Team USA gets by Tunisia

Team USA

Disappointing wouldn’t be the exact word to describe Team USA’s first half against and over-matched Tunisia team. Pathetic or embarrassing would be more like it. Thankfully Team USA’s second unit, led by Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love, helped them cruise to an easy victory in the end.

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Watch the Lingerie Football Playoffs this Weekend Instead of the Pro Bowl!

For years, the NFL has had a bye week between the Conference Championship and the Super Bowl. That is a lot of time to wait for another meaningful football game. A few years ago, the NFL decided to move up the Pro Bowl to the bye week to satiate the football-lovers appetite. But does the Pro Bowl really satiate?

No.

But fear not my football adoring friends. There is a solution.

Read about it after the jump

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Dennis Erickson leaves Arizona State Disgraced, ASU Destroyed by Boise

 

Boise State University entered the Maaco Bowl against the Arizona State Sun Devils as the number seven team in the BCS rankings. Yet, they were left out of a BCS game once again this season after suffering an earlier loss to the TCU Horned Frogs.

Don’t worry; this is not another column about how flawed the system is. I will not lobby here for a playoff. I will outline why bowl coaches should never come into the contest in a lame duck situation. I understand why this takes place. It is impossible for a team to hire a coach after the regular season and have him take over with his entire staff prior to the postseason.

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Indianapolis 500 Winner Dan Wheldon Dies in Crash During IndyCar Finale

It was supposed to be a great day for the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Instead, it was one of the worst, darkest days in the recent history of U.S. open-wheel racing.

Mere laps into the IZOD INDYCAR World Championships race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, an horrific accident collected 15 of the 34 cars, including that being driven by Dan Wheldon, the winner of this year’s Indianapolis 500. Wheldon’s car was launched over the back of another machine and went airborne, was collected in the catch fence along the back stretch of the 1.5-mile oval, and rendered Wheldon unresponsive. He was airlifted to a nearby health center where he was pronounced dead from “unsurvivable injuries.”

It’s a heartbreaking and crushing loss. INDYCAR, a professional sporting organization that seemingly has experienced more than its fair share of misfortune, was robbed of one of its best drivers, ambassadors and, most importantly, one of its best people.

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Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather: Similar People

 Floyd Mayweather recently defeated Victor Ortiz in a fourth round knockout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Of course, the world is greatly anticipating a Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight in the near future.

Speculation is rampant on this topic and it may ultimately create a frenzy that could create a record pay day for both, no matter who wins. During the fight weekend, my mind was comparing Mayweather with Mike Tyson. The amount that they have in common is striking.

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Take It To the Bank — College Football Saturday!

It’s been a long couple weeks.

I didn’t do so good for most of ya a couple weeks ago.  I had to go into hiding.

You don’t believe me? Here’s an email our esteemed Mr. Banks got:

Dear Louie:
I cannot believe that a simp like you who lives in Vegas went only 1-4 or 2-4, depending how you look at your parlay win. What a joke.  And you get paid for this? And people follow your advice?? It’s terrible!  A blind, one-nut monkey could do better than you. A blind one-nut monkey probably HAS done better than you.

Sincerely,
A concerned citizen

Well, Mr. Concerned Citizen, let me tell you something: I’ve got both balls, but I had to have my prostate removed back in ’77 after a long weekend with Cybil Shepherd. Not that that has anything to do with anything, I’m just saying.

And this week, this is what you’ll all be saying: How are you so lucky, Louie?? [Read more…]

Take It To The Bank, College Football Week 3


So I was sitting at the book at the Las Vegas Hilton over the weekend, and it was just like old times.

“Louie!!!”

“Hey, Louie, what’s cracking?”

“SECURITY!!!”

Now, maybe I groped that woman, maybe I didn’t. I’m an old man, and my mind ain’t what it used to be.

I do know, and I can say with absolute certainty…that those puppies were real. True story.

Now look, I don’t objectify women, but if they decide to come up to me, on a day where I am undefeated and making moneywell…I guess that money can be used as bail money too, huh?  Who’s with me?

I still got out with a slap on the wrist. Looks like fortune smiled down on ol’ Louie.

Maybe you can be just like me, Lucky. Heaven knows I was last week, now your chance to be Lucky like me. [Read more…]

Take It To The Bank, NFL Edition


And here’s those long awaited NFL picks for Sunday’s games.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t pick last night’s game, and there’s a few reasons: 1) the whole getting out of jail thing. 2) I don’t bet on games where the quarterback is a grandfather, and almost my age. 3) I didn’t feel like it.

Yeah that’s right, I said it, whatcha gonna do about it?

Look, football was meant to be bet on on the weekends, not when people have to go to work the next day. Except for Monday night, because as my good ol’ pal, Scootch Malnoti used to tell me when he was making book, Monday’s the night everyone tries to win back what they lost over the weekend. So they don’t have to pay a guy like Scootch on Tuesday. Or get a visit from any of Scootch’s two sons. Did you know they both walked on to the UNLV football team? Offensive linemen…big kids.

Anyway, that won’t be a problem for you — like I always like to say, I’m Lucky, and you listen to me, you’ll be lucky too. [Read more…]

Take It To The Bank, College Football Edition


Hey, last year’s last year.

This is the year you want to tune in.

This Sports Bank, they got a pretty smart guy runnin’ this thing. They saw the terrible job that that Chicagoan guy did picking games last season and they turned to a grizzled veteran to make the picks. That Paul Banks guy, he knows.  He knows.

He went out to Vegas to find the best, and he’s got him.

Now, yeah, maybe I’ve been on hard times lately…and that public drunkenness charge was trumped up because one time I told a story about a client that our now-mayor Oscar Goodman was defending…you know, a “good ol’ boy,” and voila! Now he finds any reason he can to get me throw me in the slammer.

I sure am glad Mr. Banks came out here and bailed me out of the hoosegow though. Anyways, I’m Lucky.  You listen to me, you’ll be lucky too. [Read more…]

#20 Illini Fighting on in Las Vegas Invitational

illcheers2

By Paul M. Banks

It’s Feast Week! When there’s non-stop college basketball, so many games start at bizarre times. And not just because games are going on in obscure parts of the world in far away time zones. In order to accommodate the television coverage, some games start at…like this one starts at 8:30 pm. #20 Illinois vs. the Wofford Terriers in the second round of the Las Vegas Invitational. Hence the late start time, so ESPNU could televise this game. weber

Wofford is no push over, they won at Georgia, and lost by one possession to Pittsburgh.

Of course, I’m not sure Pitt is that good, and Georgia might just get kicked out of the SEC they are so bad so…..

The Illini will also get a late tip off in the 3rd round taking on Utah at 9:30 PM Friday. In game 4 on Saturday, Illinois will meet either Bradley or Oklahoma St. Here’s hoping it’s OSU only because I’M A MAN!!! I’M 40!. Ok I’m 32, but you get the idea. BTW, Illinois beat Presbyterian 94-48 in the opening round of this game.

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Brando Paul comes in leading the Illini in scoring at 16.7 PPG, Mike Davis is second at 12 ppg, D.J. Richardson is 3rd at 11.3. So the Illini are getting a lot of scoring from their freshmen wings.  Tip off has begun. McCamey takes and misses the first shot.

Wofford comes out shooting 8-2, WU 17:30 left

DJ Richardson drains a 3, following a Mike Tisdale skyhook. 1st tv timeout ILL trail 10-9

Do they really need the screaming sound effect here? when they play the Indian war hymn. I get it it’s the “House of ‘Paign” in Champaign. but we don’t need the sadist sound effect.

Wofford is just owning the 3 pt line right now. They’re going to have to miss sometime. Weber is screaming at Demetri to move and at the whole team to “look inside”

BTW, McCamey just missed badly.

weberscreaming

Tell me again why this team is ranked #20? when they’re down 8 to a mid-major 12 min in?

In the words of Zhane, “hey mr. DJ, all night…on and on and on”….he hit a three to cut the deficit to 3, but then what would you expect? Terriers hit a 3 again. Somebody guard that Cameron Rundles guy, and Junior Salters…and someone stop leaving Noah Dahlman alone too.

I know that Billy Cole and Bubba Chisholm are in fact white. I can see that with my own eyes, but I still don’t believe them. With names like that, I still think they are lying to me about being white.

For you that are new to TSB, you stopped by on a very historical day!!! Earlier in the day we shattered the monthly page views record!!! with 6 days left in the month. And we just broke the daily page views record….right about..NOW! with 3 hours left in the day nonetheless. THANK YOU TSB READERS! And NFL Mock Draft, and Jimmy Clausen as well. Couldn’t have done it without you.

Hey Mr. DJ all nihiiiight.. on and on and on. Richardson hits a big 3 to put Illinois up for the first time in game 33-32 with a 1:54 left in half.

Maybe DJ will go to the NBA some day, maybe I’ll win a Webby someday? It’s the holiday season, and it’s feast week, so anything can happen, right?

WebbyAwards_0230

Yes, I think that is Mary Tyler Moore.

Demtri’s defense is actually better this year. no, really I mean it.  Still no excuse that they got out-rebounded so badly in the 1st half, from such a smaller team. NO EXCUSE Illini up 49-42 16:19 left in game. Lisa Salters is indeed tearing up Illinois.

49-47 Illinois, 15:50 left.

rebounding deficit is 29-15 now…ouch! neother team handling the ball very well. game tied at 50. 14 min left

THAT MOVE BY MCCAMEY, BEHIND THE BACK, REVERSE LAY-IN WAS SICK!!!

Wait., I’ll give it an even more favorable adjective; D WILLESQUE! 58-50 Illinois 10 min left

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DJ for 3 again. 70-57, 4:30 left Illini starting to pull away now. I don’t think they’ll win this game by 20, but they might finish winning by 15.

No matter what the box score ends up saying, Illini had a much harder fought victory than it seems. This team hung around a lot longer than anyone thought they would. And Illini are shooting 57%, if they had an off shooting night, this would have been trouble.

I’ll see you guys later after the presser. with quotes and final thoughts.

Cubs, Woo! Vegas, Woo!

By Paul Schmidt

Watching the Cubs’ struggles over the last few weeks has led me to try and come up with a comparison, something that mirrors the feelings that I’ve had over the eight game losing streak they just posted, and their continual struggle to score runs.

After days of thought, the realization washed over me – The current Cubs slide completely mirrors every trip I have ever taken to Las Vegas.

Now, maybe you don’t understand that comparison – maybe you’ve never been to Las Vegas, or maybe you’re always successful gambling, flirting, and drinking while you are there (and if so, well, quite frankly, I hate you).  But that’s why I’m here, to explain an analogy that, on the surface, might not make much sense.

The Rise in Action

Every trip starts with a run.  A good run.  It’s how Vegas sucks you in.  If, as soon as you landed at McCarren International Airport, you started hemorrhaging money like Clint Malarchuk getting slashed by a skate, you’d tighten up the purse strings, spend some time by the pool and walking around seeing the sites.  Maybe even plan a trip to the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam (well, maybe not ).

So the Vegas gambling gods really want to reel  you in.  You can only be over-confident after you’ve won a little of the house’s money.  Sometimes, even a lot of the house’s money.

The Cubs, came into May reeling a little, but won 11 of 14 games heading into May 16th.  That was the rise in the action.  Reminds me of the time, when in Vegas for a friend’s 30th birthday, I sat down on the first full day of the trip, plunked 200 dollars down at a 25-dollar-minimum blackjack table, and 2 hours later stood up with 2,200 dollars.  Did you know, the 1,000 dollar chips are colored orange at Planet Hollywood?  They are.

That’s what the rise was for the Cubs.  After the May 16th 5-4 win against the Astros, that was the season’s high water point at 21-14.  Fans were just starting to get confident, with three huge games on the road against St. Louis, and then three easier games out in San Diego looming in the coming week.

The Incident

Now not just a name of a Lost season finale!  It’s, quite obviously, an occurrence, something that happens that changes the course of action.

Every Vegas trip probably has several Incidents, but what we’re looking at here is the incident that starts the losing.  To quote Tony Soprano, “Everything I touch turns to (excrement)!”  That type of losing streak.

The incident for the Cubs was the first loss in their streak, what originally looked like a harmless 6-5 loss to the Astros in their series finale.  Brian Moehler stoned the Cubs lineup, Ivan Rodriguez hit his 300th homer, and the Cubs looked fairly disinterested offensively until the ninth inning.  Just like most other incidents, little did we all know how indicative that would be of the future.

The incident that this reminds me of was a gambling debacle that most people in Vegas won money on:  The Michigan State-George Mason first round NCAA Tournament game a few years back.  Me and friends were up big after a huge morning of backdoor covers and were flush with cash, at one point prompting this exchange between myself and a buddy:

“How much money do you actually have on this Michigan State game?”
“More than I’m really comfortable having.”
“Ok…I’m the same. Just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t alone.”

I mean, we knew we were in a little trouble here if Michigan State somehow lost to George Mason (a team that EVERYONE in the sports book had bet on, with the line moving from MSU -5 to the Spartans just laying 2.5 at game time, despite the fact Mason would be missing their best player, Tony Skinn, who had punched a player in the nards in the CAA championship game a week prior), but in the end, we would just be giving back the gains we’d made in the morning and early afternoon. But they were missing their best player!  How good could the rest of the roster be?

Well, what happened is for the history books, as Mason came through with the outright win, and continued to roll on to the Final Four.  The worst part?  Listening to the entire sports book exploding in celebration with every basket.


The place where Michigan State and Kansas killed me

The Wheels Have Fallen Off the Wagon

Now we’re getting into the heart (or heartbreak, as it were) of the Cubs’ issues. They went 27 innings in St. Louis, scoring only one earned run.  With Joel Pinero heavily involved in nine of those innings.  With a fresh-off-the-DL Chris Carpenter throwing five more.  ONE FREAKING EARNED RUN!!!! NONE SCORED BEFORE THE NINTH!!!!

Words can’t describe, except to say that our wagon was wheel-less, and perhaps even sinking into the mud a little.

In Vegas, this is when you start giving up your own money.  In large quantities.  I followed up the Michigan State loss by running to the betting window and trying to win all that cash back by betting on Kansas.  It was a ridiculously talented Kansas squad, and they’d be looking to make a good showing after choking in the first round one year before in losing to Bucknell. Plus, their opponent was from the Missouri Valley Conference.  And it wasn’t Southern Illinois or Creighton, it was Bradley!  Bradley.  I mean, come on.  There was no way that Bradley was beating the KANSAS JAYHAWKS, coached by former Illini guru Bill Self!

As some Bradley Brave torque-wad banked in a three-pointer from half court at the halftime buzzer to go ahead by double digits (I’ve drank away the memory of most of this game), I screamed in frustration to the ceiling of the Paris Hotel and Casino, then was going to stalk off to get back to my room to shower for the night’s festivities.  Before I could, I got grabbed by a little Asian guy, who told me, “Hey, it could be worse,” and pulled back his jacket to reveal a Kansas Jayhawk Alumni t-shirt.

Touché, little Asian guy, touché.

Disaster

I have a friend who pronounces the word with the emphasis on the AS of disaster, and it indicates something worse than a normal disaster, something that involves, quite frankly, a Katrina-like meltdown.

It should be obvious where this is going with the  Cubs.  Even though we had just been swept in St. Louis despite pretty good pitching, we were headed to San Diego.  And even though the Padres had won 5 straight, they still weren’t very good.  And even though the Cubs offense hadn’t been producing, come on, they had to turn it around there, right?

Well, no dice.  At this point, we all know the stories of what happened. The Cubs offense only managed three runs in Petco Park in getting swept by the Padres. They came back home to entertain the Pirates, and scored more runs in the first four innings than they had their entire road trip, but still lost by giving up 10 runs. Ted Lilly got ejected for arguing balls and strikes in a game he didn’t even pitch in.  Milton Bradley exposed a massive umpire experience against him and all board games.


And they hate Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, too…

Most importantly, the Cubs fell under .500 for the first time since April and for only the second time this season.

I wish there were only a couple examples of this from my Vegas history, but that’s just not true.  There’s the awful double-deck blackjack night at the 4 Queens after finding out I knew one of the strippers at the Glitter Gulch from college; there’s the stretch of NCAA tournament games in 2008 where I lost 11 straight bets; there’s the blackjack tables (yes that’s plural) that I lost hands on for 30 mintues straight – no wins; and there’s the time the stripper stole money from me and fell asleep on me at Sapphire.

And now I’m even sadder…


A casino.  Really.  I swear.

Denouement

The Cubs and Vegas have one very specific thing in common: They know how to suck you back in.

With the Cubs, just when you’ve given up on them they turn things around.  This time, it was in the form of two nice wins against the Pirates to get back above .500 (even if, in the end, it may cost them Carlos Zambrano for a couple of weeks because of a ridiculous – if not justified – temper-tantrum).

With Vegas, the gambling gods can’t let you leave on a down note – you’d never come back.  So you always get a little victory to put a hop in your step as head to the airport.

I’ve got a few of these little victories, but my most recent sticks in my mind.  I had a great run on a craps table at the Imperial Palace of all places, playing for a half hour and rolling for a solid 20 minutes of that time, winning back over 200 dollars, and with me actually getting a round of applause from the table when I told them I absolutely had to leave.  The gods had to leave me with a smile on my face, and make me start counting the days until I’d get to go back again.

Vegas, baby, Vegas.

And don’t forget, Go, Cubs Go.