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Las Vegas Expert Picks: NCAAB Elite Eight Saturday

Xavier Sneed Kansas State Wildcats NCAA Basketball March Madness Elite Eight

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 — So, I’m sitting at a Starbucks here in Vegas, putting together some odds for the upcoming MLB season for the Ecks & Bacon nation, and this guy with a hoodie sits down a few seats away. Starts talking to another guy, also with a hoodie, and tells him that he’s THRILLED he ONLY got three years’ PROBATION. The other hoodie asks what for? The first hoodie says, ROBBERY!!! My question to you all is, would you have stayed, or packed up and left? And I will await your answers via email at ben@americasline.com. Will promise to tell what I did in the next column.

Ready to hoop. Had Nevada -1 over Loyola-Chicago on Thursday night, and got played. Sister Jean 1, Ecks & Bacon 0. Went against the Sister and obviously her prayers were too powerful as her Loyola Ramblers hit a triple with six seconds left to squeeze out a 69-68 W over Nevada. Fortunately, we had Kansas State over Kentucky in the late game, as well as a gorgeous two-team 6-point teaser, with Nevada +5 and K-State +11.5. 

Saturday Elite Eight Picks

Guess what, Sister, Eck is comin’ at you again, and dropping K-State into my portfolio. What else do you want from the Wildcats? I mean, they took on Cinderella UMBC and sent the Retrievers back to Baltimore. Then they stepped in against a blue blood, Kentucky, and shipped Coach Cal and his crew back to Lexington. PLZ take a look at Bruce Weber’s kids, who live in the Big 12, THE best conference in the country, and the level of their competition. Their last six losses down the stretch came against Kansas (twice), West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and TCU. What do those teams have in common? All of ’em made it to the Big Dance! Now, look at the Ramblers, who play in the Missouri Valley Conference and fight teams like Northern Iowa, Valpo, Indiana State, Evansville and Drake. What do those teams have in common? NONE OF ’EM made it to the Dance. You get my drift. 

In the West Regional, I’m thinking about Florida State over Michigan, but would need to see at least a +5 with the Seminoles. Respect what Michigan has done, and love coach John Beilein, but after watching the ’Noles take apart a No. 1 seed, Xavier, and a No. 4, Gonzaga, this dog should be barking all the way to the bank.

And PLZ hit me on Twitter over the weekend, @vegasvigorsih, ’cause ya never know when we’ll find a gem on the college hoop board.

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.