Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

March Madness: Financial Winners & Losers of First Weekend


1. Stephen Curry: After scoring 40 against Gonzaga and 30 against Georgetown, total non-shaver Stephen Curry has his Davidson Wildcats in the Sweet 16. He has the perfect Cinderella story. Son of former NBAer Dell Curry, couldn't even get a scholarship at Virginia Tech (who would have made the tournament if they had him), Curry is probably the most lovable underdog this tournament has seen in at least the last five years. The thing is, his motto is already set thanks to an Indian restaurant franchise:

2. Western Kentucky Band: Not only did they get to travel from Bowling Green, Ky., to Tampa to see their team win two straight games. They also made $1,000 when the University of San Diego, whose band traveled to Stanford to play for the women's team instead (see that story below), paid them to play for them against UCONN. They played so well, San Diego won. Now, the band is off to Phoenix, where the team will play UCLA in the Sweet 16.

3. Favorite Pickers: You could be a rich man, if you only bet favorites for the first two rounds this year. Favorites have covered 31 of 48 (64 percent) matchups. According to R.J. Bell of, the odds of favorites winning that percentage of games against the spread was 33-1 against.

4. Adidas: Competitor Nike has 42 teams in the tournament, so Adidas will naturally be outnumbered. The key was to stay alive. The brand's top five all did through the first two rounds: Kansas, UCLA, Tennessee, Louisville and Wisconsin.

5. Bob McKillop: Davidson's head coach has a record of 339-224 at Davidson College in his 19 seasons there. McKillop has been more loyal than anyone over the years and he deserves to use his success over the last week to make it his chance to jump.

6. Allowing more than 200 sites to link to their live March Madness On Demand resulted in more than a 100 percent increase in usage. (By the way, there's been more than 2.1 million clicks of that "Boss Button" so far.)


1. Duke: It's still going to be tough to get tickets at Cameron Indoor, but the shine came off the Dukies this year with a close one-point victory against Belmont in Round 1 and a loss to West Virginia in Round 2, parity has somehow reached Durham. Meanwhile, their rival Tarheels have pounded opponents into submission, scoring 100 points in back-to-back tournament games for the first time in more than two decades.

2. O.J. Mayo: Going 6-for-16 from the field and scoring 20 points in a first-round tournament loss wasn't exactly the most impressive showing for the NBA. But a big shoe, orange juice or Hellman's deal might keep this kid from coming back to USC for a second year.

3. Dan Dakich: Indiana's interim coach was put in an unfair position. A coaching search is launched before the tournament even starts, but Indiana had to beat both Arkansas and North Carolina for Dakich to get the permanent job. As it worked out, the Hoosiers didn't even beat Arkansas and Dakich likely won't be back.

Q & A with Chris Morales, University of San Diego, marketing director:

Q: So we hear that for your first round game against UCONN, the band isn't your band, it's the Western Kentucky band dressed up as your band. How does that happen?

A: Well, it was the first year we had a pep band and we fortunately made both the men's and women's tournament. But the band thought they had a stronger connection to the women so they went to Palo Alto (where the team was playing Cal.) So we sent the cheerleaders to cheer on the men in Tampa.

Q: OK, so you knew you needed a band in Tampa for the UCONN game.

A: Yes. We started on Tuesday talking to high school bands and it just wasn't working out because it was good Friday and Easter and it was really tough on them. So we started to realize that we had to use the bands that were playing already. So Steve Bechbar, our associate athletic director, used to work for the Memphis Grizzlies and he had known so people at Western Kentucky. And so we started to work with them and we made the deal that once their game was over, they'd put on shirts and beanies and play for us.

(Note: The women's team lost to Cal, 77-60 and the San Diego team of course beat UCONN. San Diego rented Siena's band for their loss in Round 2.)

Q: How much did you pay them?

A: It cost about $1,000.

Q: What did they have to do for that?

A: Just play the usual stuff. We have our students down there doing our cheers so they're just playing along. There's just been a lot of great cooperation on this.

Questions?  Comments?

Related Tags