If you had over 150 points in the first NCAA men's tournament game on Monday, you were mentally cashing that ticket during the first half.
The points for Iowa and Oregon poured in. The first half over/under of about 70.5 wasn't even a speed bump. Oregon led 56-46 at the half. It was the most points the Ducks have ever scored in a half in the NCAA men's tournament. CBS said it was the first time since 2008 that an NCAA men's tournament game hit 100 points in the first half. In that game, a No. 1 seed North Carolina overwhelmed No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary's and led 60-41 at halftime.
The total of 102 points in the first half was almost as many as the 105 points Texas and Abilene Christian scored in their entire first-round game. The teams hit 150 points with 7:24 left in the game. Oregon won 95-80.
Oregon and Iowa slowed down a bit in the second half but over bettors never had to worry. The game might have challenged 200 points had Iowa kept it more competitive and forced Oregon to keep up the pace. There was an endless barrage of dunks and 3-pointers. If you want to complain about lack of defense that's fine, but it was also a great display of offensive execution.
Most games before Monday had gone under the total. The under won at a 24-17 clip through the first four days of the tournament, including the First Four games. First-half unders were hitting at an even higher rate. There just hadn't been a ton of high-scoring games through the first round-and-a-half of games. Monday's opening game changed that. It's tough to get any easy win, but this was one for over bettors.
Iowa big man Luka Garza, the clear national player of the year, did his part with 36 points. It was tough to see his great career end in the second round. But it was the type of high-scoring game Iowa has been in most of the season, which was happy news for bettors.
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