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  • Issue # 12.4.4 “Two 1-Time Champs and Two #1s Battle It Out” (3/30)

    Posted on March 31st, 2018 - 3:47 am Scott No comments

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    1st ever matchup: LAFC v LA Galaxy

    2018 NCAA FINAL FOUR @ San Antonio, Texas
    [Alamodome]
    First Semifinal Second Semifinal
    #11-South
    Atlanta, GA

    Hosted by Georgia Tech (ACC)
    Phillips Arena
    #3-West
    Los Angeles, CA

    Hosted by Pepperdine U. (WCC)
    Staples Center
    #1-East
    Boston, MA

    Hosted by Boston College (ACC)
    TD Garden
    #1-Midwest
    Omaha, NE

    Hosted by Creighton U. (Big East)
    CenturyLink Center
    Loyola U. Chicago Ramblers U. of Michigan Wolverines Villanova U. Wildcats Kansas U. Jayhawks
    Loyola University Chicago Ramblers (32-5) University of Michigan Wolverines (32-7) Villanova University Wildcats (34-4) Kansas University Jayhawks (31-7)
    Missouri Valley Conference – Champs
    Chicago, Illinois

    2nd Final Four (’63
    )
    1-time champion
    def #6 Miami (Fla) 64-62
    #3 Tennessee 63-62
    #7 Nevada 69-68
    #9 Kansas St. 78-62

    Big Ten Conference – Champs
    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    8th Final Four (’64, ’65, ’76, ’89, ’92, ’93, ’13)
    1-time champion
    def #14 Montana 61-47
    #6 Houston 64-63
    #7 Texas A&M 99-72
    #9 Florida St 58-54
     
    Big East Conference – Champs
    Villanova, Pennsylvania

    6th Final Four (’39, ’71, ’85, ’09, ‘16
    )
    2-time champions
    def #16b Radford 87-61
    #9 Alabama 81-58
    #5 West Virginia 90-78
    #3 Texas Tech 71-59
     
    Big 12 Conference – Champs
    Lawrence, Kansas

    15th Final Four (’40, ‘52, ’53, ’57, ’71, ’74, ’86, ’88, ’91, ’93, 02, ’03, ’08, ’12)
    3-time champions
    def #16 Penn 76-60
    #8 Seton Hall 83-79
    #5 Clemson 80-76
    #2 Duke 85-81 (OT)

    ALL FOUR TEAMS WON THEIR CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT EN ROUTE TO FINAL FOUR
    Five can win pool and 18 are still alive in race to finish

    LEGOLAND IN CARLSBAD, CA (smt)- On the road to San Antonio, all four teams managed to get the automatic bid as their conference tournament champion.  Coincidentally, Loyola-Chicago and Michigan both won their tournaments a week before Selection Sunday and face each other in the first semifinal.  The Big Ten, in an effort to get their tournament at Madison Square Garden, held their tourney a week earlier than usual.  That’s because Madison Square Garden hosts the Big East tournament, which was won by Villanova.  Both Villanova and Kansas won the day before Selection Sunday, earned #1 seeds, and will face each other in the second semifinal.  This left only the SEC with their championship on Selection Sunday (oh yeah, the Pac 12 final was also on Saturday though it’s debatable if they are still one of the Big Five conferences after their poor showing) as more one-bid leagues have the championship on Selection Sunday.

    Both Loyola-Chicago and Michigan faced their expected seeded teams in the first weekend but then faced #7 and #9 seeds in the second weekend.  Both have also won just one championship and are in the midwest United States.  Both Villanova and Kansas have faced their expected seeded teams within one rank (2/3, 4/5, 8/9) and will face each other, the best possible matchup.  Villanova has won all four games in double-digits while Kansas has won their last three games by four points, needing overtime vs. Duke.

    As we look forward to crowning our 22nd different champion in 24 years, 18 entries are still hoping to finish in the top 6.  The difference between 1st and 6th is $545.  No one picked Loyola-Chicago but Read the rest of this entry »

  • Issue # 11.4.3 “First Four Unkind to Pac 12” (First Four Recap) (3/27)

    Posted on March 27th, 2018 - 7:38 pm Scott No comments

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    We are a Christian organization working to help communities lift themselves out of poverty. For good.

    RECAP OF FIRST FOUR, THE GREATEST UPSET, AND SISTER JEAN
    At least $56 will be donated to World Vision; over $705 donated in 8 years

    EL SEGUNDO, CA (smt)- Apparently the Selection Committee did watch Pac 12 basketball because they shafted one of the big 5 conferences for a good reason — they suck.  With any respect, USC would be easily in, UCLA and Arizona St would be 8/9 seeds, and Arizona, as the conference and tournament champ, would be at least a 3 seed.  Nope.  No USC, UCLA and Arizona St relegated to the First Four games, and champ Arizona dropped to a 4 seed and not in the West.  Well, the committee knew what it was doing as #11bE-UCLA choked down the stretch against #11aE-St. Bonaventure, 65-58, and #11aMW-Arizona St lost a close one to #11bMW-Syracuse, 60-56.  This was the first time a conference had two teams in the First Four and now have the distinction as the only conference to have two losers in the First Four in the same year.  UCLA’s Aaron Holiday was a turnover machine (10 of UCLA’s 20 total) including three in the last 30 seconds after the Bruins had rallied to tie the game at 58.  Arizona St had a 7 point lead with 7 minutes left before Syracuse, the last team in, went on an 8-0 run.  Certainly, the Pac 12 basketball teams matched the horrible post-season Pac 12 football had.

    #16bE-Radford slowly outscored #16aE-LIU Brooklyn 12-3 in the final five minutes to get their first tournament win, 71-61.  There were 42 fouls and 30 turnovers in this grudge fest.  #16bW-Texas Southern broke open a 10-10 game and never looked back in routing #16aW-NC Central, 64-46.  Like a few of the Southwestern Athletic (SWA) Conference teams, Texas Southern played their first 13 games on the road against top teams and went 0-13 to start but won when it mattered, in the SWAC championship game and in the First Four game, their first ever tournament win.  Texas Southern’s 0-13 start was the worst ever for a tournament team and they became the first sub .500 team (15-19) to win a tournament game.  NC Central lost their second straight First Four game (last year).

    The greatest upset is one of those “where were you when it happened” and I’ll always remember being at the Black Angus in Buena Park with my family and watching the game on the NCAA March Madness app on my iPad Air 2.  Stunned.  I even tweeted a cryptic message:  Watch TV now.  History in making? for anyone who didn’t bother to watch another #1 seed trash a #16 seed.  The way #16S-UMBC played was fun to watch, they never took the gas off the accelerator that most big programs do when they have a double-digit lead with 10 minutes left.  Kept the pressure and #1S-Virigina never responded.  Virginia wasn’t a #1 seed, they were the #1 overall seed, and despite losing a bench player who was just 4th on the team in scoring, were still heavily favored to make the Sweet 16 before they had to worry about not having De’Andre Hunter on the bench.  In fact, I compiled a few of the predictions below from all over the spectrum, post-Hunter injury.  The most interesting was the swarm concept as a bunch of people individually moved a token toward the most likely scenario, in this case Virginia – High Confidence. The concept here as that as everyone is moving their token to that spot, some will Read the rest of this entry »

  • Issue # 9.4.1 “No Doubt This Time” (3/24)

    Posted on March 25th, 2018 - 3:30 am Scott No comments

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    The Expanse Season 3 starts April 11 on SyFy

    FOR ONCE, LOYOLA-CHICAGO CRUISES; MICHIGAN HANGS ON
    Larzby finally in front by 4 points with 81.3% chance to win money

    Why no foul?ROSEMEAD, CA (smt)- After winning their first three games by a combined total of four points, #11S-Loyola-Chicago made sure to secure their Final Four berth routing #9S-Kansas St, 78-62.  In pushing the pace, the Ramblers had 15 turnovers and K-State converted on a lot of them, but Loyola-Chicago helped themselves by shooting 57.4% from the field and 50% behind the stripe (9/18) while the Wildcats shot 34.8% from the field.  Sister Jean and the Missouri Valley Conference tournament winners will go to San Antonio as the fourth #11 seed to make it.

    #3W-Michigan was only pretty in short bursts but it was enough to hold off #9W-Florida St, 88-84.  The Wolverines went on a 11-1 run in 4:52 early in the second half to turn a one-point deficit into a 10-point lead and then a 7-0 run in 1:49 to build back a 10-point lead with 2:26 left.  But the rest of the time Michigan was sloppy (same for Florida St) and the Seminoles took advantage late to quickly score 8 of the next 9 points in 1:09 but could not get closer than 2 in the final seconds.  However, in the most bizarre sequence,  down by 2 with 24 seconds left, the Seminoles prevented Michigan’s poorest free throw shooter Zavier Simpson from getting the in-bound pass and allowed near 90% free throw shooter Duncan Robinson to get the ball instead and was fouled.  Simpson had already missed the front end of a 1-on-1 and missed 1 of 2 the last trip (why Michigan kept giving him the ball was a gift that kept on giving to FSU) and, so of course, Robinson easily nailed both free throws to put Michigan up 58-54.  After a missed 3-point attempt, Michigan got the rebound but the Seminoles did NOT foul, essentially giving up with 10.6 seconds left.  Maybe because it was Robinson who got the rebound and Florida St had no timeouts, the Seminoles felt they’d automatically be down by 6 with a foul but still, anything can happen.  At least try to steal the ball.

    The second half was mostly ugly with FSU going without a FG for 5:44 early in the half then without a FG for 7:53 (staying in the game with 8 free throws) from 10 minutes to 2:07.  Michigan went 5 minutes without a FG midway through and none in the last 2:26.  Both teams shot under 39% from the field (Michigan 38.8%, FSU 31.4%) and under 24% from long range (FSU 23.5%, Michigan 18.2% (4 of 22 after making 14 of 24 their last game)).  In the last 1:38, Michigan missed twice on the front end of a 1-on-1 and made just 2 of 4 in their other free throw attempts (before Robinson coolly nailed 2 with 21 seconds left).

    In the pool, Larzby was one of 33 to pick Michigan and moved into first place, topping the century mark (101 pts).  Philly Eagles Again moved into 2nd (97) and Billiam and Lady Chocoholic moved into a tie for Read the rest of this entry »

  • Issue # 7.3.1 “Rambling On” (3/22)

    Posted on March 23rd, 2018 - 1:33 pm Scott No comments

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    LOYOLA-CHICAGO STOPS NEVADA COMEBACK, TWO #9S ARE IN
    SacKings4Ever back in the lead with 60 still in the running for money

    Loyola-Chicago's Sister JeanCERRITOS, CA (smt)- Once again, #7S-Nevada rallied from a double-digit second half deficit (this time 12 points with 16:45 left) to tie the game at 59… but left too much time on the clock with 4:06 remaining.  In a tight battle the rest of the way, #11S-Loyola-Chicago’s Marques Townes hit a clutch three with 6.3 seconds left to lead by 4 and eventually held on to win, 69-68.  The Ramblers’ three victories have been a total margin of just four points and they reach the Elite 8 for the first time since ’63.  Interestingly, Nevada was low on fouls to give and with a six second differential in shot to game clock, surprisingly did not try to foul (either to get their count up to a 1-on-1 or to just extend the game) and even if Townes would have missed the three, less than six seconds would have been left to go down the court.  So after a quick layup with 3 seconds left, Nevada fouled three times, each taking 0.5-1.0 seconds, but could not get the ball back because Loyola-Chicago was not in a 1-on-1 situation.  Game over.  Maybe Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, Loyola’s 98-year-old team chaplain, put the prayer on big time to have Nevada reach such a poor decision.

    #9S-Kansas St, despite three players fouling out, won for the first time ever against #5S-Kentucky (now 1-9 all-time) by scoring the last three points in a 61-58 win.  In the Wildcat-Wildcat battle, Kentucky was on a 13-4 run and was up 57-56 with 1:32 left.  #4W-Gonzaga has had a poor showing all tournament and it finally caught up them as #9W-Florida St found an opening and finished on a 22-11 run to reach the Elite 8 for the first time since ’93, 75-60.  #3W-Michigan’s barrage of threes helped build a 29-point first half lead (52-23) en route to a thrashing of #7W-Texas A&M, 99-72.  Michigan shot 61.9% (tournament high) from the field and made 14 of 24 threes (58.3%).

    In the pool, SacKings4Ever and Alyonushka went 2-2 with the former taking over 1st place (87 pts) and the latter moving to a tie for 64th (69) from 114th.  Wuk2 moved into 3rd (84) behind former leader M Star (84) but Read the rest of this entry »

  • Issue # 4.2.1 “Buzzer Beater Madness” (3/17)

    Posted on March 18th, 2018 - 11:35 am Scott No comments

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    **HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY**

    TENN AND HOUSTON SHOCKED BY LAST MINUTE BASKETS
    M Star shoots back to top as 18 go 7-1

    Houston-Michigan Buzzer BeaterCERRITOS (smt)- We got our first true buzzer-beater as a great designed play got the ball to Jordan Poole who fired off a spread-eagled three before the buzzer and nailed it to give #3W-Michigan a one-point 64-63 victory over #6W-Houston.  Houston missed both free throws before the play and couldn’t extend a two-point lead with 3.6 seconds left and they did not guard the inbound pass (I thought the famous ’92 Duke buzzer-beater made teams start to guard the inbound pass).  that wasn’t the only late-game drama as #11S-Loyola-Chicago blew a 10 point lead with 4 minutes left and trailed by 1 with 21 seconds left.  Clayton Custer took an off balanced jumper that hit the front of the rim, then the backboard, and then into the rim with 3.6 seconds left to give the Ramblers a 63-62 win over #3S-Tennessee.  The Vols, with no timeouts, took the inbound and actually had a great look at a 3 that was just long.  The South has now lost its #1, #3, and #4 teams.  Watch out #2S-Cincinnati.

    #5S-Kentucky (ending game on 21-6 run after #13S-Buffalo got within 3), #1E-Villanova, and #2MW-Duke dominated second half for an easy win while #1MW-Kansas, #4W-Gonzaga, and #3E-Texas Tech all held on to narrow wins.  Six top seeds won today.

    M Star was one of 18 to go 7-1 today to take the lead with 75 pts.  Wuk2 and Bwakewey 1 are Read the rest of this entry »