Issue # 25.4 “25 Years: The Charities”


Thursday, April 16, 2020  ***HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON!!!***
[ 1-Entries | 2-Teams  | 3-Confs ]

A total of $325 this year donated to Direct Relief – COVID-19 Fund

SAFER-AT-HOME, CA (smt)- Well, they cancelled the tournament.  But they can’t cancel our good will.  For the 10th straight year, the HWCI NCAA First Four for Charity asked pool friends to reply back with quick answers to enter this free contest where I would donate $2 per entry to a worthy charity or cause.  This year, due to the extreme times we live in, was coronavirus-related and picked Direct Relief since they had a dedicated COVID-19 fund to donate directly to.  Direct Relief is coordinating with public health authorities, nonprofit organizations and businesses in the U.S. and globally to provide personal protective equipment and essential medical items to health workers responding to coronavirus.

1st First Four for Charity Email

Because there was no tournament, this year the question was “Who would you have picked to win the tournament?” instead of the usual First Four winners and margin of victory.  We did get 20 responses back and although we didn’t hit my stated target goal of 25 entries, I still will add in $25 for a total of $65.  Michael W and a very kind-hearted friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) will separately donate (since there is no pool, no sense for me to be the middle-man to collect funds) and add a combined $260 for a grand total of $325, our second highest donation-ever, after last year’s $460 to the Boys and Girls Club of America.  How did we get here?  Here is another 25 Year retrospective, this time on our HWCI NCAA First Four for Charity contest.

Curse the NCAA and their greed!  In ’11, there were going to be 68 teams (instead of 65) but instead of the worst 8 conferences playing for the four games, it would be just four, and the other four would be the last four at-large berths.  This meant that we went from a “don’t care” for Tuesday (didn’t matter who won #64/#65 Opening Round, every sane person would pick them to lose) to how do we deal with the 2 games featuring at-large teams on Tuesday/Wednesday?  Surely, #11-#13 teams have won before and people could pick them depending which team won.  Do we make them pick these First Four games by Tuesday?  No, not feasible.  We would just allow people to change their picks if they wanted after the First Four games.  Luckily, not many people did so it wasn’t a big logistical nightmare we thought (100 people suddenly changing their picks Wed night/Thu morning).

Continue reading »

Issue # 25.2 “25 Years: The Teams”


Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Ignoring Opening Round and First Four losers, we have seen at least one new team each year

EL SEGUNDO, CA (smt)- In the final AP pool, teams 2 through 7 are not your usual suspects with only Florida St (ACC), Baylor (Big 12), and Creighton (Big East) coming from the Power 5 conferences.  Gonzaga (WCC), Dayton (Atlantic 10), and San Diego St (Mountain West) would have provided some much needed parity.  But alas, none of those teams will count.  So without a tournament, here is another 25 Year retrospective, this time focusing on the teams who have made the tournament (the proper 64 that is). 

Top Seed in NCAA Tournament
Top Ranked Team to Win it All

So when the NCAA tried to mess up brackets by adding a 65th team (Opening Round 64v65) in 2001 due to the new Mountain West Conference taking away an at-large bid or when they added three more at-large teams to create the First Four (well, the First Round until 2016) in 2011, we ignored them.  The proper 64 bracket that starts Thursday at 9:15 am is what matters in this pool.  If you pick your bracket early you’ll just select “Team A/Team B” to advance and as always, you can change your picks up until the deadline.

Duke has been the top seed (#1 overall) 6 times including four in a row from ’99-’02  with Kentucky (4) and Kansas (3) right behind as shown in the table on the left.  From ’95-’03 the top seed was determined by the final AP pool before the tournament and from ’04-present the top seed is announced as part the NCAA’s ranked seeds listing.  UMass (’96) is probably the oddest top seed and local favorite UCLA was only the top seed in our first pool in ’95.  Five top seeds went on to win the tournament (’95 UCLA, ’01 Duke, ’07 Florida, ’12 Kentucky, ’13 Louisville).  Only twice did the top 2 seeds make the final (’99 Duke v UConn, ’05 Illinois v UNC) and twice did none of the top 4 seeds make the Final Four (’06, ’11).   UConn, however, has won the most titles (4) with Duke, UNC, and Kentucky winning 3 each in the past 25 years.  A #1 seed has won the title 17 times with UConn (#7E) the worst seed to win the title. 

Continue reading »

Issue # 12.4.4 “Two 1-Time Champs and Two #1s Battle It Out” (3/30)


1st ever matchup: LAFC v LA Galaxy

2018 NCAA FINAL FOUR @ San Antonio, Texas
First Semifinal Second Semifinal
Atlanta, GA

Hosted by Georgia Tech (ACC)
Phillips Arena
Los Angeles, CA

Hosted by Pepperdine U. (WCC)
Staples Center
Boston, MA

Hosted by Boston College (ACC)
TD Garden
Omaha, NE

Hosted by Creighton U. (Big East)
CenturyLink Center
Loyola U. Chicago Ramblers U. of Michigan Wolverines Villanova U. Wildcats Kansas U. Jayhawks
Loyola University Chicago Ramblers (32-5) University of Michigan Wolverines (32-7) Villanova University Wildcats (34-4) Kansas University Jayhawks (31-7)
Missouri Valley Conference – Champs
Chicago, Illinois

2nd Final Four (’63
1-time champion
def #6 Miami (Fla) 64-62
#3 Tennessee 63-62
#7 Nevada 69-68
#9 Kansas St. 78-62

Big Ten Conference – Champs
Ann Arbor, Michigan

8th Final Four (’64, ’65, ’76, ’89, ’92, ’93, ’13)
1-time champion
def #14 Montana 61-47
#6 Houston 64-63
#7 Texas A&M 99-72
#9 Florida St 58-54
Big East Conference – Champs
Villanova, Pennsylvania

6th Final Four (’39, ’71, ’85, ’09, ‘16
2-time champions
def #16b Radford 87-61
#9 Alabama 81-58
#5 West Virginia 90-78
#3 Texas Tech 71-59
Big 12 Conference – Champs
Lawrence, Kansas

15th Final Four (’40, ‘52, ’53, ’57, ’71, ’74, ’86, ’88, ’91, ’93, 02, ’03, ’08, ’12)
3-time champions
def #16 Penn 76-60
#8 Seton Hall 83-79
#5 Clemson 80-76
#2 Duke 85-81 (OT)

Five can win pool and 18 are still alive in race to finish

LEGOLAND IN CARLSBAD, CA (smt)- On the road to San Antonio, all four teams managed to get the automatic bid as their conference tournament champion.  Coincidentally, Loyola-Chicago and Michigan both won their tournaments a week before Selection Sunday and face each other in the first semifinal.  The Big Ten, in an effort to get their tournament at Madison Square Garden, held their tourney a week earlier than usual.  That’s because Madison Square Garden hosts the Big East tournament, which was won by Villanova.  Both Villanova and Kansas won the day before Selection Sunday, earned #1 seeds, and will face each other in the second semifinal.  This left only the SEC with their championship on Selection Sunday (oh yeah, the Pac 12 final was also on Saturday though it’s debatable if they are still one of the Big Five conferences after their poor showing) as more one-bid leagues have the championship on Selection Sunday.

Both Loyola-Chicago and Michigan faced their expected seeded teams in the first weekend but then faced #7 and #9 seeds in the second weekend.  Both have also won just one championship and are in the midwest United States.  Both Villanova and Kansas have faced their expected seeded teams within one rank (2/3, 4/5, 8/9) and will face each other, the best possible matchup.  Villanova has won all four games in double-digits while Kansas has won their last three games by four points, needing overtime vs. Duke.

As we look forward to crowning our 22nd different champion in 24 years, 18 entries are still hoping to finish in the top 6.  The difference between 1st and 6th is $545.  No one picked Loyola-Chicago but Continue reading »

Issue # 10.4.2 “It Was the Worst of Games, It Was the Best of Games” (3/25)


Solo - A Star Wars Story coming soon

Philly Eagles Again jumps into lead and can win in 6 of 8 scenarios; Bonus2 might be in play

Grayson Allen buzzer beater attempt just missesALHAMBRA/LA MIRADA, CA (smt)- #1E-Villanova was uncharacteristically bad, hitting just 33% of their shots and making just 4 threes on 4 of 24 (16.7%) shooting but still won their fourth straight double-digit game in the tournament, downing #3E-Texas Tech, 71-59.  The Wildcats kept themselves in the game by collecting 20 offensive rebounds (of their season-high 51 rebounds) as Texas Tech played just as poorly shooting 33% as well and missing layup after layup and could not build the momentum needed for an extended run.  At one point in the telecast, CBS put up a graphic that the Red Raiders had missed 15 of 21 layups (with 6:35 to go), a crazy stat that showed the Villanova was very beatable with a competent team.  The slow claw saw Texas Tech within five (52-47) and the ball with 6:01 left but, you guessed it, Texas Tech missed a layup (blocked) and it was soon 7 points.  Villanova hit their last 12 free throws in icing the game.

In the Midwest, a typical blue blood matchup turned into a classic heavyweight fight with #1MW-Kansas getting the game-tying three to send the game into overtime where Malik Newman scored all 13 points in knocking out #2MW-Duke, 85-81.  No team had more than a 7 point lead and there were 11 ties and 18 lead changes, most of them in the second half.  After Duke hit a 3 to go ahead 64-62 with 5:55 left, there were six more lead changes and then the final tie at the end of regulation.  In the first 3:09 of overtime there were five lead changes and two ties.  Incredible game.  Only blemish was a poor block call on Duke’s Wednel Carter Jr who was set for what seemed like seconds but was still called for his fifth foul with 2:57 left with Duke up by 1.  Duke star Grayson Allen nearly ended the game on a buzzer beater but his bank shot rolled in and out and he ended his career with no field goals in the last 33 minutes.  Kansas finally won an Elite 8 game after losing the past two year’s Elite 8 games.

In the pool, 29 went 2-0 including Philly Eagles Again who jumps into the lead with 109 pts.  SacKings4Ever and Larzby remain tied for 2nd (107) while Slamam51-3 moved into 4th (105).  Five went 3-1 for the round with only Walkure Ga Tomaranai (31st-Tied, 92) not having a chance at money.  Kona Coast Sliders 1 rose to 10th (T, 98) and STORMY Fever-Catch It moved into a tie for 22nd (95).  26 went 0-2 and 18 went 0-for-the-Final-Four.  iWillLose got Villanova but still in last with 54 points.  He could finish 152nd if Villanova over Kansas.

Bob G has locked up at least a tie for first in 7 of 8 Final Four scenarios.  His Philly Eagles Again wins outright if Villanova beats Kansas (4 scenarios) or Michigan beats Kansas in the title game (1 scenario) and his  Continue reading »

Issue # 9.3.2 “Incredible Comeback and Midwest Showdown”

If you notice on the right side now, you can now easily click the links for the latest Bonus Possibilities and the Worksheet, a green/red view of who got what picks right.  As always, if you longed to see yourself near the top of the heap in the past, Scott’s Updates is the Archive page for all information.  And if you’re wondering what Kansas was doing in the latter part of the game (probably what Memphis was doing in the ’08 championship game vs Kansas), call on Mystery Incorporated led by Scooby Doo (seriously, this is the best Doo yet with biting humor and an overall Lost-type mystery that plays out bit by bit in all 52 eps)!

Read below or view original update.

[The best reincarnation of Scooby Doo; airing final eps weekdays 5/4 ET/CT on Cartoon Network]

Friday, March 29, 2013 
Issue # 9.3.2 "Incredible Comeback and Midwest Showdown"
[ Home | Blog  | Twitter | Facebook | Updates ]

ChasCroix and The Rat Pack nearly in the money
CERRITOS, CA (smt)- So you blew a 14-point lead with 6:50 left and an unfortunate free throw miss allowed you to blow a 5-point lead with 21 seconds left.  But you’ve dominated the paint (finishing with 60) yet in a tie game take your time to take a 3-pointer?  Then in overtime, Continue reading »

Freeze frame

So what does Kansas do in the final few minutes that totally makes the other team change their play, make stupid mistakes, and fall apart?  Purdue, UNC, and Ohio St had the game in the bag… and all  lost.  Which is good news for Quinnsanity, Lots of Losers, and Nwspring 1, who are all now guaranteed money.  An interesting scenario if Kentucky wins as four will vie for 6th place with several possibilities of a split 6th place prize.  Who will win?

If KENTUCKY beats KANSAS in the final, then the possible winners are...

Continue reading »

Jonna Rocks!

Wow.  Wow.  Wow.  The first #1 seed falls and who would’ve expected it to be Kansas?  Well, Jonna Rocks did.  She rocketed up 35 spots from a tie for 77th to a tie for 42nd.  How heavy a favorite was Kansas?  64 picked them to win, 83 had them in the Final, and 96 had them in the Final Four.  Wow.  Wow.  Wow.

A week away…

Well, next Thursday at 9 am PDT will be the deadline for entries in possibly, the last 65-team bracket.  Selection Sunday is four days away.  If Arizona doesn’t win the Pac-10 tournament, that will leave only Kansas as the lone team to be in every one of our brackets since we started in 1995.  We also may have as few as one newcomer to our bracket (Wofford) which would be the fewest since just four new (since 1995)  teams made it in 2007.  Let’s go Quinnipiac and Lehigh (which lost a play-in game in 2004 and thus didn’t make our bracket — see we treat the play-in game as not the REAL tournament)!

EDIT:  Damn, Quinnipiac.  Go Lehigh! Actually, if Wofford plays in the play-in game and loses, we could have no new teams!

USC Wins Pac-10 Title

Whoa… now I gotta pick them to make the 2nd round.  There’s one loss in my bracket already.  This is probably the final nail in Arizona’s coffin in extending their steak of 24 straight tourneys.  That gives the Pac 10 5 teams in the tourney, which is already one too many.  No room for ‘Zona to sneak in this time.  Barring some extreme generosity by the selection committee, Arizona and Kentucky failing to make the tourney will only leave Kansas as the lone team to be in every bracket since our pool started in 1995.