On This Date in Sports Betting History: March 26
Michigan State/Collegiate Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Magic Johnson and Larry Bird
There are no sports being played on March 26, 2020. There were, however, sports being played on this date last year.
And in 2018. And in 2017. And … you get it.
With nothing to bet on during this pandemic period, let’s to take a trip down memory lane and relive the best sports betting moments on this date in history.
March 26, 2006: George Mason vs. UConn, Elite Eight
- Spread: UConn -8
- Over/Under: 136
No. 11 George Mason has a chance to become just the second double-digit seed to ever make the Final Four. It’ll have to beat a 1-seed (and second-ranked team in the country) in UConn in order to do so, however.
The Patriots close as 8-point underdogs, and +318 on the moneyline. But they’re no stranger to unlikely wins, having already topped Michigan State (+192) and North Carolina (+228).
UConn (and UConn bettors, for that matter) goes into halftime looking good, already covering the spread with a 43-34 lead. George Mason, however, isn’t done.
The Patriots come back to take a 74-70 lead with 17 seconds remaining, only to watch UConn score four unanswered in the final 7.9 seconds (helped by a missed free throw) to get the game into overtime.
Trading buckets on each possession, George Mason finally opens up a two-possession lead with just over two minutes left, and leads by five with 26 seconds left.
A three from UConn followed by another two missed free throws from George Mason give the Huskies a chance at a win or tie with six ticks left. But a missed three-pointer from Denham Brown allows Cinderella to hang on and punch a ticket to the Final Four.
March 26, 2005: Arizona vs. Illinois, Elite Eight
- Spread: Illinois -4.5
- Over/Under: 144.5
The pregame storyline perhaps isn’t as captivating here, with a 1- and 3-seed meeting in the Elite Eight. But from the final four minutes onward, this becomes one of the best tournament games ever played.
Down 75-60, No. 1 Illinois seems to be all but bounced from the tournament.
And then …
A 20-5 run in the final minutes sends the game to overtime, where Illinois actually opens up a six-point lead to put its backers in the money. A 5-0 Arizona run, however, saves what could have become one of the worst spread beats of all time.
Still, Illinois completes the magical comeback to advance to the Final Four. Any moneyline bettors are able to cash on a payout around -200.
March 26, 1979: Indiana State vs. Michigan State, NCAA Tournament Championship
- Spread: Michigan State -5.5 (via SportsOddsHistory)
Setting the stage for what goes on to be one of the greatest player rivalries in sports history, the 1979 national title game brings the first round of Larry vs. Magic.
Both teams reach the final as 1-seeds from their respective regions, but Magic’s Spartans are still somewhat sizable favorites at -5.5.
Magic gets into some early foul trouble, but not before helping Sparty on a 9-0 run to push its lead to double-digits. By halftime, that lead has been cut slightly to 37-28.
The start of the second is all Michigan State, and another 7-0 run helps bring the lead to 50-34. That’s answered, however, by a 12-2 run from the Sycamores, getting them within six — a half-point off the spread.
It’s as close as they’d get, though. Michigan State reclaims a double-digit lead, and behind Magic’s 24-7-5 stat line, wins its first title by a final of 75-64. Magic is named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
March 26, 2017: Kentucky vs. North Carolina, Elite Eight
- Spread: North Carolina -2
The Tar Heels last championship came back in 2017 and it took an absolutely wild game against. Kentucky in the Elite Eight to even get there.
“Maye for the win” will go down in Tobacco Road history: