Thursday, March 24, 2022
Issue # 7.3.1 "Once a Mid-Major, Always a Mid-Major"
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GOLETA, CA (smt) - Third time wasn't the charm, as for the 3rd straight game #1W-Gonzaga struggled and their comeback was literally blocked as #4W-Arkansas made it back-to-back Elite 8s with a 74-68 win. The Zags do well when not playing a team from the top conferences, as they lost to the SEC today, the Big 12 last year (Baylor) and '19 (Texas Tech), the SEC again in '18 (Florida St), and the ACC in '15, '16, and '17 (Duke, Syracuse, and UNC). Doesn't matter if they are both #1 seeds or the Zags were the better seed, the Zags still behave like a mid-major team (like Butler before them) and fail to rise to the occasion.
Just as bad an omen, the West Coast teams again collapsed as #1S-Arizona also fell to a hot #5S-Houston team, 72-60. Though Zona was still in it late, Houston still won their 3rd game in double-digits and also made their 2nd straight Elite 8. Only #4E-UCLA remains from the West Coast in a year it seemed possible one of them would win the title for the first time since the '97 Wildcats.
#2W-Duke made their last 8 shots as they held off #3W-Texas Tech 78-73 to give retiring Coach K his 100th tournament win. #2S-Villanova pulled away late after #11S-Michigan got within four to win 63-55. Can Villanova win their 3rd title in 6 tourneys? Only #1MW-Kansas remains but if they lose, for the first time no #1 seeds made the Elite 8 (in '06 3 #1 seeds made the Elite 8 and lost and in '11 one #1 seed made the Elite 8 but lost).
Mia Culpa and Frost Toasted were the only ones to get all 4 teams correct and are 1-2 with the former leading the latter by a whopping 9 points (101 to 92). With 3 #1 seeds out plus most popular #2 seed Kentucky out, points will be scarce and that means Mia Culpa has a 98.4% chance of winning money. Not to be outdone Frost Toasted has a 93.2% chance of finishing in the top 7. Mia Culpa has better than 50/50 (54.5%) to win the pool with Frost Toasted (15.3%) and Barbs (13th-Tied, 83) (12.5%) better than 1 in 10.
Pac-10 Rules!, Lady Chocoholic, and Wuk#2 are tied for 3rd with 89 points, with the latter two can't getting higher than 3rd place. Bix Pix II is tied for 75th (73) but can still win the pool. ChasCroix1, SlumDawg2, and Ava the Spoon are tied for 18th (82) but are eliminated while Ernie McBracken 2 is tied for 141st (64) but can still finish 5th.
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Tids & Bits - 10 picked Arkansas, 79 Villanova, 86 Duke, and 11 Houston... entries got an average of only 1.1 with 48 going 0-4... the Big 12 is 9-4, the ACC 9-2 (8-2 in proper 64), Big Ten 9-8 (8-7 in proper 64), SEC 5-5, Big East 6-4, American 4-1, WCC 3-3, Pac 12 4-2, Atlantic 10 1-2, and MWC 0-4 (0-3 in proper 64)... of the 52 games, just four were one possession losses (not including regulation tie of an overtime game) (Creighton by 3, Miami by 2, and Illinois and Michigan St each won by 1)... Mia Culpa can get a max of 155 pts while Bulba can only get 57... 46 lost Gonzaga as their champ, 43 lost Arizona, and Kona Coast Go Fish lost Texas Tech... 25 started the day with all 4 Final Four teams intact and all 25 lost at least one (10 still have 3 of 4)... 21 had a chance to go 4-0 in their Elite 8 but instead went 0-4... the Zags nearly always shoot 50%+ but shot just 37.5%; Arizona shot just 33.3%... Shepwhip who led after the 1st round is eliminated and sits in a tie for 59th (75)...
Never pick Gonzaga if you have them meeting a top conference team late... sigh...