|2014 NCAA Champions|
(New York, NY)
The University of Connecticut Huskies
4th Title: '99, '04, '11, '14
|2014 Winningest Conference|
3rd time: '06, '07, '14
CERRITOS, CA (smt)- The veteran starting lineup of #7E-UConn, some who stayed on despite the Huskies being banned from postseason last year, came out hungry against the all-freshmen starting lineup from #8MW-Kentucky jumping to a 30-15 lead and eventually hanging on to a 60-54 victory. The Huskies never trailed in winning their 4th title (the same number as Duke!), all in the last 16 years and two years removed from retired coach Jim Calhoun and one year removed from a postseason ban due to academics. While UConn was a perfect 10/10 from the charity stripe, Kentucky bookended 6/7 by missing 7 of their first 13 free throws and their last three (including a front end of a one-and-one). Senior Shabazz Napier, while taking some ill-advised or quick shots, scored 22 pts and had 6 rebounds as he was one of the few who stayed on through the postseason ban. This capped a wild tournament partially aided by bad seeding by the selection committee and that sometimes, just the name on the shirt (with a little luck) is enough to propel you to the finals.
In a strange twist, all 8 entries alive to win money were guaranteed to finish at least tied for 6th (before the dreaded tiebreaker), meaning two would lose the tiebreaker and go home empty handed. But first, we have our 19th different champion in 20 years as Karen F's Badzy rode UConn to the record $555 prize bumping everyone else down a spot. She is our 5th female winner (first since 2010's Kim B won) rallied from 85th place midway through the Sweet 16 and was the only person to get a correct finalist and champion (20 pts right there). Bigtenfan2 didn't pick up any points since last Saturday but still won 2nd place, his first win in 2 tries with his 2nd entry (3 years overall). The next 3 spots were Hawkeye (his 1st year!), Beyond Elite 8 (his $555 overall winnings matching our 1st place prize), and ShivaBlast (1st win in 4 years). The low scoring game meant Fabio ($435 overall winnings) easily won the 3-way tiebreaker for 6th leaving The Downtown Fiction (7th) and Wooden-Soldier (8th) with nothing. Our pool has been amazingly keen at distributing the money to different people and this year was no exception as 5 people won money for the first time, our 64th-68th persons to win money.
In the Bonus2 race, 31 were alive to begin the day. At the half we were looking at a healthy 132 combined points but as Kentucky kept swatting and preventing easy dunks by UConn and Kentucky refusing to get into a free-throw shooting battle in the end, the points became scarcer and scarcer. After all was said and done, the combined total was 114 which is the 2nd-lowest total ever (94 in '11) since the tiebreaker was used in '96. This gave one of our most boring nicknames the Bonus, but Elizabeth W won't mind as Elizabeth finished 117th but wins $40 by being just one point off her guess (115).
|Prize||Winner||Nickname||Pts (Place)||Money Won||Yrs in Pool (#Ent)||# Times Won (Total $)|
|1st||Karen F||Badzy||121 (1)||$555||2 (2)||1 ($555)|
|2nd||Benjamin D #2||Bigtenfan2||116 (2)||$290||3 (5)||1 ($290)|
|3rd||Randy E #1||Hawkeye||114 (3)||$195||1 (3)||1 ($195)|
|4th||Ken B||Beyond Elite 8||111 (4)||$140||15 (16)||2 (1st '06 $555)|
|5th||Eric F||ShivaBlast||110 (5)||$95||4 (4)||1 ($95)|
|6th||Rick F||Fabio||109 (6)||$65||12 (12)||2 (1st '04 $435)|
|Bonus||Elizabeth W||Elizabeth||79 (117)||$40||2 (2)||1 ($555 $65)|
Tids & Bits - Both teams were in our very first pool with this Kentucky's 18th appearance and UConn's 15th (only Kansas has been in all 20)... with the SEC being the Winningest Conference, there is now an uncanny 5-way tie for most times being the Winningest Conference (also '06, '07) with the Big 10 ('05, '10, '14), Big 12 ('03, '08, '10) ACC ('04, '05, '10), and Big East ('09, '11, '12) also winning 3 times each (there was a 3-way tie in '10 and 2-way tie in '05); in fact, no other conference has won this... this is the 4th year no one picked the winningest conference/wins (only 2nd time Bonus2 used ; in '05 & '06 no one won Bonus, prompting creation of Bonus2 in '07)... for the 17th straight year, someone picked the correct champion (only shutouts: '97 (AZ) and '98 (KY))... 2 of the 4 new teams to our pool won one game (albeit Cal Poly SLO"s was in the First Four)... of the winners, only Benjamin D and Randy E submitted more than one entry with Benjamin D winning on his 2nd entry and Randy E on his 1st... nine people submitted 3 entries (including Randy E) but no one on their 3rd entry... 16 submitted dual entries... 8 new people joined making a record 104 people in our pool (92.3% return rate)... 41 of the 50 entries that have been with us 10+ years played this year... 125 of 138 entries were returnees (record 90.6%)... Hawkeye had the most wins (45) and last-place Go Deep (63) (28) the least; Badzy only had 40 in winning the title; that's the largest deficit for a titlist since Krispy Kremer won '11 with just 38 wins (4th Place Craig had 44)... if you picked all the favorites, you would've finished 20th (only once ('96) would you have finished in the money if you picked all the favorites)... there were 5 ties (at 17th, 27th, 29th, 96th, and 106th)... Brooklyn's (96) won the biggest tiebreaker, a 9-way tie for 59th; there was also a 8-way tie and a 7-way tie... the 138 entries won a record 5,053 games (was 4,969 in '12) and lost a record 3,641 games (was 3,567 in '13)... Spermicidal State (24th, 103) picked the lowest total points in final with 92 while MistressNine (134th, 72) picked the highest at 171 (and was the furthest off (57))... no one got the total points in final correct... 10 picked 139 pts... FC Nordsjaelland got the first 16 games correct but went 9-28 the rest of the way to finish 108th (83)... The Rat Pack tied for the lead after the 2nd Round with 28 wins but went 12-19 the rest of the way to finish 57th (97)... Badzy, in the last 5 days of the tournament, went from 85th to 69th to 67th to 32nd to 5th to 1st, trailing from 19 pts to win by 5... Providence blowing an 7-point lead with 4 1/2 minutes to go to UNC in the 2nd Round cost the two players (The Downtown Fiction and Wooden-Soldier) who lost the money spot tiebreker (Fabio picked UNC)... 114 pts was the 2nd lowest total ever and far below the average of 143.8... UConn has won their last 3 titles in Texas cities (San Antonio '04, Houston '11, Arlington '14)... Kentucky had the smallest total margin of victory ever through 5 games (18) but lost in the championship (the next 3 teams with the smallest margins also lost in the Final)... Of the winners, Beyond Elite 8 had just a 5.1% chance for money after the Sweet 16; of the losers, LuckyNumberSlevin (11th, 107) had a 24.6% chance for money after the Sweet 16... UConn gives the new American Athletic Conference its first title... might actually have to watch the Women's final (UConn vs Notre Dame) just to see if UConn's coach Geno Auriemma would spar with ND coach Muffet McGraw (who cares both teams are undefeated and UConn could complete the double for the 2nd time)...
Elim the Impossible? Well, a #7 vs #8 should've been in that category ...