Eric Barger bet $800 at The Venetian in Las Vegas that the Retrievers would beat the Cavaliers, even though No. 16 seeds had gone 0-for-135 against No. 1 seeds in the men's tournament.
"I go with my boys to Vegas every tournament, and we did pretty well on Thursday," Barger said. "Me and my buddy Dan went to UMBC, so we spent all day talking up how much we were going to bet."
The $800 was arrived at after the traveling group of eight men put in $100 each.
"We, of course, thought we were throwing our money down the drain," said Barger, 42, who works for an airline company in Washington, D.C. "We expected to be down pretty quickly, but we hung in there, and they won by 20. It was surreal."
After the win, Barger went to cash the ticket to the tune of a $16,000 profit. In typical Vegas style, Barger said each of the eight men took $200 and put that down on a single game of roulette. Their number hit for another $1,900, which was split again.
On Saturday, Barger said he went to play golf at Spanish Trail Country Club in Vegas.
"I shot a 37 on the back nine, and I'm not even that good," he said.
With luck going his way, he says he'll be betting on UMBC again ahead of Sunday's game against Kansas State for a shot in the Sweet 16.
"With odds at about 5-to-1, we'll have at least a couple hundred on the game," Barger said. "How could we not?"