March Madness begins on Selection Sunday March 15th.
March 17th & 18th
March 19th – 22nd (March Madness, Las Vegas, 4-day Holiday, and brackets begin).
March 26th – 29th
[MARCHVEGAS] – noun 1. “March to Vegas” symbolizes the humanistic tendency to march, migrate, or advance as a deliberate or organized body in a habitual manner back to Las Vegas. 2. Marriage of March Madness and Las Vegas, especially during tournament time. 3. The “MARCHVEGAS 4-day Holiday” (March 20 – 23, 2014) – Sign the Petition.
MARCHVEGAS is March 19-22, 2015. Believe in a 4-day Holiday.
Race & Sports Book: 100-seat race and sports, 90+ televisions. Basketball viewing party at Deuce Lounge and for groups. VIP section and elevated luxury booths are also available.
Nightlife: Deuce Lounge, Haze, Gold Boutique, Lift Bar, and Lounge.
Race & Sports Book: 256-seat race and sports book, 150 televisions, and 11 big screens.
Nightlife: Drai’s After Hours, Indigo Lounge and Sully’s.
Race & Sports Book: 5,600-square-foot race and sports book, 38 medium screens, 7 large screens. Basketball viewing party at Lily Bar and Lounge.
Nightlife:The Bank, Hyde, Lily Bar, Petrossian Bar, and Starting Gate.
Race & Sports Book: 250-seat race and sports book, 12 televisions, and 6 big screens. Basketball viewing parties at PURE, Carmine’s inside The Forum Shops and the Man Cave (check for pricing).
Nightlife: Apostrophe Bar, Cleopatra’s Barge, Fizz, Galleria Bar, Nobu Lounge, PURE, Seahorse Lounge and Shadow Bar.
Race & Sports Book: 43-seat race and sports book, 20 screens with variable configurations, 4 big screens, and mobile casino games. Basketball viewing party at The Chelsea.
Nightlife: Bond, The Chandelier, Marquee night/day club, Queue Bar, and Vesper Bar.
Race & Sports Book: 100-seat race and sports book, 63 televisions, and 6 big screens.
Nightlife: Bugsy’s Bar, Carlos & Charlie’s Bar, Lobby Bar, and Margaritaville.
Race & Sports Book: 100-seat race and sports book, 59 televisions, and 4 big screens.
Nightlife: Bar 46, Claude’s Bar, Gold Diggers, International Beer Bar, and Rush Lounge.
Race & Sports Book: 68-seat race and sports book, 6 HD projectors, configurations vary, 10 VIP seats, Cantor Gaming, mobile casino games. Basketball viewing party at The Joint.
Nightlife:The Ainsworth, Body English, Center Bar, Luxe Bar, and Vanity (get it up, get it up).
Race & Sports Book: 10-seat and race and sports book, 20 televisions, 1 big screen, and pool bar.
Race & Sports Book: 110-seat race and sports book, 128 televisions, and 5 big screens. Basketball viewing party at Tacos & Tequila and Public House (free entry).
Nightlife:Aurora, Evening Call, Flight, High Bar, LAX, Liquidity, and Savile Row.
Race & Sports Book: 350-seat race and sports book, 28 giant screens, 1 behemoth of a big screen.
Nightlife: Eighth Pole Bar, Plaza Bar, SpaceQuest Bar, Tempo Lounge, and Zen Lounge.
Race & Sports Book: 300-seat race and sports book, 84 televisions, and 17 big screens.
Nightlife: Bikini Bar, Eye Candy Sound Lounge, Foundation Room, House of Blues, Minus 5 Ice Lounge, Mix Lounge, Mizuya Lounge, and Orchid Lounge.
Race & Sports Book: 104-seat race and sports book, 94 televisions, 54 big screens and VIP skyboxes. That’s a lot of 4’s.
Nightlife: Beacher’s Madhouse, Centrifuge, Hakkasan, Lobby Bar, Rouge, Tap Sports Bar, West Wing Bar, and Whiskey Down.
Race & Sports Book: 269-seat race and sports book, 40 televisions, and 10 big screens, . Basketball viewing party at Rhumbar.
Nightlife: 1 OAK, Revolution Lounge, and Rhumbar.
Race & Sports Book: 140-seat race and sports book, 18 televisions, and 1 big screen. Basketball viewing party at Double Barrel Roadhouse.
Nightlife: Brand and Diablo’s.
Race & Sports Book: 40-seat race and sports book, 45 televisions, and 24 big screens. Basketball viewing party at the Sporting House.
Nightlife: Coyote Ugly, Nine Fine Irishmen, and Times Square Bar.
Race & Sports Book:600-seat race and sports book, 100+ televisions, 1 large big screen, 1 large projection screen, and Cantor’s mobile gaming. Lagasse’s Stadium viewing party.
Race & Sports Book: 93-seat race and sports book, 33 televisions, big screen configurations vary, Cantor Gaming, and mobile casino games.
Nightlife: Ghostbar, Moon Nightclub, Scarlet Bar Social, and the View.
Race & Sports Book: 265-seat race and sports book, 221 televisions, and 11 big screens.
Nightlife: Chateau Nightclub and Beer Garden, Gustav’s Bar, Le Cabaret Lounge, Le Central Lobby Bar, and Napoleon’s Piano Lounge.
Race & Sports Book:50-seat race and sports book, 30 televisions, 42 medium screens. Basketball viewing parties at Cabo Wabo inside Miracle Mile Shops. Hoops on the Mezz, packages available.
Nightlife: Heart Bar, PBR Rock Bar, and Cabo Wabo Cantina.
Race & Sports Book: 206-seat race and sports book, 40 televisions, and 1 gargantuous big screen. Includes VIP section.
Nightlife: Rocks Lounge, Onyx Bar, and Lucky.
Race & Sports Book: 170-seat race and sports book, 99 televisions, and 6 big screens.
Nightlife: Flirt Lounge, I-Bar, and VooDoo.
Race & Sports Book: 320-seat race and sports book. 40 televisions, 40 big screens, 2 x-large screens. Basketball viewing party (Free admission).
Race & Sports Book: 152-seat race and sports book, 23 televisions, and 10 big screens.
Nightlife: Dance Hall & BBQ and Gilley’s Saloon.
Race & Sports Book: 195-seat race and sports book, 40 televisions, and VIP lounges.
*Check back for prices and changes as they occur.
[MARCHVEGAS] – noun 1. “March to Vegas” symbolizes the humanistic tendency to march, migrate, or advance as a deliberate or organized body in a habitual manner back to Las Vegas. 2. Marriage of March Madness and Las Vegas, especially during tournament time. 3. The “MARCHVEGAS 4-day Holiday” (March 19 – 22, 2015) – Sign the Petition.
by EDDIE PELLS
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Coaches and players left them. Others told them to go away.
The guys who stuck around at UConn ended up with the last laugh and a pretty good prize to go with it: The national title.
Shabazz Napier turned in another all-court masterpiece Monday night to lift the Huskies to a 60-54 win over Kentucky’s freshmen and bring home a championship hardly anyone saw coming.
“You’re looking at the hungry Huskies,” Napier told the crowd and TV audience as confetti rained down. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you banned us.”
The senior guard had 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, and his partner in defensive lock-down, Ryan Boatright, finished with 14 points.
The victory comes only a short year after the Huskies were barred from March Madness because of grades problems. That stoked a fire no one could put out in 2014.
Napier kneeled down and put his forehead to the court for a long while after the buzzer sounded. He was wiping back tears when he cut down the net.
“I see my guys enjoying it,” Napier said. “That’s the most special feeling ever.”
UConn (32-8) never trailed in the final. The Huskies led by as many as 15 in the first half and watched the Wildcats (29-11) trim the deficit to one with 8:13 left. But Aaron Harrison, who pulled out wins with clutch 3-pointers in Kentucky’s last three games, missed a 3 from the left corner that would’ve given the Cats the lead. Kentucky never got that close again.
One key difference in a six-point loss: Kentucky’s 11 missed free throws — a flashback of sorts for coach John Calipari, whose Memphis team blew a late lead against Kansas after missing multiple free throws in the 2008 final. The Wildcats went 13 for 24. UConn went 10 for 10, including Lasan Kromah’s two to seal the game with 25.1 seconds left.
“We had our chances to win,” Calipari said. “We’re missing shots, we’re missing free throws. We just didn’t have enough.”
Calipari said he decided not to foul at the end “because they’re not missing.”
In all, Calipari’s One and Doners got outdone by a more fundamentally sound, more-seasoned group that came into this tournament a seventh-seeded afterthought but walked away with the program’s fourth national title since 1999. They were the highest seed to win it all since Rollie Massimino’s eighth-seeded Villanova squad in 1985.
Napier and Boatright now go down with Kemba Walker, Emeka Okafor, Rip Hamilton, Ray Allen and all those other UConn greats. This adds to the school’s titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011.
“When they say Ray, Rip, Ben, Emeka, Kemba — they’ll soon say Shabazz,” said their former coach, Jim Calhoun, who was in the crowd along with former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and a father-and-son team whose dance to the “Happy” song got huge applause when played on the big screen at AT&T Stadium.
The crowd was cheering for UConn at the end.
A short year ago, the Huskies were preparing for their first season in the new American Athletic Conference after being booted from the Big East and not welcomed by any of the so-called power conferences. Calhoun, who built the program, left because of health problems. And most damaging — the NCAA ban triggered an exodus of five key players to the NBA or other schools.
Napier stuck around. So did Boatright. And Calhoun’s replacement, Kevin Ollie, figured out how to make their grit, court sense and loyalty pay off.
“It’s not about going to the next level, it’s not about going to the pros, but playing for your university, playing for your teammates,” Niels Giffey said. “And I’m so proud of all the guys on this team that stuck with this team.”
They were one step ahead of Kentucky all night, holding off furious rally after furious rally.
Kentucky’s biggest push started when James Young (20 points, seven rebounds) posterized Amida Brimah with a monster dunk to start a three-point play and trigger an 8-0 run.
In the middle of that, Boatright, who shut down Harrison’s twin brother, Andrew, most of the night, twisted his left ankle while receiving an innocuous-looking pass from Napier. He called a timeout. Got it worked on and came back out.
“I’ve got a lot of heart and I wasn’t coming out,” Boatright said. “We put in too much work all year for me to give up on an ankle sprain.”
Napier and Giffey made 3s on UConn’s two possessions after the timeout, and that one-point lead was back up to five — fairly comfortable by this tight, taut, buzzer-beating tournament’s standards.
The big question in Kentucky is what will happen to all those freshmen. Julius Randle (10 points, six rebounds) is a lottery pick if he leaves for the NBA. Young and the Harrison brothers could be first-rounders. The big question is whether they’ll want to leave on this note.
“I think all these kids are coming back, so I think we should be good,” Calipari deadpanned, getting big laughs.
He called his group the most coachable bunch he’s ever had. They were preseason No. 1, a huge disappointment through much of this season. They were seeded an uninspiring eighth for the tournament and came on strong in time for a run to the final.
But they got outdone by a team on a different sort of mission — a team led by Napier, who stuck with the program even though he knew the 2012-13 season was for nothing but fun.
But what fun 2013-14 turned out to be.
Napier was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player and he earned it on both ends of the court, keeping a hand in Aaron Harrison’s face most of the night and holding him to a 3-for-7, seven-point, no-damage night.
He could also shoot it a bit — including a 3-pointer in the first half when UConn was having trouble dissecting the Kentucky zone. The shot came from about 30 feet, right in front of the edge of the Final Four logo at Center Court, or, as Dick Vitale put it: “He shot that one from Fort Worth.”
They felt it back in Storrs, where they could be celebrating another title shortly. The UConn women play for the national title Tuesday.
If they win, it will be the first sweep of the titles since 2004. The last school to do it: UConn, of course.
By Jimmy Burch
ARLINGTON — Based on program pedigrees, college basketball historians would not be surprised by a Kentucky-Connecticut matchup in an NCAA title game in a typical season.
But this is 2014, a season far from typical for two programs that have combined to win 11 national championships.
Kentucky (29-10), the No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region, dropped a regular-season game to South Carolina (14-20), which finished 13th in the 14-member SEC. UConn (31-8), the No. 7 seed in the East Region, lost both of its regular-season meetings to SMU, an NIT participant, and also fell to Houston (17-16), which did not play in any postseason tournament.
Yet the two power programs meet at 8:10 Monday night, warts and all, for the right to cut down the nets in AT&T Stadium and be recognized as the NCAA national champion. For the foreseeable future, Kentucky (29-10) and UConn (31-8) will be the answer to a trivia question that might stump lots of college basketball fans:
Which teams were the longest long shots, based on tournament seeds, to meet in an NCAA championship game?
The Wildcats and Huskies, with a combined seed total of 15, have played their way into that distinction. UConn is the first No. 7 seed to play for an NCAA title since the seeding process began with the 1979 tournament. Kentucky can join Villanova, the 1985 champion, as the only No. 8 seeds to win a championship. No team seeded higher than Villanova has won an NCAA title.
How surprising is this title-game matchup of power programs experiencing also-ran seasons before catching fire in March Madness? Consider: Among the 11.01 million brackets in ESPN’s tournament challenge, only .00016 of 1 percent (1,780) had Kentucky facing UConn in the title game.
According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, Kentucky began the tournament with 40-1 odds to cut down the nets at AT&T Stadium, the same venue where the Wildcats fell to Baylor 67-62 in a Dec. 6 contest. UConn was given 100-1 odds.
Yet both schools arrive with a 50-50 shot to collect another national title. Kentucky has won eight. UConn has won three. That is quite a twist from last season, when neither school made the NCAA’s 68-team bracket.
Kentucky coach John Calipari spent Sunday downplaying the significance of the less-than-stellar seeds that have served to motivate players on both teams.
“After your first game, even if you’re highly seeded, every other game’s hard in this tournament,” said Calipari, who stressed that both schools were undervalued by members of the NCAA selection committee. “I don’t think we were an eighth seed. I don’t think Connecticut was a seven seed. But that’s where they seeded us.”
Because of that starting point, Calipari said both schools “had one more hard game than some of the other teams had” in advancing through the tournament bracket. But both teams have thrived while setting a precedent unseen in this tournament in 38 years. Monday’s matchup marks the first time since 1966 that two teams will play for an NCAA title after both failed to make the tournament the previous season.
The opportunity intrigues UConn guard Shabazz Napier, one of three seniors who were part of the program when the Huskies won the 2011 national title.
“We all play the game of basketball to compete against the best. This is one of them games,” Napier said. “We put our jerseys on the same way they do. We all believe.”
Both teams have history on their side. UConn is 3-0 in NCAA championship games, including title-clinching triumphs in Houston (2011) and San Antonio (2004). The Huskies could complete a Texas Trifecta with a victory in Arlington.
Kentucky, 8-3 in NCAA championship games, has a Texas Trio working in its favor. Three of the Wildcats’ five freshmen starters played high school basketball in the Lone Star State (forward Julius Randle, guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison). Randle, a Dallas native, called it “just amazing” to have an opportunity to claim an NCAA title in front of family and friends in his home state.
“To be here and playing on the final day means a lot,” Randle said. “If we are the champions, it will be because we did it together, played hard and trusted each other.”
A Kentucky triumph also would underscore the surprise nature of this title run. An NCAA champion must win six consecutive tournament games. Kentucky’s longest winning streak this season is five. But that streak is active. So, too, is the hunger of UConn’s seniors to bookend their college careers with another NCAA title in Texas.
“We certainly have much more experience on this team,” forward Niels Giffey said, comparing the current Huskies to the 2011 title team. “We have good team chemistry. This whole group has been through so many down periods that I think we really worked hard for this.”
In Monday’s title game, only one thing is certain. A team that has experienced its share of down moments will enjoy college basketball’s ultimate high: cutting the nets as a national champion.