Last November, shortly after their Huskies topped Maryland, 78-77, in the teams' season opener, a group of current and former UConn students placed a bet that they'll be talking about for the rest of their lives.
The 12 men, all fraternity brothers, each put $100 on UConn to win the national championship at 50-to-1 odds. There was an unlucky 13th member of the group.
"Well, we had one friend who didn't do it," David Faenza, who persuaded his friends in November to go in on UConn, told the Las Vegas Sun. “He's probably off gutting fish somewhere right now or something."
Eleven of the friends returned to Las Vegas over Memorial Day Weekend to collect their winnings.
— Case Keefer (@casekeefer) May 24, 2014
All season the friends watched as UConn, which started the year ranked 19th, careened its way toward the NCAA tournament. The Huskies had a solid tournament resume, but two demoralizing late-season losses to Louisville left many fans wondering how far UConn could advance.
The Huskies were favored in their first-round matchup, in which they topped St. Joe's in overtime, but were underdogs after that. As UConn kept rolling in March, the talk of hedging grew louder. The crew eventually decided not to bet against UConn, and it paid off.
"I was hyperventilating,” Harrison Fuchs, who planned the initial Las Vegas trip, said of his reaction to the Huskies topping Kentucky in the final game. "I walked out of the bar with my sister and her boyfriend and he said, 'Listen to me: I'm happy you won, but if you ever have $60,000 on the line ever again, you freaking hedge the bet.'"
The friends celebrated extravagantly in Las Vegas over the weekend, and before leaving they made sure to place another $100 bet on UConn for next year. This time, the odds at 60-to-1.