Issue # 9.4.1 “30-0” (3/30)

LA Galaxy are 3-0-3 to start the season


Saturday, March 30, 2024 
Concrete Kid stays in first; 7 go 2-0

DIGNITY HEALTH SPORTS PARK, CARSON, CA (smt) – 23-23 seemed like a good battle for #3E-Illinois in holding defending champ #1E-UConn near the end of the first half.   But then… but then, UConn went on a 30-0 (!) run in about 9:08 where Illinois missed 17 straight shots to advance to their 7th Final Four, 77-52.  UConn won in double-digits for a record 10th straight time and they have led by 30 or more points in all four games (led 67-37 here).

#4W-Alabama went on a 20-2 first half run to turn a 13-point deficit into a 5-point lead to keep #6W-Clemson’s hope just out of reach (the Tigers never got within 3 the last 16:44 of the game) in advancing to their first Final Four, 89-82.  The Crimson Tide made more three pointers (16) than free throws (15) or two-point field goals (13).

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Issue # 8.3.2 “Houston, We Have a Problem” (3/29)

 ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,’ the sequel to the monster hit ‘Godzilla vs. Kong.’


Friday, March 29, 2024 
Concrete Kidheads to the front of the class; Jonna goes 4-0 after going 0-4

GODIZILLA X KONG‘ 3-D IMAX IN ALHAMBRA, CA (smt) – #4S-Duke returned back to the Elite 8 after a one-year absence (their 24th Elite 8 and first since Coach K retired), holding off #1S-Houston, 54-51 in the Cougar’s home state of Texas (Dallas).  The Cougar’s Jamal Shead, who was the hero in overtime last game and All-American, injured his ankle 13 minutes in and never returned (well, except on a scooter).  Duke will play fellow ACC member #11S-NC State who continued their incredible run in shutting down #2S-Marquette, 67-58.  Marquette was just 4/31 from three (12.9%) and could never get closer than 6 in the second half.  The Wolfpack were 17-14 and had to win 5 games in 5 days in the ACC tournament just to make the Big Dance and now have added three more wins.

#1MW-Purdue had a second half 16-2 run to beat #5MW-Gonzaga, 80-68.  7′-4″ Zach Edey had 27 points and 14 rebounds (but interestingly no blocks, in fact, there were zero blocks for both teams) for the Boilermakers.  #2MW-Tennessee knocked off #3MW-Creighton 82-75 thanks to a 16-0 run after Creighton took a brief 39-37 second half lead.  While Creighton was hitting 3s (3 in the last 22 seconds), Tennessee was making free throws (8/9 in the last 32 seconds) to keep the game out of reach.  This is the only region with the top 2 teams still alive.

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Issue # 7.3.1 “UConn Immune to Upsets” (3/28)

Los Angeles faces weekend flooding


Thursday, March 28, 2024 
Emmadness jumps to 1st but 13 others have better chance to win pool

EL SEGUNDO, CA (smt) – #1E-UConn continued to dominate opponents, beating its 9th straight tournament team by double-digits, this time 30 over #5E-San Diego St.  The rematch of last year’s final had the same result with UConn outscoring SDSU 29-13 to end the game to win 82-52.  The other three top seeds didn’t have much luck though.

#4W-Alabama tried to keep pace with #1W-UNC in the first half as the Tar Heels hit 10/16 three-pointers.  The second half saw ‘Bama fight back with its defense holding UNC to just 2/16 from three in the second half.  Alabama’s Grant Nelson took control in the last five minutes with 12 points, 3 blocks, and one steal in the Razorback’s 89-87 win.  After intentionally (well, he should have) missing the second free throw with less than a second left, he left no doubt of a chance of a Hail Mary 3/4 court game-winner by blocking the heave, which was pretty funny.

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Issue # 6.2.3 “ACC and Big East Perfect” [Prize Dist & Bonus] (3/26)

AARP - “To serve, not to be served”


Tuesday, March 26, 2023
Including Bonus, 171 entries can still win money

TORRANCE, CA (smt) – In our pool, we do not count any stats from the First Four, thus, in our eyes, the ACC is a perfect 8-0 (not including Virginia who lost in the First Four) and the Big East is 6-0.  Interestingly, #11S-NC State, who won the ACC tournament (where they beat Wake Forest, #4S-Duke, #10aMW-Virginia, and #1W-UNC in their 5 wins in 5 days), may have stolen a bid from fellow ACC members Pitt (4th team out) or Wake Forest. The Big East’s three teams were all top 10 (#1E-UConn (1), #2S-Marquette (7), #3MW-Creighton (10)) with no one in the middle (Seton Hall was 2nd team out, ~#46).  The Pac-12, which will temporarily cease for two years while Oregon St and #7E-Washington St join the WCC as affiliate members, started the tournament 5-0 (6-0 including #10bS-Colorado’s First Four win) before ending 0-3 and leaving just #2W-Arizona left.  The Mountain West got a record six teams in (five excluding the First Four) but went just 3-4 (4-5 including First Four) with #5E-San Diego St left standing.  The SEC and Big 12 each got 8 teams in but both have just two teams in the Sweet 16. The Big Ten got 6 teams in and is a respectable 6-4 with two teams in the Sweet 16.

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Issue # 5.2.2 “Chalk it to Resiliency” (3/24)

Amazingly touching and funny movie "Yesterday"


Sunday, March 24, 2024 
Larzby stays in 1st again; Bigtenfan3 jumps 65 spots to a tie for 19th

HOME, CA (smt) – Despite drama, the Sweet 16 will feature all #1 and #2 seeds for just the 5th time.  With two #3 and two #4 seeds also advancing, 12 of the top 16 seeds won, the most since 14 did so in 2019.  About as chalk as it could get.  While #1MW-Purdue, #1E-UConn, #4S-Duke, and #5E-San Diego St all won by 17 or more (though UConn did lead by 30 in the second half before winning by 17), the other four games played to the final minutes.

#1S-Houston had a 13-point lead with 3:53 left and a 10-point lead with 1:26 left and yet, #9S-Texas A&M rallied to tie it on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off an inbound with 1.2 seconds on the clock.  It was a clutch shot but how did Houston allow a 3-pointer to be taken?  Had it not been for a couple of sneakers on the 3-point line (one a few inches, one a few millimeters), Texas A&M might have closed the gap faster.  In a foul-fest where bodies were falling everywhere, somehow Texas A&M outscored Houston 12-3 in about 45 seconds with the clock stopping so many times.  The Cougars had four (!) players foul out (all starters) including their top 3 scorers and held on in overtime.  Houston won 100-95, becoming the 5th team in triple digits this tournament and making their 5th straight Sweet 16.

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Issue # 4.2.1 “Zags = Sweet 16” (3/23)

36th Season of Best Reality TV Show on CBS


Saturday, March 23, 2024 
Larzby alone in first plus MissT-3 jumps 84 places to 39rd

BUILDING A CATAPULT AT VETERANS PARK, CYPRESS, CA (smt) – #5MW-Gonzaga trailed #4MW-Kansas 49-48 early in the second half but then ripped off a 32-4 run (to lead 80-53) to make their 9th straight Sweet 16, winning 89-68.  #1W-UNC trailed 28-20 to #9W-Michigan St but went on a 23-3 run to advance to their 36th Sweet 16.  #2MW-Tennessee couldn’t shoot from three (3/25), had a ton of turnovers, but still had a 9-point lead at the half and eventually topped #7MW-Texas, who were much worse.  #2W-Arizona and #2E-Iowa St were in a battle early in the second half before pulling out double-digit wins.  #3E-Illinois led 50-24 and 75-43 in their rout of #11E-Duquesne, finally allowing their coach to retire!

In a clean game, #11MW-Oregon didn’t attempt a free throw until 26.4 seconds left up by 2 because #3MW-Creighton need to foul.  But what a big attempt it was, as Oregon could have gone up by 4 but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 which the Bluejays took advantage to tie the game at 62 and send the game to overtime.  But we did two overtimes with Creighton scoring the first 15 points in the 2nd OT (eventually outscoring the Ducks 15-2, with Oregon’s only two points at free throws at the end) to prevent the upset.

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Issue # 3.1.2 “The Taming of the Tiger” (3/22)

K-drama "Pyramid Game" hopefully streaming in USA soon


Friday, March 22, 2024 
A 3-way tie for first plus Alfred Moniaga jumps 126 places to 23rd

HOME, CA (smt) – You gotta hit your free throws.  Last year semifinalist #8E-FAU rallied from 9 points down late to lead by 2 and a chance to add to it but missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and #9-Northwestern tied it at 58 to send it to overtime (2nd OT game including First Four).  Northwestern then dominated the OT period 19-7 to advance.  Last year semifinalist #5E-San Diego St did not make a FG in the last 4:11 but hit 8/10 free throws to hold off #12E-UAB by three.  #4E-Auburn missed their last 3 free throws in the final 10 seconds in a 2-point loss to #13E-Yale, who hit 5/6 in the last 45 seconds.  The Tigers lost a starter to an ejection just 3:01 into the game, lost a player to injury in the final scramble, and blew a 10-point lead with 7:27 left.

Last year semifinalist #1E-UConn jumped to a 42-10 lead (eventually built to 55-19) in routing first-timer #16E-Stetson, 91-52.  #4W-Alabama (109 with loser #13W-College of Charleston scoring 96), #3W-Baylor (92), #9E-Texas A&M (98) each scored more than 90 with #10S-Colorado and #7S-Florida each reaching 100 points in the Buffaloes prevailing 102-100 on a side jumper that bounced a few times on the rim before falling in with 1.7 seconds left.

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Issue # 2.1.1 “KY Gets KO’d” (3/21)

Netflix's "3 Body Problem" debuts today!


Thursday, March 21, 2024 

A record 195 entries from 124 people with 20 teams picked to be champion

RECOERING FROM HONOLULU (smt) – #3S-Kentucky was the best 3-point shooting team in the nation but it was#14S-Oakland with 15 threes (10 (!) from Jake Gohlke, who came off the bench) to stun the Wildcats (who were 9/28 from three) 80-76.  Three 11 seeds advanced with #11E-Duquesne, #11MW-Oregon, and #11S-NC State pulling off upsets.  #9W-Michigan St pulled off the small upset (there were highly favored to win) but #10W-Nevada blew a 56-39 lead (getting outscored 24-4 the rest of the way) to #7W-Dayton and #10E-Drake blew a late 8-point lead to #7E-Washington St or it could’ve been worse. 

A lot worse, as #4MW-Kansas nearly blew all of a 20-point second half lead (#13MW-Samford came with one with 5 minutes left) and needed a bad call to put away Samford.  While the Kansas player fell on a dunk attempt, replays showed a clean block but a foul was called.  That changed momentum and Kansas survived 93-89.  #3MW-Creighton, #2W-Arizona, #1W-UNC, #3E-Illinois, #7MW-Texas (holding #10MW-Colorado St to just 11 points in the 1st half), #5MW-Gonzaga, #2E-Iowa St, and #2MW-Tennessee picked up double-digit victories.

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Admin Picks

Being our 29th year and 2024 is a leap year, my nickname is Fabone’s Leap Year and the link will take you to my picks.

As usual, I did submit a second entry, The 5 Body Problem (the 5 players per team on the court), as after watching the 30 (!) episode Chinese version (on Amazon Prime Video and Peacock (though the subtitles seem off)) and listening to The 3 Body Problem audio book, I’m hooked. I’m hoping the Netflix version is good, even though they made it more international.

David’s pick should be by morning [Edit: Here is his pick The Mighty Mobelfakta!]. We unofficially have 170 entries!

Issue # 1.0.1 “Purdue Gets a Do-Over”


The Lymphoma Research Foundation’s mission is to eradicate lymphoma and serve those impacted by this blood cancer.

Sunday, March 17, 2024  **HELP support the Lymphoma Research Foundation (deadline Tue 4:00 pm PDT **)
Our 29th pool will be without UCLA and the last of the Pac 12 as a major conference

SUNNY CHERRY BLOSSOM SEATTLE, WA (smt) – After the top 12 seeds failed to make the Final Four for the first time, let’s hope the seeding this year matters.  Defending champ #1E-UConn was the #1 overall seed with #1W-UNC returning to glory as the last #1 seed.  #1S-Houston and #1MW-Purdue returned as #1 seeds with Purdue getting a chance to wash away last year’s loss to #16 FDU.  When #10aMW-Virginia lost to #16 UMBC in 2018, the next year they got a #1 seed again and won the title (2019).  UConn is the only #1 seed to actually win their conference tournament (Big East).

There is no UCLA or USC but the Pac 12 did manage to get 4 teams in with #10bS-Colorado getting a First Four berth.  Of course, the Pac 12 will just Oregon St and Washington St next year as 10 teams bolted to 3 different major conferences.  All 3 got at least 5 teams in with the Big 12 getting 8, the Big Ten 6, and the ACC 5.  The SEC also got 8 teams with the Mountain West getting a whopping 6. 

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14th HWCI NCAA First Four for Charity (Due 4 pm PDT Tuesday)

While you decide who will win the tourney, for the 14th year I’m doing the HWCI NCAA First Four for Charity, where I will donate $2 per entry to a charity (and if we get more than 25 responses, I’ll chip in an additional $25), this year to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, whose mission is to eradicate lymphoma and serve those touched by this disease. It is a 99% 4-star charity.

My Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma a few months before my Dad passed away and is doing well after the treatment. She still wants to mow the lawn and still works part-time and at age 78, she’s been doing well mentally and physically. So I will chip in the first $78 in honor of her age. Plus, my company will match so every dollar will be doubled.

Last year, a record $1,554 was raised by us (that’s you!) to go to the American Lung Association. In 13 years, we have raised $4,691.20 for 13 different organizations.

This First Four for Charity is free and you just have to submit (you can comment on this post to enter, email, post to Facebook, tweet @HWCI_Pools) who the four First Four winners will be and by what point margin. The First Four games:

  • Howard vs Wagner
  • Virginia vs Colorado St
  • Montana St vs Grambling
  • Boise St vs Colorado

For example: Howard by 2 points, Virginia by 3 points, Grambling by 9 points, and Colorado by 4 points. Get your entry by 4 pm PDT Tuesday.  As a bonus, in the end, if we top our record of 194 entries this year, I’ll donate an additional $25.  Also, invite your friends and people can enter (since it’s free) this charity contest but not our main pool.

My picks: Howard by 3, Colorado St by 7, Grambling by 1, Colorado by 4.

Thank you!

Stetson… maybe

The Stetson Hatters (yes, the Hatters!) edged Austin Peay Sunday to make their first NCAA tournament by winning the Atlantic Sun conference tournament. However, they are in danger of getting the First Four game according to ESPN’s bracketology and thus would have to win one game to make the proper 64 tournament, and become the 289th team to make the proper 64 in our 29-year HWCI NCAA Pool history.

Top conference seeds Grambling (SWAC) and Quinnipiac (MAAC) will hopefully rise to the occasion and join the Hatters (love that logo, did you see the hat?). Six others also hope to make their first bid.

The bracket comes out Sunday and let the madness begin! It will be our 29th HWCI NCAA Pool and hope you’ll join us.