[UPDATE: All the nets have been cut down in Arlington – sorry, “North Texas” – and as expected, the MALF Line fell flat on its head. Only one team, the Florida Gators, got to the Final Four… and a drubbing by UConn finished shutting that shit down like Drake and The-Dream. Next time you want to go with the hot line, you’ll have better luck if it has a 1900 number attached to it.]
With the NCAA tournament in full swing (or, if you’re like me, you consider it starting tomorrow), everyone and their mother is on the MALF Line. What is the “MALF Line”? Well it’s the current Final Four sexy craze that’s sweeping college basketball fans from our beloved TJ, to POTUS, and everyone in between.
The reason that the MALF Line is so popular is that it’s pretty damn strong. Both halves of the Four feature one solid, consistent #1 seed, and one resilient, experienced #4 seed that is #1 caliber. It also hits hard with three conference tourney winners, and one runner-up. It’s a conservative, safe bet – one that Vegas even acknowledges, as these four teams are considered the four favorites on at least two sports betting websites ( and ) and certainly numerous other sites and casino sportsbooks as well.
But someone’s gotta be the James Deen Dean of the group.
The No-MALF 2014 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Final Four
SOUTH: Stephen F. Austin
Yep. I’m going there. The more I think about them, the more I see a well-rounded, well-spread-out team. There’s no Doug McDermott here, folks; instead, we have four players (guards Deshaunt Walker, Desmond Haymon and Thomas Walkup, and forward Jacob Parker) that all averaged at least 12+ PPG, 41%+ from the field, 35%+ from three, and heavily contributed to a national top-10 16.6 assists/game clip. They have one of the smallest rosters you’ll see, with no one over 6-9; but that can work to their advantage too, as they’ll also be one of the quickest rosters in the field. Also, losing twice all year and finishing the season unranked has to sting like a mug.
The few people that have strayed from the MALF Line have mostly gravitated toward Wisconsin to get to the title game and be the recipient of UF’s revenge fuck, and it’s easy to see why. Just like ‘Cuse and OKST, one bad streak does not a team make. As we discussed on this week’s Bangcast, this is the best offensive team that Bo Ryan has ever had the pleasure to coach. Frank Kaminsky is the anchor, adding a solid board-crashing game to the easy points that his 7-0, 234 lb. frame will cop. Plus they have a pretty damn easy road; instead of regional dance partner Arizona, who will have Gonzaga/OKST and OU/SDSU to deal with, Wisconsin gets a likely Oregon/Creighton combo guiding them to the Elite Eight. Easy peasy.
MIDWEST: Wichita State
Yeah yeah, Louisville was underseeded, whatever. Can we, like, not forget the team that DIDN’T LOSE ALL YEAR?!? If the Shockers proved anything, it’s that they got up for every game. They had a trip to the NCAA’s on-lock, and they still played hard. They had the regular season on-lock, and they still played hard. They very likely had a #1 seed on-lock regardless of how the MVC title game went, and they Still. Played. Hard. I’ll say this much: considering how deadly the Midwest is (Michigan, Duke, the aforementioned Louisville, and possible surprises in Saint Louis, Kentucky and NC State), if Wichita can make it all the way through the region without injury, they will finish the season 40-0.
Bangers, have you seen this team play at all yet this year? If so, then you understand where I’m coming from. They simply know how to win, and they know how to do it in many different ways. They can take you off the dribble (London Perrantes); they can stroke the three (Joe Harris); they can beat you from the line (Malcolm Brogdon); and they can out-body you underneath the bucket (Mike Tobey). They have big-time wins over tourney teams NC State, UNC, Cuse, Duke and Pitt (twice) – not many other squads can claim that many wins over tourney teams. As long as they don’t have another game like their regular season finale in the home of the Turr’pins, the Cavaliers have the potential to roll into Arlington unblemished.