Issue # 11.4.3 “First Four Unkind to Pac 12” (First Four Recap) (3/27)


We are a Christian organization working to help communities lift themselves out of poverty. For good.

At least $56 will be donated to World Vision; over $705 donated in 8 years

EL SEGUNDO, CA (smt)- Apparently the Selection Committee did watch Pac 12 basketball because they shafted one of the big 5 conferences for a good reason — they suck.  With any respect, USC would be easily in, UCLA and Arizona St would be 8/9 seeds, and Arizona, as the conference and tournament champ, would be at least a 3 seed.  Nope.  No USC, UCLA and Arizona St relegated to the First Four games, and champ Arizona dropped to a 4 seed and not in the West.  Well, the committee knew what it was doing as #11bE-UCLA choked down the stretch against #11aE-St. Bonaventure, 65-58, and #11aMW-Arizona St lost a close one to #11bMW-Syracuse, 60-56.  This was the first time a conference had two teams in the First Four and now have the distinction as the only conference to have two losers in the First Four in the same year.  UCLA’s Aaron Holiday was a turnover machine (10 of UCLA’s 20 total) including three in the last 30 seconds after the Bruins had rallied to tie the game at 58.  Arizona St had a 7 point lead with 7 minutes left before Syracuse, the last team in, went on an 8-0 run.  Certainly, the Pac 12 basketball teams matched the horrible post-season Pac 12 football had.

#16bE-Radford slowly outscored #16aE-LIU Brooklyn 12-3 in the final five minutes to get their first tournament win, 71-61.  There were 42 fouls and 30 turnovers in this grudge fest.  #16bW-Texas Southern broke open a 10-10 game and never looked back in routing #16aW-NC Central, 64-46.  Like a few of the Southwestern Athletic (SWA) Conference teams, Texas Southern played their first 13 games on the road against top teams and went 0-13 to start but won when it mattered, in the SWAC championship game and in the First Four game, their first ever tournament win.  Texas Southern’s 0-13 start was the worst ever for a tournament team and they became the first sub .500 team (15-19) to win a tournament game.  NC Central lost their second straight First Four game (last year).

The greatest upset is one of those “where were you when it happened” and I’ll always remember being at the Black Angus in Buena Park with my family and watching the game on the NCAA March Madness app on my iPad Air 2.  Stunned.  I even tweeted a cryptic message:  Watch TV now.  History in making? for anyone who didn’t bother to watch another #1 seed trash a #16 seed.  The way #16S-UMBC played was fun to watch, they never took the gas off the accelerator that most big programs do when they have a double-digit lead with 10 minutes left.  Kept the pressure and #1S-Virigina never responded.  Virginia wasn’t a #1 seed, they were the #1 overall seed, and despite losing a bench player who was just 4th on the team in scoring, were still heavily favored to make the Sweet 16 before they had to worry about not having De’Andre Hunter on the bench.  In fact, I compiled a few of the predictions below from all over the spectrum, post-Hunter injury.  The most interesting was the swarm concept as a bunch of people individually moved a token toward the most likely scenario, in this case Virginia – High Confidence. The concept here as that as everyone is moving their token to that spot, some will start to pull away and slow the swarm from getting to that spot too quickly, maybe out of pity, maybe out of spite.  But despite that, the swarm was still near certain.  Oh, and don’t forget your free Little Caesars pizza lunch combo on April 2nd – but only between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm, and if you’re still in line at 1 pm, you’re out of luck.


No chance – over by halftime… No chance – not cracking 50 points…
UMBC played two power-five schools this year (Arizona and Maryland) and lost those games by a combined 46 points. The Retrievers also have a crummy offense, ranking 208th in adjusted offensive efficiency. That’s not beating one of the all-time great defenses. — Bleacher Report

Virginia 65, UMBC 36. The Cavaliers additionally have held 12 teams this season to under 50 points and three teams to under 40. They will overwhelm the Retrievers early and have the game well underway by halftime. — Fansided Busting Brackets

Is this the Cavaliers’ year? We’ll see. Virginia shouldn’t have any issues here though. UMBC could have been interesting as a 14- or 15-seed, but it’s not beating UVA. VIRGINIA. —

Upset factor: Negligible. Without Hunter, Virginia might be vulnerable later in the tournament. Not the case, however, in the opener. — ESPN

Like most 16-1 games, this should be a mismatch. Virginia has the No. 1 defense in the land; UMBC ranks 208th in offense. The Retrievers might not crack 50.  Winner: Virginia — CNN
Even with the power of swarm, psychology can’t save UMBC… A chance for two of the other #16s, not UMBC…
The swarm is very confident that Virginia will take the win in this match up. This pick was made with 94 percent of the hive mind’s brain power, making it almost a certainty.— Inverse


Single: O.K., it’s a lot crazy, but give me No. 16 Texas Southern over No. 1 Xavier.  If anyone has the makeup to pull it off this year, it’s Texas Southern, which opened the season on a 13-game barnstorming tour of some of the best programs in the nation, losing all 13 but putting a scare into a handful.

Chris Johnson: No. 16 Penn over No. 1 Kansas. OK, so this is a lot crazy. You’re probably aware that a No. 16 has never beaten a No. 1 before, but the Quakers are far and away the best team on the No. 16 line in this year’s field, and they’re particularly adept at taking away something the Jayhawks do well. — Sports Illustrated

The computer says 99%… Even giving UMBC 22.5 pts, no one picked them to cover…
No. 1 Virginia (-22.5) vs. No. 16 UMBC
Winner: Virginia, 99 percent
Pick: Virginia -22.5 — Washington Post

CBS Sports
At least KenPom shows UMBC covering point spread… Take the 22 points! Someone believed in UMBC to cover…

According to the ESPN BPI, UVA has a 98.5-percent chance of defeating UMBC. ESPN predicts that the Wahoos will defeat the Retrievers by 23.6 points to advance to Sunday to face the winner of tonight’s game between Creighton and Kansas State.  According to KenPom, Virginia has a 97-percent chance of defeating UMBC. The predicted scored by KenPom is 69-49. —

The Cavaliers are one of the best teams in the nation, but can they cover this big number? They can cover the number, but I don’t think that they will. UMBC has been a decent defensive team and that defense should allow them to keep this one close, especially since the Cavaliers have not been a good offensive team. Virginia also just came off a very tough ACC tournament, so they may be a bit flat in this one, especially with the long layoff. Virginia will win this game, but I see UMBC being able to keep it within the big number and the clincher is the fact that the Retrievers are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 lined-games overall.  Pick: MD Baltimore County +22* —

For our 8th HWCI NCAA First Four for Charity free contest, 13 people participated (after finding six in my other spam email box) and no one got all four games correct. Our first entry, Eric C, was 2-0 after the first day with Neil O, likely due to the local UCLA bias.  Five went 2-0 on the second day but none could catch Eric C, who finished with a 3-1 record and low 27 point differential.  He actually nailed the last game exactly, Syracuse by 4, to win by 10 points over Mike M and Andy F who both went 3-1 but with a 37 point differential.  Scott T and Elizabeth W both went 1-3 with the latter finishing last by a point, a differential of 54.  Brian Z had the largest differential (66 pts) missing St. Bonny’s win by 32 (had UCLA by 25!) but was 2-2 and finished 11th.

The good news is that thanks to Neil O’s suggestion, World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization helping children, families, and their communities overcome poverty and injustice, will be getting at least $56, $26 directly from me with Charles D and Jeff2 H contributing a total of $30 to also help out.  I won’t be submitting the payment until next month, so there’s still plenty of time if you want to chip in ;-).  We have averaged over $88 per year in donations and have contributed over $705 to help a variety of causes and organizations.  Fortunately, there haven’t been any major disasters in March since the 2011 Japan Earthquake, which sparked my idea for this contest in the first place, so we have chosen educational, cancer research, humanitarian, local help, and fundraisers.  It would be nice to pick a non-political, non-scholarship diversity organization (although maybe an exception for United Negro College Fund or Hispanic Scholarship Fund, since my company will match).

I would like to think in the centuries that follow, archaeologists will mistakenly trace back 2018’s #11S-Loyola-Chicago’s Final Four run due to the fact we chose a Christian organization as our First Four for Charity which gave the Catholic school the spark that lit the fire that burnt the South order down.  Nope, it wasn’t Sister Jean.  Nope, it wasn’t the last second clutch shots in the final seconds in their first three games.  It was because we chose World Vision!  In any case, the fourth #11 seed to make the Final Four was a trendy pick to make the Sweet 16 (even my severely busted Walkure Ga Tomaranai had the Ramblers in the Sweet 16, 1 of 18 to do so).  Of course no one in their right mind would pick them to make the Final Four… well, except for BallerDollarCashMoney.  Their run for the five games saw only top seed #3S-Tennessee and first-round #6S-Miami as victims.  They have avoided #2S-Cinninatti (got #7S-Nevada), #1S-Virginia (got #9S-Kansas St), and #1W-Xaiver (gets #3W-Michigan).  What the future holds is anyone’s guess in this unpredictable but entertaining tournament.

   Tids & Bits – St. Bonaventure won their first tournament game in 48 years… LIU did not have a field goal in the last 7 minutes in shooting 30.4% for the game… Arizona St missed all 3 free throws in the 2nd half going 3-10 for the game… NC Central was abysmal, shooting 30.4% and 0/14 from long range… 9 picked Radford, 3 picked St. Bonny, 8 picked Texas Southern, and 7 picked Syracuse… Elizabeth W nailed the first game exactly, Radford by 10, but missed the next 3 games by 54 points… no one saw Texas Southern winning so big (18), with the closest being Andy  F who had them winning by 10… the 13 entries was our second lowest (11 in ’15 to support Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, which ironically was my biggest donation I had to write:  $122.00!)… the current tally of $56.00 is our lowest (previous low $69.00 in ’14 to support Friends of Renee (btw, good news on her condition))… if we had done an upset-weighted pool, BallerDollarCashMoney would have clinched first with Loyola-Chicago’s win, making Saturday evening’s and Sunday’s Elite 8 games and Final Four worthless — and that is kinda why we don’t do that type of pool…

The following takes place between 9 am Monday and 9 am Wednesday.  Events occur in real time.

Any ideas for charities for next year?  Let me know … 

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