Issue # 11.4.3 “What Happened?” (F4 Preview + FF Recap)


American Lung Association
2023 NCAA FINAL FOUR @ Houston, Texas

4th Final Four (’71 (Astrodome), ’11 (Reliant Stadium), ’16 (NRG Stadium))
 –  –  – 
Hosted by U. of Houston (American Athletic Conf) (3rd Final Four), Rice U. (Conf USA) (4th Final Four), Houston Christian U. (Southland Conf) (1st Final Four), and Texas Southern U. (Southwestern Athletic Conf) (2nd Final Four)
 – The Floor
First SemifinalSecond Semifinal
(Seed #17, NET #14, AP #18)

Louisville, Kentucky (7th Regional)

Hosted by U. of Louisville
(Seed #33, NET #13, AP #25)

New York City, New York (12th Regional)
– Hosted by Big East Conf and St. John’s U.
(Seed #20, NET #35, AP #16)

Kansas City, Missouri (16th Regional)

Hosted by Big 12 Conf
(Seed #13, NET #8, AP #10)

Las Vegas, Nevada (1st Regional)

Hosted by U. of Nevada, Las Vegas
San Diego St 
Florida Atlantic 
Miami (Florida) 
UConn (4 star) 
San Diego State University Aztecs (31-6) Florida Atlantic University Owls (35-3) University of Miami Hurricanes (29-7) University of Connecticut Huskies (29-8)
Mountain West Conference – Regular Season and Tourney Champs
San Diego, California
1st Final Four
def #12 College of Charleston 63-57
#13 Furman 75-52
#1 Alabama 71-64
#6 Creighton 57-56 
Conference USA – Regular Season and Tourney Champs
Boca Raton, Florida
1st Final Four
 def #8 Memphis 66-65
#16 Fairleigh Dickinson 78-70
#4 Tennessee 62-55
#3 Kansas St 79-76
Atlantic Coast Conference – Regular Season Co-Champs
Coral Gables, Florida

1st Final Four
def #12 Drake 63-56
#4 Indiana 85-69
#1 Houston 89-75
#2 Texas 88-81
Big East Conference (4th Place)
Storrs, Connecticut
6th Final Four (’99’04, ’09, ’11’14)
def #13 Iona 87-63
#5 Saint Mary’s 70-55
#8 Arkansas 88-65
#3 Gonzaga 82-54

Thursday, March 30, 2023 

At least $1,332 will be donated to American Lung Association; over $4,470 donated over 13 years

HOME, CA (smt) – Whereas last year we had four teams with a combined 61 Final Fours and 17 championships (20 including pre-NCAA) and each with at least 3 titles, this year we have 3 newbies joining #4W-UConn, who have 4 titles but all won in the past 24 years (this, its 6th Final Four).  Joining the Big East’s UConn is a member from the ACC, but not Duke, UNC, or Virginia, but #5MW-Miami (of Florida, not Ohio). Mid-majors join the fun as the Mountain West has #5S-San Diego St and Conference USA (who just won the NIT with North Texas beating fellow CUSA member UAB taking the title Wednesday in not-NYC) has #9E-Florida Atlantic.  Who would’ve thought the local team would be San Diego St and that two teams from Florida would be in the Final Four?

Seems like a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away that we were talking about defending champion #1W-Kansas not getting the Kansas City regional (they lost in the 2nd round), #1S-Alabama leading a strong SEC contingent (they lost in the Sweet 16 and the SEC had 9 wins after the first weekend but then went 0-3 in the Sweet 16), #1MW-Houston becoming the second team to play in their home city (Butler in Indy in 2010) since 1972 (they lost in Sweet 16), and #2W-UCLA succumbing to injuries (they did, losing to #3W-Gonzaga in another classic in Sweet 16).

Final FourThe Sweet 16 saw just 9 of 16 top seeded teams make it and the Elite 8 (first time no #1 seeds) saw just 1 of 8 top seeded teams participate with only Miami appearing in back-to-back Elite 8s (their only 2 appearances).  UConn has beaten all four teams by at least 15 points while FAU hasn’t beaten anyone by more than 8 points and have been in two one-possession games (only SDSU has had one).  Miami and UConn have each scored at least 80 points in three of the 4 games.  Miami has faced the best possible team in each of its four games (#12, #4, #1, #2) while SDSU has faced two double-digit seeds and #6S-Creighton in the end (okay, they did beat #1S-Alabama). 

FAU needed a controversial jump ball call in their first game (two Memphis players were calling time out but ref gave the jump ball) and subsequent game-winner with 2.5 seconds left in their first game and got #16E-Fairleigh Dickinson instead of #1E-Purdue in their second game.  Both SDSU and Miami survived their always tough #5/#12 matchup (with Drake being the most popular #12 upset pick). 

With no #1, #2, or #3 seeds left, five have already clinched money while 7 others will vie for the remaining three money spots as this is the first year we have 8 money spots available since we hit 190+ entries (194).  As long as UConn doesn’t win the title, current leader Robinson C (Samurai Jack) will become the first person to win 3 HWCI NCAA pools and would do so in his 22nd year.  Otherwise, it will be Winsome T (Jah Lives-2) winning the pool in their first year, the first time that will happen since 1999 (Lisa F).  Not surprisingly, the wins will be on Robinson’s 3rd entry or Winsome’s 2nd entry (each entered 3 times) as most primary brackets were torn up after the Sweet 16.  As a refresher, the top 8 prizes are:  $735/$370/$250/$185/$130/$95/$75/$60.

Someone will win the $40 Bonus for getting the winningest conference.  The Big East will win with either 10, 11, or 12 wins (if UConn wins the title).  14 eliminated entries can win this.

First Four for Charity Final StandingFor our 13th HWCI NCAA First Four for Charity free contest, a record-tying 30 people participated.   Four went 4-9 but Mike W has the best point differential at 39.  Three went 1-3 with Eamon H finishing last with a high point differential of 74.  Neetu G and Ron E both got #16bS-Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s win by 4 exactly.  Mike M had the worst pick, off by 36 picking #11aW-Nevada to win by 11 (they lost by 25).

Regardless of finish, the great news is that the American Lung Association, the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy, and research, will be getting a donation of at least $1,332.92 (just under $34 shy of matching last year’s record donation).  As part of the free contest, I (February Fabone) will chip in $60 ($2 for each entry) plus $25 for reaching 25+ people plus $25 for breaking the record number of entries of 178 (194).  In honor of my Dad who passed away due to Interstitial lung disease on February 25, I chipped in an extra $82 (his age).  But thanks to the generosity of the people of this pool, Anderson M (Feels Like ’83), Andy F (Lyle Lanley), Jeff2 H (Pac Attack til ’24), Jim M (Merman), John S (Mr Wizard), Keith J (Captain Illini), Leonard K (PAC-10 Rules!), Tom J (Kds911-1), and Vi P (Work From Homie) all donated a combined total of $474.46!  A heartfelt thanks and remember the final total will be doubled by my company (Raytheon).  The donation will be made in late April/early May so there is still time. 

We have averaged around $343.86 per year in donations and have contributed over $4,470 to help a variety of causes and organizations.  I’m taking suggestions for next year (barring a natural or human-made disaster forcing my hand to help).

   Tids & Bits – the top 5 teams predicted to win the title (Houston, Alabama, Kansas, Purdue, UCLA) are gone and of the four teams, only one (UConn, picked by 14) is still alive… SDSU is favored by 2 points and UConn by 5.5… Sporting News odds to win title: UConn 4:5 (55.6%), SDSU 4:1, Miami 4.75:1, FAU 6.25:1… at the start of the tournament, UConn was 15-1 odds to win title, Miami 40-1, SDSU 65-1, FAU 300-1… of the 16 games played by the 4 teams, only FAU’s win over FDU did not cover the spread… all eight Big Ten teams failed to reach the Final Four again, meaning the Big Ten is 0-26 the past three years… if you picked chalk, you would’ve won nothing, again – in fact, picking chalk every year would only yield a 2nd place money spot in 1997 (28 tourneys x $10 = $280 in, $60 won)… maybe a surprise to see SDSU but in the 2020 cancelled tournament, the 30-2 Aztecs were projected to be a #2 seed…

HWCI First Four for Charity

It would be nice to see a new team win the title, but of course, it will be UConn, as the #1s, #2s, #3s are cleared out…

© 1995-2023 HWCI Productions
HWCI circa 1990

Spread the love