NCAA FINAL FOUR @ Indianapolis, Indiana
8th Final Four ('80 (Market Square Arena); '91, '97, '00, '06 (RCA Dome); '10, '15 (Lucas Oil Stadium))
Hosted by Indiana U.-Purdue U. Indianapolis (IUPUI) (Horizon League)
Lucas Oil Stadium - Unity & Equality Floor
|First Semifinal||Second Semifinal|
Lucas Oil Sta (South)
Lucas Oil Sta (North)
Lucas Oil Sta (North)
Lucas Oil Sta (South)
|Baylor University Bears (26-2)||University of Houston Cougars (28-3)||Gonzaga University Bulldogs (30-0)||University of California, Los Angeles Bruins (22-9)|
Big 12 Conference -
Regular Season Champs
3rd Final Four ('48, '50)
def #16 Hartford 79-55
#9 Wisconsin 76-63
#5 Villanova 62-51
#3 Arkansas 81-72
American Athletic Conference (2nd Place) - Tourney
6th Final Four ('67, '68, '82, '83, '84)
def #15 Cleveland St 87-56
#10 Rutgers 63-60
#11 Syracuse 62-46
#12 Oregon St 67-61
Conference - Regular Season and Tourney Champs
2nd Final Four ('17)
def #16a Norfolk St 98-55
#8 Oklahoma 87-71
#5 Creighton 83-65
#6 USC 85-66
|Pac 12 (4th
Los Angeles, California
19th Final Four ('62, '64, '65, '67, '68, '69, '70, '71, '72, '73, '74, '75, '76, '80, '95, '06, '07, '08)
def #11a Michigan St 86-80 (OT)
#6 BYU 73-62
#14 Abilene Christian 67-47
#2 Alabama 88-78 (OT)
#1 Michigan 51-49
Thursday, March 31, 2021
Issue # 11.4.3 "Our Pool Has an Efficacy of 66.4%"
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DIGNITY HEALTH SPORTS PARK, CARSON, CA (smt) - If you saw the largest bracket on the JW Marriott in downtown Indy, you would not see a lot of familiar names. The tournament didn't feature Blue Bloods such as Duke, Kentucky, and Indiana with UNC making it as an #8 seed and Kansas joining after having to quit their Big 12 tournament due to COVID-19 after struggling the first half of the year. UNC lost in the first round and Kansas in the second. That left UCLA. The 11-time national champions lost their last four games and squeaked into the First Four game against a wanna-be Blue Blood, Michigan St. The Bruins rallied from five down with 90 seconds left to force overtime to beat the Spartans, allowed a 3-pointer with less than a second left to Alabama and then routing them in overtime 23-13, and then survived three open three attempts by another Michigan team to hold on to defeat the Wolverines in the Elite 8.
UCLA may have 11 titles, but three other teams have a much better chance to pick up their first. UCLA will face the #1 team in the country in Gonzaga, who have not only won 34 games in a row, they have won the last 27 by double-digits. After being down 17-12 to Oklahoma in the 2nd round and then jumping ahead 23-21, the Bulldogs have not trailed the rest of the tournament, winning all four games by at least 16 points and never shooting less than 49.1%. The Zags will try to become the first team to go undefeated since Indiana in '76 (and get revenge on UCLA from their '06 Sweet 16 collapse)
Baylor has been pretty consistent as the #2 team in the country despite not winning the Big 12 tournament. They have only trailed once in the second half (41-39 to Villanova with 11:31 left) and led wire-to-wire against Arkansas. In their first Final Four in 71 years, they will face a Houston team making their first Final Four in 37 years. While Houston has been good all year, losing just three times and winning the AAC tourney for the first time, they have only played double-digit seeds in the tourney (first time a team has done that) in beating the #15, #10, #11, and #12 seeds in the Midwest Region. The rallied from 9 down with under 5 minutes left to stun Rutgers by three (getting 5 of their last 7 points on free throws), beat the zone to take care of Syracuse, and blew a 17-point second half lead but then scored six straight to beat Oregon St's hybrid zone.
The only noticeable differences thus far for the tournament during a pandemic was the lack of fans (it didn't seem like much fake fan noise was piped in the TV telecasts, which is good, but enhanced crowd noise since games had actual fans), VCU dropping out due to positive test in the first round, Virginia not being able to arrive until the night before their first round game due to earlier positive tests, and teams having to stay in Indy between weekends, resulting in very sluggish starts to the Saturday Sweet 16 games. Let's hope the last three games go smoothly as well.
In our pool, picking your own bracket has a pool efficacy of 66.4% compared to if you just picked chalk (top seeds to win every game). So if you got "vaccinated" instead of just picking the top seeds (not "vaccinated"), you would have a much better chance at winning money. Picking chalk would have won just once in 44 prize positions (any of the top prize or bonus per year, 26 pools x 2 minus 8 years no bonus = 44 <1/44 = 2.27%>. Whereas 144 entries will have won out of 2,530 total <144/2530 =5.69%> after this year. Thus, about 66.4% of people who should be eliminated (by picking chalk) didn't <(5.69%-2.27%)/5.69%=66.4%>. That sounds good but really that translates to only 2.97 times <1/(1-.664)=2.97> more likely to win over a chalk bracket (which was low to begin with) if you choose the bracket yourself.
A record 27 can still win money but only 4 can win the pool title. A Baylor title would give Matt M (his second entry MizzouTgr11 2) the win (to go along with his First Four for Charity win (see below)), a Houston title would give Sam N (his first entry Mr. & Mrs. Dreamboat) his second pool title (3rd person to do so), a Gonzaga win or UCLA beating Baylor for the title would give current leader Jeff2 H (Pac Attack) the pool title (he's Jeff2 because at one point we had two Jeff H's and he was second; he has also periodically donated to our charities over the years including this year), and a UCLA over Houston win would give Suzanne M (her first entry Suznana) the title and her first-ever win in 18 pools (have to think in pool years instead of calendar years now). Bonus2 (Total Points in Final) will be the Bonus. We won't have info on who can win that until after the Semifinals.
For our 11th HWCI NCAA First Four for Charity free contest, 17 people participated. All 4 least picked teams won (5 picked Drake, 6 Texas Southern in the first two games resulted in the top record 1-1), including just 6 who picked UCLA, resulting in Mike M winning the contest with a 3-1 record a lowest point differential of 14. Three others went 3-1 while 4 went 0-4. Eric C, who was the two-time defending champ ('18, '19), finished 6th. Eric F finished last with a large point differential of 50.
First or last, the good news is that the Center for Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund, which supports preparedness, containment efforts, response and recovery activities for those affected by COVID-19 and for the responders, will be getting at least $248 (third-largest ever), $34 directly from me with Tom J (Kds911-1), Charles D (Sisyphus13), Jeff2 H (Pac Attack), and Bob G (Midwest or Bust) contributing a total of $90 to also help out. The current total of $124 will be matched by my company (Raytheon Technologies). I won't be submitting the donation until next month, just in case others want to chip in. We have averaged over $157 per year in donations and have contributed over $1,731 to help a variety of causes and organizations. Unfortunately, the pandemic last March was the first timely disaster since the 2011 Japan Earthquake, which sparked my idea for this contest in the first place, so these past two years have been donations to COVID-19 funds, but in the past we have chosen educational, cancer research, humanitarian, local help, Christian, and fundraisers.
Tids & Bits - with limited capacity, attendance figures - 7,515/7,519 (Michigan-UCLA; Baylor-Arkansas; Lucas Oil Stadium South (Unity) (capacity 8,500)), 6,166/NA (USC-Gonzaga, Houston-Oregon St, ; Lucas Oil Stadium North (Equality) (capacity 6,900))... the first two rounds averaged 2,180 at seven courts in six venues... Baylor favored by 5, Gonzaga by 14 (!)... guaranteed a team west of the Mississippi River will win the tournament since Kansas '08 (before that Arizona '97, UCLA '95)... Houston & Baylor are both former Southwest Conference teams (folded in '96)... Sportsline odds to win title: Gonzaga 58.2%, Baylor 24.4%, Houston 15.1%, UCLA 2.4%... while Gonzaga started at 2.2:1 odds to win the title, UCLA was 100:1... the lack of teams east of the Mississippi (plus Mon/Tue window vs Sat/Sun) hurt TV ratings, with the Elite 8 (only Michigan east of the Mississippi) down 45% (while the Sweet 16, with two SEC, two Big East, and two ACC teams, was up 12%)... can UCLA do what Pac 12 brethren Arizona did in '97, beat three straight #1 teams; Michigan down, Zags next, and maybe Baylor in final (and they will have to do it as the first double-digit seed to win a semifinal)... after Gonzaga, the next three teams with the longest winnin streaks all lost in the 1st round (San Diego St 14, Colgate 13, Liberty 12)... the First Four this year took place on the same day (Thursday) and the first time it was not held in Dayton, OH... Michigan St losing in overtime in the First Four was the start of all 9 Big Ten teams being eliminated before the Final Four, with the first three all falling in overtime including #2 Ohio St... Norfolk St from the MEAC participated in the conference's fourth straight First Four and their win snapped a 3-game losing streak (all lost by NC Central)... all four First Four games were in single digits... 7 picked Norfolk St... two exactly got Norfolk St by 1 and one got UCLA by 6 (Mike W got both in finishing 2nd with a PD of 20)... this was the 3rd time no one went 4-0 in the First Four... in 2020, in lieu of no First Four, I just asked who they thought would have won the 2020 championship and we got 13 different teams with Kansas being picked the most by 3... 20 people chose a champion with Kentucky, Maryland, Florida St, UCLA, and Duke getting two votes each (SDSU, Illinois, Ohio St, Florida, Virginia, Villanova, and Gonzaga got one each)... last year, $325 was donated to Direct Relief COVID-19 Fund, aided by an anonymous donation of $250...
Watching the Galaxy 2.5 team on Wednesday was an expected loss, but good to see friends in person in the press box again...