Friday, March 16, 2018
Issue # 3.1.2 "We are UMBC"
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EL SEGUNDO/CERRITOS, CA (smt)- It was bound to happen but never like this. With top teams losing players year after year to the pros and smaller conference teams keeping and maturing their players, something had to give. It was supposed to be MW-Penn catching Kansas off-guard (with Vegas money moving toward the underdog) or the fourth #1 seed W-Xavier to come short against Texas Southern. Not the #1 overall team in the tourney. Not in a blowout. Losing by 20 when you were favored by 20? I'm trying to figure out which is the more improbable scoreline: S-UMBC 74, Virginia 54 or recently Albany 83, UMBC 39? How does losing your 6th man (De'Andre Hunter) rattle a team's psyche so much? If this were soccer, Virginia coach Tony Bennett would be sacked for inexcusably not preparing his team and suffering the most embarrassing defeat ever as the first #1 seed to lose in 136 tries. But oh, what a historical moment it was. Starting with UMBC's (that's University of Maryland-Baltimore County) Jairus Lyles who seemed to make everything, even ones after the whistle in jest. And he was cramping which will add to his legend to go with his 28 points on 9/11 shooting. It was bad enough for the Cavs that game was tied at 21 at the half but Bennett's halftime pep talk was probably piss-pour as well as UMBC came out blazing with a 17-3 run to start the half. And amazingly, Virginia never did it back down to single digits for that one hope and a prayer. The top team in the country had no answer and kept shooting threes, at one point missing 13 straight.
So the two biggest hits to our pool were a #1 that lost by 20 points and #4S-Arizona team that lost by 21. Sheesh. Well, 15 other games were played and up to that historic upset, #13E-Marshall shocked the 4E-Shockers sending Wichita St home (Marshall's Jon Elmore could not be stopped and hit crazy 3-pointers when needed) and #10E-Butler pounded #7E-Arkansas. Easy victories were had by #2E-Purdue, #2W-UNC, #5E-West Virginia, #1W-Xavier (who topped 100 pts (102)), #9W-Florida St, and #5MW-Clemson (eliminating popular pick #12MW-New Mexico St). #7W-Texas A&M, #2S-Cincy (using a 22-6 run to end the game after being down by 1), #9S-Kansas St, #3MW-Michigan St (#14MW-Bucknell, who went more than 10 minutes without a FG in the second half did rally from 16 down and lost by 4 in final three minutes), #4MW-Auburn (who benefited from a missed foul on a #13MW-College of Charleston 3-pt attempt late), and #11MW-Syracuse fought for wins. #7S-Nevada rallied from 14 down and then went lights out in overtime (6/6, 19 pts after spotting Texas the first four points of overtime) to quell #10S-Texas' upset bid.
From the chaos, we have a 4-way tie for first with 54 points. Wuk2, Bwakewey 1, M Star, and Little Luther (went 14-2 for the day, best of the pool) went 27-5 for the round. Eight went 13-3 for the day. SacKings4Ever and AlexMorganFan are tied for 5th (52). Bobdoonigan (154th-T, 34)and Indy went 6-10 for the day. Indy and iWillLose are tied for last with 32 pts. Virginia was the pool's second most popular pick as 33 entries lost them as their champion, and 90 lost them in their Final Four. But that was not the only champion lost today. No, BallerDollarCashMoney (127th-T, 40), who was the only person to pick UMBC, lost College of Charleston as his champ and Balls Dropped! (140th-T, 38) lost Wichita St.
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Tids & Bits - Who suddenly wants to watch We Are Marshall?... In the proper 64, the SEC is 6-2, the Big East is 4-2, the Big 12 is 4-3, the ACC is 5-4, and the Big Ten is a perfect 4-0 ... iWillLose has only 3 of 8 Elite 8 teams remaining while four have lost half their Final Four... iWillLose and LuteLuteLuteLute (154th-T) have only 8 Sweet 16 teams left... no one has all 16 teams intact (18 have 15 of 16), six have all 8 Elite 8 teams alive, and 35 have their Final Four intact... Gonzaga will try for their 16th straight win Saturday... for the first time in forever, we have two entries that picked the exact same 63 games (they differ only in tiebreaker total points in final) -- CryingJordans and AlfordBlows (7th-T, 50) will forever be tied together...
The following takes place between 9 am Friday and 9 am Saturday. Events occur in real time.
Watching the historic game on my iPad at
Black Angus in Buena Park with the fam, still celebrating last month's