Issue # 7.3.1 “Zags-UCLA Did Not Disappoint”


Thursday, March 23, 2023 

March Sadness
 takes the lead as 1 of 4 to go 3-1; 81 entries still alive

HOME, CA (smt) – #7E-Michigan St rallied from five down late to send the game into the tournament’s first overtime and led 92-90 but #3E-Kansas St scored 8 of the last 9 points to win 98-93.  K-State’s Markquis Nowell set a tournament record with 19 assists (while adding 20 points and 5 steals) as the last Big Ten team was eliminated (they started with a tournament-high 8).  #4W-UConn never trailed and used an early 14-0 run and at one point led by 29 in a 88-65 win over #8W-Arkansas.

#9E-Florida Atlantic went on a 18-2 run to turn a 39-33 deficit into a 51-41 lead that they did not relinquish in upsetting #4E-Tennessee, 62-55.  The FAU Owls won their 34th game (#1MW-Houston hopes to join them tomorrow) and makes their first Elite 8 in just their second appearance. 

What is it about #3W-Gonzaga and #2W-UCLA in the tournament?  In 2006 (Sweet 16), UCLA rallies from a 13-point halftime deficit by scoring the last 11 points of the game in 3:26 to win by 2 and end Adam Morrison’s Gonzaga career.  In 2021 (Final Four), UCLA rallied from 5 points down in overtime to tie it only to have the Zags’ Jalen Suggs banked a near half-court buzzer beater to win it. 

So 2023?  Could it be a bore like 2015 (Sweet 16, Zags won by 12) as short-handed UCLA took a 13-point halftime lead?  Nope, as Gonzaga outscored UCLA by 23 to lead 72-62 with 2:30 left as UCLA had not scored a field goal in ten minutes (shades of 2006).  Great comeback but a rout.  Nope, as UCLA finally scored a basket with 1:14 left and got the foul to cut the lead to 6.  Another layup+free throw cut it to 3 with 45 seconds left.  The Zags helped missing 4 of 5 free throws and UCLA hit a 3 with 13 seconds left to take the lead by 1.  A ten-point turnaround in just over one minute (shades of 2006).  But the Zags’ Julian Strawther hit a very long three with 7 seconds left and a subsequent UCLA turnover just about ended it.  Just about, because with 1.1 seconds left down by 3 (cause the Zags missed another free throw), UCLA still managed (though it would’ve went to review) a decent half-court three that just banked off (shades of 2021) giving Gonzaga the 79-76 victory in Las Vegas.

15 people lost UCLA as their champ while Soccerwife (12th-Tied, 82 pts) lost Michigan St.  No one has their Final Four intact but 44 can still get 3 of 4 teams. 

None of the top 2 teams in the East and West made the Elite 8 but four did get three of the games correct including March Sadness who is our new leader with 92 points and EMAW who moved into 2nd (91).  The other two also moved up as Donating $10 is now tied for 15th (81) and Wildcatin23 is tied for 25th (79).  72 went 0-4 today. 

With 2,048 possible outcomes, just 81 are still alive.  26 can still win the pool with EMAW with the best chance at 17.1% thanks to a UConn over Alabama final and Kansas St joining them in the Final Four.  Jah Lives-2 (3rd-T, 89) still has the best chance at money with 64.5% (even though only got 1 of 4 games correct) but Samurai Jack (3rd-T) (64.3%) and March Sadness (63.1%) also have a greater than 60% to finish in the top 8.

PopTop1 is tied for 5th (86) but can’t win the pool while Wax Drip is tied for 121st (68) and can still win the pool (Kansas St champion).  ZippysWife is tied for 12th but is eliminated while Emilybama1 is tied for 150th (65) but can still get 7th place.  Buckeye Mike (8th-T, 83) is the highest entry without a champion (Purdue). 

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   Tids & Bits – Gonzaga’s last three put them at exactly 50% from the field… Gonzaga had 9 turnovers in the first half (leading to 15 UCLA points)… Kansas St shot 55.9%… just 8 of 52 games were one possession games (3 point margin or less) while 26 were double-digit wins… just 1 overtime game and no buzzer beaters (yet)… UCLA has the largest margin of victory (33) while Alabama and Kansas each scored 96 points… today, entries averaged just 0.84 wins (out of 4)… 69 picked Gonzaga, 58 picked UConn, 32 Kansas St, and 3 Florida Atlantic… just one So Cal teams alive (San Diego St)… That’s Right who clinched last (34) can get its last 4 points if Houston wins… the SEC went 0-2 leaving just #1S-Alabama and can’t get more than 13 wins now (was 18)… Gonzaga’s win eliminated 24 entries and 12 potential champions…

Do miss the NCAA Fast Break option (even though it had some commercials) as it would be nice to see both games without switching when one game is in commercial break…

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