The 14th HWCI NCAA Tournament Pool

HW Basketball Logo 2008 HWCI NCAA Pool Update
[The Smartest Reality Series Returns This Summer on ABC - The Mole!]
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Issue # 8.2.4 "Who is the Mole?"
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Sixteen suspicious observations to a crazy tournament

EL SEGUNDO/CERRITOS, CA (smt)-  The last two of the seven at-large Big East teams are in the Sweet 16 while Davidson and Western Kentucky have crashed the Sweet 16.  The Pac-10, which some considered the strongest conference, faltered in the first round with only 3 of 6 teams advancing but the second round saw the Pac-10 go a perfect 3-for-3 to match the Big East with the most teams in the Sweet 16.  The mighty ACC has just one team remaining, the same as the Sun Belt and Southern Conferences.  Days 1 & 3 have gone pretty much to form while Days 2 & 4 have seen huge upsets.  So is there a saboteur in the ranks, quietly affecting games so that a desired champion is crowned?

Let's look at the 16 pieces of evidence:

  1. THREE POINT LINE:  The 3-point line doesn't move back one foot until next year, but teams were missing shots as if the line was indeed a foot further back.  Mississippi St. missed its first 12 attempts, Kansas St. missed all 13 of its attempts, and Duke (15) and Oregon (18) missed over 14 consecutive 3-point attempts.
  2. PERFECT TIL NOW:  In the 13 years of the pool, Kentucky (13-0) and UConn (10-0) were undefeated in the first round... until this year.
  3. TWO MUCH TROUBLE:  Some have something against the #2 seeds?  Two (Duke & Georgetown) have fallen while Tennessee and Texas barely survived their second round match-ups.
  4. REVENGE OF TWELVE:  Somebody didn't like that last year for the first time since 2000 no #12 seed won a game.  This year not only did two #12 seeds win, they are in the Sweet 16.
  5. POINT ADJUSTMENT:  Two days after the game finishes, the NCAA decides to correctly adjust the UCLA score back to 51-49?  Luckily, the point spread was more than 4 points but what was the over/under? 
  6. HOME COURT COOKING:  While top seeds generally get to play near home (or in UCLA's case, in the next county), lower seeds South Alabama and Kansas St. got placed in pods near home... only K-State took advantage.
  7. GEORGIA NOT ON MY MIND:  Someone doesn't like the Bulldogs.  First they make them play 2 games in one day and 3 games in 2 days (which they won all of them) but then they get placed in the Thursday game instead of the Friday game, which would have given them a much-deserved extra day rest.  Alas, Georgia ran out of gas.
  8. A NEW HUGGINS:  It was once predictable to knock out coach Bob Huggins Cincy teams (no matter how high a seed) before the Sweet 16 and when he went to K-State, they failed to qualify.  But now he's in his first season with West Virginia, and here they are in the Sweet 16.  Same person?
  9. LOW & HIGH SCORES:  While Miss. Valley (13), Winthrop (11), and Kent St. (10) had very low scoring halves, UNC had no problem scoring 50 or more points in all four halves they have played.  Even Stephen Curry of Davidson scored 30 in one half by himself.
  10. EJECTED AND WIN:  The mole's new strategy?  Villanova's coach Jay Wright and Stanford's coach Trent Johnson were both ejected from their games yet their teams still won (both games going down to the wire).
  11. FRESHMEN FIZZLE:  One more for the UCLA-gets-preferential-treatment crowd as Kevin Love is the only major freshman left standing.  Michael Beasley (K-State), O.J. Mayo (USC), Jerryd Bayless (Arizona) are all getting their paperwork going for the upcoming NBA draft.
  12. 800:  Coincidence that we get 101 entries to give us an even 800 entries over our 14 years?  Last year we were at an odd 699 entries.
  13. NICKNAME CONFUSION:  BIG RED did not know BIGRED already existed, yet chose to keep the name when the opportunity came to change it.  Then after the weekend, was asking to change the name to BIG BLUE.  Curious.
  14. NO FINALISTS:  Both Florida & Ohio St. failed to make the tourney, which allowed Gator supporter ROBBED OF A THREEPEAT to avoid picking a low Florida seed to win the tourney (as he has done every year, paying off in 2006).  BTW, Florida is in the NIT Final Four.
  15. SECRET MESSAGES?:  We have a 21-character limit for the nickname when you submit your bracket (one day, we'll make the entry form smart enough to also limit you to 21, but it's kind of interesting to see what long nickname you wanted in the first place).  And since I CAPITALIZE the nicknames in my updates, you will have to decipher BACK2BACKHOPEFULLY, IWONTHISSH-T13YRSAGO, NOILLININOPROBLEM and TARHEELSUPBRUINSDOWN.
  16. NO GAME?:  So on Thursday, we drove to San Antonio, home of the Final Four.  There was large bracket on a tall building just outside of downtown.  So I had written down which radio station the games would be on.  So when Duke was battling Belmont to the wire, I went to catch the station.  Hockey game.  Hockey!  And with the Spurs on at the same time, the lone TV in the restaurant was tuned to that game even though it was halftime.  Not that they could've changed it... they just didn't know how.  This is why the minimum wage should NOT be raised as employee after employee was clueless.  So I'm at the home of the Final Four and I can't see or hear the games.

I don't know what the above means or which teams the mole wants to win, but this has been a very odd year.

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Can't believe The Mole is coming back!...


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