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Tarkanian sat courtside Saturday to watch the final of the Mountain West Conference tournament. There were 18,500 fans packed into the arena his teams built, and later that night 11,000 more watched UCLA and Oregon at the MGM Grand.

It was March basketball at its best and, if a few people wanted to place wagers on it, well so be it. There will be literally billions of dollars changing hands on the NCAA tournament beginning this week, much of it in office pools that the NCAA in its puritanical beliefs also finds objectionable.

It’s almost laughable, but the hypocrites at the NCAA are hosting the biggest betting event ever.

Let’s just hope it’s the one thing they manage to get right.

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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg