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  • 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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    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 # 3.1.2 “We are UMBC” (3/16)

    Posted on March 17th, 2018 - 3:50 am Scott No comments

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    FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER, A 16 BEATS A 1
    4-way tie for first in crazy day with six upsets

    Headline - UMBC v VirginiaEL 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, Read the rest of this entry »