Issue # 16.6.2 “Historic Moments”



2014 Champions Roll Call
(76th Annual NCAA Tournament)
UConn Huskies
The University of Connecticut Huskies 
(20th Annual HWCI NCAA Pool)
20th HWCI NCAA Pool Logo
Karen F, aka, Badzy
(40-23, 121 points)
(4th Annual HWCI First Four for Charity)Friends of Renee Guilio B (4-0, 25 point diff)
Friends of Renee – To raise cash to help Renee and Ugo meet their financial burden &raise awareness of Lyme disease, which is the fastest growing infectious disease in the United States.
$69 Raised
(22 participants x $2 = $44 + Add’l donations by Charles D, Bob S, and Jeff H)
Wednesday, April 16, 2014  **** HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPENCER **** 

Badzy is only person to pick UConn and rallies to win our 20th pool title

CERRITOS, CA (smt)- So Karen F thought UConn sounded like a cool name and she rode that to winning the 20th HWCI NCAA pool among some crazy games in the tournament.  IUPUI sounds cool to me but I don’t think I could pick them to win if they ever get back in.  But she did keep the streak alive of someone in our pool picking the correct champion, making it 16 years in a row.  She was also one of a handful of players who skipped 2013 (2nd year, ’11) and included Bing F (9th year, 1st since ’09), Bar L (8th year, 1st since ’09 and 1st not nicknamed Indy), Nikki N (10th year, 1st since ’09 and 1st not including Bluestars in the nickname), Brian Z (9th year, 1st since ’10 and still named Zippy), Ken G (7th year, first since ’10), Don M (6th year, 1st since ’11). In our 20 years, we have seen some crazy plays and games that have affected our pool.

Issue # 15.6.1 “Freshmen Hazed”


5th HWCI World Cup Pool Begins in May

2014 NCAA Champions
UConn Huskies
(New York, NY)
The University of Connecticut Huskies
4th Title: ’99, ’04, ’11, ’14
2014 Winningest Conference
Southeastern Conference The Southeastern Conference
3rd time: ’06, ’07, ’14
Badzy is only person to pick UConn and rallies to win our 20th pool title

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, Continue reading »

UConn vs Kentucky – Live

Halftime: UConn built a 15-point lead at 30-15 giving Badzy a great chance for 1st but at the half, Kentucky had cut the deficit to 4 (35-31) bringing Bigtenfan2 back into the mix.  One of these 2 will win our 20th HWCI NCAA Pool.  As for the Bonus, the 66 combined projects to 132 which would give LuckyNumberSlevin the $40 bonus.

Start 2nd: Kentucky has trailed or been tied at the half in 5 of the 6 tourney games and we know how the other four ended up.  And a 3 puts the Wildcats within one.

18:05: Geez, another monitor review.  Boy, dunks are hard for UConn.

15:14:  UConn just up by 1 (37-36).  Slow going, projecting to 117 which would Coach K’s Recruiters the Bonus.

12:45:  UConn dunk blocked again!  Kentucky needs to hit their free throws (6 of 13 while UConn is perfect 6-6). UConn 41-37.

10:40: Kentucky’s first field goal in almost 5 minutes, still trail 48-42 (after made free throw).  The 90 combined points is about 120 at end of game which would give Pinkocean the Bonus (and her 2nd bonus).

9:00: UConn’s Boatright’s injured.  Timeout. UConn leads 48-45.  Still on track for 120 pts.

7:54: Since I harped on their free throwing, Kentucky has hit 6 of 7 to pull within 1 (48-47).

6:00:  Back to back 3’s put UConn back up by five 54-49.  Kentucky still has never led.

3:47: Kentucky had hit 7 of 8 free throws but have now missed 2 in a row (including the front end of a 1-on-1).  They get 1 more trailing 56-52 (and he missed).  Amazingly, still projecting to 120 pts.

1:49: UConn slowing things down, Kentucky missing shots.  Now a key offensive rebound as the Huskies try to hold a 58-52 lead.  Now we’re projecting to 115 pts which would give Elizabeth the Bonus.

25.1: UConn still hasn’t missed a free throw today (10/10) leading 60-54.

0.0: Boy that last 25 seconds was a blur, before you knew it the game was over as Kentucky, for once, couldn’t get a late 3 to fall.  UConn are your champions and Karen F (Badzy) is our HWCI NCAA Pool champion!  She is our 5th female champion and first since 2010.  The 60-54 victory means 114 is our total points in final.  So Elizabeth W (Elizabeth) wins the Bonus!  So who wins 6th?

0.0: With Badzy out of the way and the low total points total, Rick F (Fabio) easily won the tiebreaker to take 6th, leaving Paul T (The Downtown Fiction) and Don M (Wooden-Soldier) penniless.  Benjamin D (Bigtenfan2), Randy E (Hawkeye), Ken B (Beyond Elite 8), and Eric F (ShivaBlast) each dropped a spot to claim 2nd/3rd/4th/5th.


Issue # 14.5.2 “Our Vigintennial”


The Final @ North Texas (Arlington) (AT&T Stadium)
UConn Huskies
(New York, NY)
vs. Kentucky Wildcats
(Indianapolis, IN)


A record 138 entries start strong, fizzle at end
ROSEMEAD/CERRITOS, CA (smt)- Two teams people would associate with titles made the final, but this year UConn was a #7 seed and Kentucky was a #8 seed.  Both teams didn’t win their conference title nor tournament (both were 12-6 in conference play).  Yet they’ve outlasted an undefeated team, last year’s champion and dark horse, curious seeding, high number of close games, and lengthy monitor replay delays.  The Wildcats have not only had a difficult route to the final (beating 3 of last year’s Final Four teams including undefeated Wichita St) but they have also closed out five straight close games, thanks to Aaron Harrison’s clutch 3-point shooting in the final minute.  The Huskies were nearly upset in overtime in their first game and then proceeded to knock off the #2, #3, and #4 seeds in the East before finally snapping #1 overall seed Florida’s 30-game win streak thanks to incredible free throw shooting.  Kentucky and their fab five starting freshmen are 3 point favorites.  Interestingly, UConn was 2-0 vs Florida while Kentucky was 0-3.

We will have our 19th different champion in 20 years as a couple of second-year players will battle for the title and get their first taste at money in our pool.  Bigtenfan2 hasn’t picked up any points since last Saturday but can win the 20th HWCI NCAA Pool title if Kentucky wins.  Otherwise, it will be Badzy and her riding UConn to the title.  The other six players are also guaranteed a chance at money with the tiebreaker Continue reading »

Issue # 13.5.1 “#7 vs #8, Oy Vey!”


Bigtenfan2 is still holding on to 1st while 8 are “guaranteed” with a chance to finish in money
UConn HuskiesFOUNTAIN VALLEY/ROSEMEAD, CA (smt)- The UConn Huskies have Florida’s number.  The Gator’s 30-game winning streak came to a screeching halt bookended by losses to the Huskies four months apart.  The last #1 seed to fall made UConn the first #7 seed in the championship.  The Huskies 63-53 win, led by DeAndre Daniels 20 points and 10 rebounds, means they are now 7-1 in the Final Four and will try to win their 4th title in 16 years.

Kentucky WildcatsIn a wild game that saw Kentucky go on a 15-0 second half run only to be answered by Wisconsin’s 15-4 run, Aaron Harrison made his 3rd straight go-ahead 3-pointer in 3 games, this time with 5.7 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 74-73 win over the Badgers.  The Kentucky freshmen (66 points, a Final Four record) once again Continue reading »

Issue # 12.4.3 “The Great Programs Finish”


Check out this new band, Sunderland!  This song "Right This Way"

The Final Four @ North Texas (Arlington) (AT&T Stadium)
Florida Gators
(Memphis, TN)
UConn Huskies
(New York, NY)
Wisconsin Badgers
(Anaheim, CA)
Kentucky Wildcats
(Indianapolis, IN)
Guilio B wins First Four for Charity; at least $69 raised for Friends of Renee

CERRITOS, CA (smt)- Well, we were denied the first 40-0 team but we do have a team on a 30-game win streak that went undefeated in the SEC (1st team to do so) in Florida.  They are joined by their SEC brethren Kentucky, who matured over the tournament in winning four straight close games by a combined 17 points and beating 3 teams from last year’s Final Four.  Could they meet in the final?

Well, the last team to beat Florida was Continue reading »

Issue # 11.4.2 “Big 10 Implosion”



Bigtenfan2 is our leader but can’t get any more points
UConn HuskiesCERRITOS, CA (smt)- Two Big Ten Michigan-based schools fell while the only 2 teams who have won 3 titles in our HWCI NCAA Pool era advanced to the Final Four.  #7E-UConn rode the home away from home Madison Square Garden crowd to a 60-54 victory over #4E-Michigan St to reach the Final Four for the fifth time since 1999 (but their previous 4 trips have come from the West Region).  UConn once again was unstoppable from the free throw line, hitting 21 of 22.  Hard to believe UConn is back in the Final Four a year after being ineligible for the post-season and two years after Jim Calhoun left.  Once again, a dumb foul on a 3-point attempt sinks a team, and this time it allowed UConn to push the lead from 2 to 5 (hitting all 3 free throws) sealing the win.

NCAA Titles Since 1995
Year Sd Region Team
2008 1 MW KANSAS
1999 1 W U CONN
2004 2 W(PHX) U CONN
2011 3 W U CONN
1995 1 W UCLA
2001 1 E DUKE
2010 1 S DUKE

Kentucky Wildcats#8MW-Kentucky rallied and beat #2MW-Michigan, 75-72, on Aaron Harrison’s 4th straight 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left.  With the game tied and playing for the last shot, the long 3 wasn’t as ill-advised but it worked out (why Continue reading »

Issue # 10.4.1 “Long Time Back to Final Four”


Watch the awesome Amazing Race Sundays 8/7 Central on CBS or catch the replay on TVGN with Survivor!

Bigtenfan2 is our new leader
CERRITOS, CA (smt)- #1S-Florida used a 19-3 run to end the first half in coasting to a 62-52 win over Cinderella-wannabe #11S-Dayton.  Florida GatorsIt’s the Gators first Final Four appearance since 2007 when they won the back-to-back championships.  Close calls in the final 3 seconds (a charge and a 50/50 ball out of bounds) put the refs center stage but #1W-Arizona failed to get a shot off in time in losing for the 4th time in the Elite 8 in this same Anaheim arena (’98, ’03, ’11).  #2W-Wisconsin’s 64-63 thrilling overtime win sends them to the Final Four for the first time since 2000.  The 1 vs 2 matchup lived up to they hype.

Wisconsin BadgersDidn’t see any of the Florida game but watched the last part of the second game.  It was nice to see a true big dominate (though listed as a forward, Frank Kaminsky was clutch, getting 28 pts and 11 rebounds) in a trend where finesse and shooting are in the spotlight.  Also, though I needed Arizona to win, Continue reading »

Issue # 9.3.2 “Usual Suspects”



Beyond Elite 8 goes 3-1 but Hawkeye holding on
9 MILES FROM 5.1 EPICENTER, CA (smt)- For all the talk of the narrowing of the gap between the elite traditional teams and the mid-majors, it’ll be #7E-UConn (2 titles, 4 Final Fours since ’99), blue-blood #8MW-Kentucky (3 titles, 5 Final Fours since ’96), and #4E-Michigan St. (1 title, 6 Final Fours since ’99) going to the Elite 8 and not better seeded #3E-Iowa St, #4MW-Louisville (despite being defending champion), and #1E-Virginia.  Those traditional elite teams played clutch down the stretch while the three losers committed costly turnovers, took bad shots and missed key free throws.  UConn hit 11 of 12 free throws in the last 47 seconds, Kentucky hit 6 of 7 in the last 2:12, and Michigan St. hit 5 of 6 (before missing the last one intentionally) in the last 33 seconds to seal their wins.

In the first game of the day, #11MW-Tennessee had a chance to go up by 1 in erasing a 8-point deficit with 2 minutes left and 5-point deficit with 32 seconds left.  A controversial charge Continue reading »

Elim the Impossible

As we head into the Elite 8, there are 128 possible outcomes.  If you want to know your exact winning outcome, post a comment here, tweet @HWCI_Pools or #hwciNCAA, or post on our Facebook page.  For example, my Elim the Impossible pick is somehow alive (was 1 in 256, now 1 in 128).  In order for that entry to win 5th place, I need Kentucky to beat Michigan St. in the final with Dayton & Wisconsin in the Final Four.  A little better (not much) chance for my main entry, The Fabone XX.  Here are my 14 winning scenarios (note that I could lose a tiebreaker and get nothing in some “winning” scenarios):

For: The Fabone XX
                                               | Possible Tournament Results |
                    Entry       Place          1st 2nd
------------------------------- -----          --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
                  The Fabone XX   3*           Fla AZ  MiS Ken Day Con Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   4*           Fla Ken MiS AZ  Day Con Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   4*           Ken Fla MiS AZ  Day Con Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   4*           Day AZ  MiS Ken Fla Con Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   6*           Day Ken MiS AZ  Fla Con Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   6*           Ken Day MiS AZ  Fla Con Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   3*           Fla AZ  Con Ken Day MiS Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   4*           Fla Ken Con AZ  Day MiS Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   4*           Ken Fla Con AZ  Day MiS Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   6*           Day AZ  Con Ken Fla MiS Wis MI  
                  The Fabone XX   6*           Fla Ken MiS Wis Day Con AZ  MI  
                  The Fabone XX   4*           Fla AZ  MiS MI  Day Con Wis Ken 
                  The Fabone XX   6*           Day AZ  MiS MI  Fla Con Wis Ken 
                  The Fabone XX   4*           Fla AZ  Con MI  Day MiS Wis Ken 
                                   * = subject to tie-break

Issue # 8.3.1 “History Repeats… Again”



52 go 3-1 but Hawkeye remains in first 
CERRITOS, CA (smt)- The selection committee wanted this and they got the 4th go-around between #1S-Florida and #4S-UCLA and for the fourth time, the Gators won.  It was very odd in the atmosphere of the arena as even when the Bruins were making a run cutting a 11-point deficit to one, the crowd never got behind the underdogs.  To cap off a bad day for SoCal, #1W-Arizona held off #4W-San Diego St. with a late surge.  In the battle of double-digit seeds, #11S-Dayton is the lone mid-major in the Elite 8 holding off #10S-Stanford (the Pac 12 went 1-2 today).  The Flyers avoided the home game in the First Four and will face the Gators.  #2W-Wisconsin won handily over #6W-Baylor, holding them to 16 points in the first half and will face the Wildcats.

With three top seeds winning, 52 went 3-1 for the day including GoGoGodzilla (46th-T, 87 pts), who was the only one to pick Dayton but Continue reading »

Issue # 7.2.4 “Billion Dollar Time Machine” [Sweet 16 Thoughts]


Previous Sweet 16 Themes: 13 - SportsNation |  12 - Amazing Race |  11 - Year-by-Year |  10 - Health Care |  09 - American Cancer Society 08 - Who Is The Mole? | 07 - TV Shows | 06 - Awards ]

And may the odds be ever in your favor!
CERRITOS/EL SEGUNDO, CA (smt)- After just 32 games, much less the 48 that have been played already, no one in the Warren Buffett-insured Quicken Loans Billion $ Bracket Challenge was perfect.  [ Quicken Loans Billion $ Bracket Challenge ]Of course, the odds up to the start of the Round of 32 was still 4,294,967,296 (4.2 billion) to 1, not accounting that each game has a different probability of winning (e.g., the 4.2 billion assumes each game has a 50/50 chance of either team winning but we know, for example, the #16 seed has basically >1% chance).  So try beating 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1 (9.2 quintillion) to get all 63 games correct (that number is greater than the national debt of $17,560, 724,125,874 (17.5 trillion).  Even [ National Debt 3/27/2014 ]if you were to weigh each game (e.g., #1 has 90% beating #16, #2 85% over #15, #3 80% over #14, etc.), you still would be about 70 billion to 1.  And for the first 32 games, it’s about 45,000 to 1 (very reasonable and has happened (not in our pool) quite a few times in the past in other national pools).  Over 20 years, we’ve had only 1,559 entries which means sometime in the next 569 years we will have our perfect 32-0 bracket!  If the games were split evenly over the first two days (e.g., two #1 seeds play Thursday, two on Friday), then weighing the probabilities, it’s only 211 to 1 to be a perfect 16-0.  And in our pool, we’ve had 5 perfect 16-0 entries (including 2 this year) which means our actual ratio is 312 to 1, which is close to 211 to 1.  Don’t you love it when the math works out?

Anyway, if you had gone 48-0 by now, the odds are only 1 in 32,768 or if weighted, as good as 1 in 4,114 (it’ll be higher because not all #1, #2, #3, and #4 seeds will make the Sweet 16) to complete the perfect bracket.  Seems reasonable.  So, if I had a hot tub time machine and was able to tell myself how to pick the bracket to get to 48-0 to be on my way to a Billion Dollar bracket, here are 16 pieces to the puzzle.

  1. Chalk.  Start with all the favorites (seed-wise).  There were only 14 upsets of the 48 games.
  2. N’names.  A couple big schools have some weird Continue reading »

Issue # 6.2.3 “You May Be Revived”

Bonus Prize details; 17 eliminated entries are eligible to win Bonus  
CERRITOS/EL SEGUNDO, CA (smt)- Thanks to a strong push at the beginning of the week, we received a record 138 entries.  For the fourth straight year, we will have six money spots as we have a record $1,380 to divvy out.  The top prize will be a record $555 which is $15 more than the record in 2012 (and $25 more than last year). The prize distribution is listed below and as always, all fee money goes into prizes. So we have those top six spots plus the Bonus.  What’s the Bonus?  Read on…

As it has been the past ten years, the Conference Wins is the Bonus Prize (as detailed below) (aka, Bonus1). However, if no one wins it, the Bonus2 takes effect and the entry who is closest to the Total Points in Final tiebreaker gets the Bonus Prize. This is the 11th year we have used this Bonus to give hope to those who get eliminated early as only those who do not finish in the top 6 will be eligible to win. Rules follow below…

Bonus1 – Winningest Conference

When you completed your online entry and saw your picks (to print out), some of you might have been wondering Continue reading »

Issue # 5.2.2 “Pac 12 Rules Day While Huge Winning Streaks Snapped”

Hawkeye now up by 6 and has 70% chance to win money
CERRITOS, CA (smt)- Two long winning streaks were snapped while the Pac 12 sent 3 teams to the Sweet 16. The conspiracy of getting rid of a strong mid-major (#1MW-Wichita St) worked on the first try as #8MW-Kentucky survived a potential buzzer beater to send the Missouri Valley champions home with their first loss (35-1). #4S-UCLA snapped Stephen F Austin’s 29-game win streak and was 1 of 3 Pac 12 teams to qualify joining #10S-Stanford (who upset #2S-Kansas – so it’s moot when Joel Embid will return) and #1W-Arizona. #1E-Virigina, #11MW-Tennessee (the First Four winner), and #6W-Baylor all won easily.

One of the oddest endings as a great back-and-forth battle between #3E-Iowa St and #6E-UNC saw the Cyclones score the go-ahead with 1.6 seconds left and then Continue reading »

Issue # 4.2.1 “Three Point Drought”

GoGoGodzilla is perfect 8-0 but Hawkeye has 5 point lead
ALHAMBRA/CERRITOS, CA (smt)- #1S-Florida won its 28th straight game and kept the SEC unbeaten (5-0, 4-0 not including First Four). Meanwhile, #3S-Syracuse’s 25-0 start was a lifetime away as the Orange lost their 6th game in their last 9 games falling to #11S-Dayton. The Flyers may have trouble putting games away but Tyler Ennis (of 3-pt buzzer beater vs Pitt fame) of Syracuse hogged the ball in the last seconds taking an ill-advised long jumper down by 1 and then when only down by 2, taking a off-balance long 3-pointer with a few seconds left. As a team, Syracuse was 0-10 from 3-point range and 1 for 19 outside the paint. #5MW-St. Louis also went 0-fer from 3-point range (0-for-15) in losing to #4MW-Louisvlle. #4W-SDSU, #2MW-Michigan, #2W-Wisconsin, and #4E-Michigan St all played tight games before pulling away comfortably late. #7E-UConn put on a show putting away #2E-Villanova.

I was thinking the coach was to blame but then Continue reading »