape with the coach and all his assistants for like TWO HOURS!

Aside from meeting my idol, Mickey Mantle, that was the BEST thing that ever happened to me in the world of sports. The reason that I recap this story is my BIAS toward Coach K and Duke. Yeah, the Blue Devils are my pick to knock off Texas Tech and advance to the Elite Eight, but I would understand if you’re not on the same page.

March Madness Pick

Got Gonzaga going all the way to the national championship game, but at +9.5 or +10 (at Treasure Island here in Vegas), gotta try Arkansas and Eric Musselman for the cover. Musselman didn’t have much success in the NBA with Golden State or Sacramento, but MAN, he is killing it in the college ranks.

He was 110-34 at Nevada and owns a 72-27 record at Arkansas. That’s 182-61 (.749) and that’s a guy that can coach ’em up. The Razorbacks were in the Elite Eight last year, losing to eventual champ Baylor 81-72. So they ain’t gonna be afraid of the Sweet 16 stage. Despite an 0-3 spread run coming in, Arkansas has covered 14 of the last 19 with one PUSH. That’s MONEY!

The Bulldogs from Spokane have NOT been money, covering only two of the last 10. Not gonna call for the upset, or recommend betting the moneyline, but at PLUS TEN, gotta start yelling SOOIE PIG!!!

Just in case you were not familiar, a chant of “Wooo Pig Sooie” is known worldwide as a Hog Call. A properly executed Hog Call is comprised of three calls, slowly raising one’s arms from the knees to above the head during the “Wooo.” Traditionalists prescribe an eight-second “Wooo.”

The fingers should be wiggled and the “Wooo” should build in volume and pitch as the arms rise. Upon completion of the “Wooo,” both arms are brought straight down with fists clinched as if executing a chin-up while yelling, “Pig.” The right arm is extended up and out with the “Sooie.”

A full Hog Call requires two more Hog Calls, followed immediately by a “Razor-Backs” yell, coordinated with a pumping motion of the right arm after the third “Sooie.” So, in order, the full Hog Call is:

Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Razorbacks!

You’re welcome!


Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America’s Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at www.americasline.com. He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his Email...ben@americasline.com.