Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Issue # 10.4.2 "West Coast Bias"
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FREE KRISPY KREME, GARDENA, CA (smt) - #1W-Gonzaga somehow got 10 more shots than #6W-USC eight minutes into the game (5 Trojan turnovers in the first 6 minutes) en route to a 25-8 lead and never let USC get closer than 13 the rest of the way en route to a 85-66 rout. It was the Bulldogs' second Final Four ('17) and their 34th straight victory, the last 27 by double digits.
In the second game, #11E-UCLA used an 18-8 run to end the first half and then blew a 9-point lead before holding on for dear life three times in a 51-49 victory over #1E-Michigan. One thing with UCLA, if you're the opponent, you'll get good looks for threes late - Alabama hit a game-tying three with less than a second left in the last game and Michigan had three good looks in the final seconds. Trailing by just one and having the last possession, Michigan still decided to shoot a three which was air-balled with 12 seconds left. Then trailing by just two thanks to a missed free throw, Michigan missed another wide open three with a few seconds left (the Bruins player kept running leaving the open three). Then, thanks to a review that put 0.5 seconds back on the clock, a great drawn up play set up Michigan for another open three that just banked and missed at the buzzer.
With Gonzaga and UCLA joining Texas teams #1S-Baylor and #2MW-Houston, all four teams are west of the Mississippi (first time ever). And like '01 when the last time the Pac 12 had three teams in the Elite 8, just one made it out. It's UCLA's first Final Four since '08 (when they made it three straight years, kind of hard to believe). UCLA is also the first team since VCU in '11 to go from the First Four to Final Four and the 5th #11 seed to make the Final Four. UCLA's Johnny Juzang (28 pts) was their only offense in the first half and was injured early in the second half and left the game for two minutes that jump started a Michigan 8-0 run.
In the pool, 143 went 1-1 (all Gonzaga) and UCLA's loss kept Pac Attack in first with 111 points, but more importantly, guaranteed him at least a 5th place finish. Of the 8 possible outcomes, Pac Attack can win in three of them, Mr. & Mrs. Dreamboat (4th, 106) in two of them (who will try to become our 3rd two-time winner), MizzouTgr11 2 (11th-T, 101) in two of them, and Suznana (3rd, 107) in one of them (who try to become the first wife & husband winners). Overall, a record 27 entries still have a chance to finish in the top 7 money spots (previous 24 in '08). Besides Pac Attack guaranteed money, The Fabone Marathon (5th, 105) has a 62.5% chance for money (I've heard that several times before...) and Mrs Meghan&Mr Meghan (7th, 103) has a 50% chance. Cloak and Dagger will finish tied for last with 60 pts (same tiebreaker of 147).
Bonus2 (Total Points in Final) will be the Bonus. We won't have info on who can win that until after the Semifinals. While that technically brings everyone back, if you guess the total points in final correctly (or closest to), the highest placement will win the Bonus.
We are now on Twitter (@HWCI_Pools). Please follow! I will post using #hwcincaa mini-updates during the day so you can follow without being on Twitter (and if you are, please use #hwcincaa). Please join our Facebook HWCI NCAA Pool Group or post comments on our blog or Discord server. Here you can join the group and meet your competitors, make new friends, set up NCAA watching gatherings, and post stuff to the wall (pictures, witty comments, etc.).
Tids & Bits - 16 lost Michigan as their champ (65 in Final Four)... 143 picked Zags, nada for local UCLA... Ormonde3 is 8th-T (102) but is eliminated while Bobby Big Bracket (Houston over Gonzaga in final) is 60th-T (90) but can still win 4th... License to ILL is 2nd (108) but can't win the pool while MizzouTgr11 2 (Baylor over Gonzaga in final) is 11th-T but can still finish 1st... 3 entries can still win 7th... 13 went 0-for-the-Final-Four while 21 went 3-1... Zags shot 50% but just 33% from threes... USC got just four points off the bench (47 min) and UCLA none (34 min)... USC's Mobley brothers did have 36 points between them on 12/22 shooting... UCLA has won 24 straight NCAA tournament games when leading at the half - just incredible... all four #11 seeds lost in the semifinal ('86 LSU, '06 George Mason, '11 VCU, '18 Loyola Chicago)... Zags will try to become second undefeated team to reach the final since Indiana's 29-0 championship run in '77 ('79 Indiana St lost in final, '91 UNLV and '15 Kentucky lost semis, '14 Wichita St lost in 2nd Round)...
UCLA daring opponents to shoot game-winning/game-tying threes is stressful...