Jim O'Donnell: National title is great for Kansas, not so good for bettors who backed Jayhawks

  • Kansas' Jalen Wilson celebrates while North Carolina's Caleb Love is consoled after the Jayhawks captured the NCAA Tournament championship Monday night in New Orleans.

    Kansas' Jalen Wilson celebrates while North Carolina's Caleb Love is consoled after the Jayhawks captured the NCAA Tournament championship Monday night in New Orleans. Associated Press

 
Updated 4/5/2022 4:48 PM

WAS IT BOB DYLAN or Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder who wrote: "You don't need a bunch of gambling touts to tell you which way your bet is blowing?"

In the closing seconds of Kansas's 72-69 victory over North Carolina for the NCAA men's basketball championship Monday night, all weather vanes pointed to a cover by the Jayhawks.

 

Background: KU closed at either -4 or -4½, depending on the sportsbook. A flurry of late hero ball by NC's Caleb Love failed, giving the Jayhawks the ball, 4.6 seconds on the clock and a probable intentional foul directed their way with free throws after an inbounds pass.

More seasoned speculators immediately projected two Kansas makes, a futile North Carolina bomb and a KU cover -- 74-69 -- by the whiskers on Bill Self's deceptively cherubic cheeks.

INSTEAD, ENTER THE SLOPPY SNEAKERS of Dajuan Harris Jr.

The Kansas sophomore looped to take the inbounds pass in front of the NC bench and quickly zipped not once but twice out of bounds along the sideline.

Ball back to NC with 4.2 seconds remaining. Another futile Love missile and a national title for the Jayhawks.

But a stunning "cash" for backers of the Tarheels (+4 or +4½) and a brutal "L" for the other side.

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The frenzied missteps of Harris literally impacted the exchange of tens of millions of dollars.

IN THE GLOAMIN', as the lucky Action Tonight candles atop the entertainment center were being extinguished, some immutable truths endured:

• Things happen;

• In the long run, the most pacific bettors accept the axiom that the blindly fortunate balances out with the chestnuts-crunching unfortunate; and,

• None of this gambling stuff is for little boys in short pants.

• • •

AN ODD MOMENT MONDAY on WMVP 1000-AM during the first airing of Mike Greenberg's national ESPN show with a 10 a.m. start on the flailing station.

Previously, Greenberg's recorded daily began at noon in Chicago.

Midway through the new time slot, the fabulously successful Greenberg was detailing his calloused dismissal from the old WMAQ 670-AM circa 1992.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The outlet was all-news at the time. Greenberg was making $6.50 an hour trying to establish himself following his graduation from Northwestern (Medill, Class of '89).

Mid-story, AM 1000 suddenly went to commercials. When Greenberg's show resumed, he had moved on to another topic.

Strange censorship to protect the ghosts of chief rival WSCR 670-AM, a struggling Audacy outfit that has no direct link to the Group W banshees who ashcanned Greenberg way back when?

Or just more evidence of mean munching mice in the machine at AM 1000?

Whatever the reality ... chucklesome and bizarre.

STREET-BEATIN': Tiger Woods is in and those Dixie masters of Southern golf down at Augusta can do nothing but grin for the next day or two. Woods is 50-1 to win his sixth green jacket and scheduled to tee off Thursday at 9:34 a.m. alongside the inimitable Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann (Live stream free at cbssports.com; behind a paywall at ESPN+). ...

The Royal and Ancient Tiger has caused a bit of Oregon corporate depression by practicing Monday and Tuesday in FootJoys rather than Nikes, his endorsement partner since turning pro in 1996. The FootJoys apparently provide more support for his aching bones. Nike rushed a statement saying: "As he continues his return, we will work with him to meet his new needs." ...

From the Masters D-list, tee-time golf and gaming "influencer" Paige Spiranac told her Instagram gallery, "Happy Masters Week! Towel drops tomorrow!" (As a pre-p.c. Bob Hope might have said, "Hefner would be all over this gal ... Idn't she wild?") ...

Good news for baseballer Joe Davis with trickle over to West suburban Addison's very own Adam Amin. As tipped, Davis, 34, will succeed Joe Buck as Fox's lead MLB play-by-player; Amin, 35, now continues his energized 2022 as Fox's No. 2 for both Major League Baseball and the NFL. ...

Two shadowy keys to the White Sox this season: pitching coach Ethan Katz and new director of strength and conditioning Goldy Simmons. (The team's passwords into a deep October are "efficient" and "healthy." Total ages of the two -- Katz, 38, plus Simmons, 33 -- are less than Tony La Russa, 77.) ...

And Jay Mariotti, always cheery, on the bouncing basketballers of the NCAA men's tourney: "What would Dr. Naismith have said about the transfer portal?"

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears three times weekly, including Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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