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  • Issue # 25.2 “25 Years: The Teams”

    Posted on March 25th, 2020 - 2:30 am Scott No comments


    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. 

    Read the rest of this entry »
  • Issue # 10.4.2 “Duke and Kentucky KO’d”

    Posted on April 2nd, 2019 - 2:49 am Scott No comments


    Sunday, March 31, 2019 

    Carseroni 1st but stuck at 131; Just 5 can win pool and 2 guaranteed money

    MSU runs away

    HOME/DIGNITY HEALTH SPORTS PARK, CARSON, CA (smt)- #5MW-Auburn proved it could win without launching lots of threes (just 7 of 23) and knocked off their 3rd straight Blue Blood, #2MW-Kentucky, in overtime 77-71.  Although the rest of the team hit just 7 of 13 free throws, Jared Harper was 11-for-11 and hit all six in overtime and had 12 of the Tigers’ 17 OT points.  Auburn made its first Final Four and knocked off legendary programs Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky in consecutive games.   Each team had a chance in the final seconds as regulation ended at 60-60. 

    #2E-Michigan St complained that they shouldn’t have been in the same region as #1E-Duke despite one of the higher 2 seeds.  But they faced each other and produced a great game, with no team taking more than a 4-point lead in the final 17 minutes.  In the end, Duke’s RJ Barrett tried to take control from Zion Williamson and got the foul but missed the first of 2 free throws down 68-66 with 5.2 seconds left.  He tried to miss the second but actually made it meaning Duke now needed to foul four times (not being in the penalty yet).  After the first foul, with 4.7 seconds left, Duke misplayed the situation and Michigan St. ran away from the defenders and ran out the clock to reach their 10th Final Four, winning 68-67.

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  • ​Issue # 12.5.1 “Revenge is Sweet”

    Posted on April 5th, 2015 - 1:07 pm Scott No comments


     – The Final @ Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium) –

    (Los Angeles, CA)
    (Houston, TX)

    Saturday, April 4, 2015   *** HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELUCKY2 ***


     Big Luther jumps to 1st and is only one guaranteed money; 10 others vying for remaining 5 spots 

    FULLERTON/SANTA ANA, CA (smt)- #1S-Duke quickly trailed #7E-Michigan St 14-8 before going on a dominating 36-11 run to easily give Coach K his 9th finals appearance with a 81-61 win.  In a rematch of the 2014 Final Four, #1W-Wisconsin saw #1MW-Kentucky string an 8-0 run to go down 60-56 with 6:37 left but the Badgers answered back with their own 8-0 run to go up 64-60 with 1:06 left.  With perfection slipping away, the Wildcats had an offensive foul, missed a free throw, and shot a 3-point airball as the Badgers advance to the title game for the first time since 1941 with a 71-64 win.  Offensive rebounding, key 3’s, and a gift call on a basket after the shot clock ran to zero helped Wisconsin snap Kentucky’s 38-game winning streak. While not as young as last year, Kentucky fielded two Freshman, two Sophomores, and a Junior and again ran into a more mature team in Wisconsin (two Seniors, two Juniors, and a Sophomore) like they did last year in UConn in the title game.  Although I needed Wisconsin to win to have any chance at the pot (The Bracket Awakens), I would have loved Kentucky to go 40-0 as history is cool.

    The Bracket Awakens (6th, 131 pts), Buccos 2 (16th-Tied, 126), Flying Ace (23rd-T, 124), and Baba’s Bad Boys (23rd-T) all got both teams correct (only 83 have done so before) and all but the latter still have a chance to win money.  But it’s Big Luther who Read the rest of this entry »

  • Issue # 10.4.1 “Close Doesn’t Count”

    Posted on March 29th, 2015 - 3:30 am Scott No comments


    Saturday, March 29, 2015


     Will I Ever Win This leads by 8; only 8 can win it all 

    The Happy Couple

    The Happy Couple

    CERRITOS, CA/CHINO HILLS, CA (smt)- Why Chino Hills?  Well, it has finally happened as my esteemed co-admin and co-creator of this pool, The Mighty Mobelfakta, has finally found someone to spend the rest of his life with and we couldn’t be happier.  Myself (’02 champ Gold Fabone) and my wife SpAva, our current leader Will I Ever Win This, last year’s champ Badzy (David’s sister), ’95 champ Bix Pix, Bramlet Aberchrombie and his wife (’99 champ Shary Bobbins), former players Jayloc and Uthpope, and The Flying Elvi were there to celebrate.  It was a wonderful ceremony and a great reception.  And it ended early enough for those to listen to the 2nd half of a Badger-Wildcat match that was dominated long-range by #1W-Wisconsin.  Helped by #2W-Arizona weirdly playing for the next possession despite being down by 5 and less than a minute to go that ended in a shot clock beating 3 by Wisconsin, the Badgers reached the Final Four for the 2nd straight year, beating the Wildcats in the Region Final for the 2nd straight year, 85-78.  Wisconsin hit 10 3’s in the 2nd half led by Sam Dekker’s 5 including two daggers in the last two minutes.  The Badgers missed 5 free throws in the last five minutes yet Arizona didn’t foul but allowed 30+ seconds to run off the clock each time.

    In the second game, #3MW-Notre Dame gave undefeated #1MW-Kentucky everything they got but couldn’t build their lead bigger than 6 with 5:22 left.  The Wildcats slowly chipped away and didn’t panic as they calmly scored the last four points in the last 2:36 to stun the Irish, 68-66, to reach the Final Four for the 2nd straight year (4th straight time doing it (did not qualify in 2013)).  John Calipari has now led the only 3 teams with 38 wins (2 with Kentucky, 1 with Memphis) and could set a record of 39 with a Final Four win Saturday.  It’ll be interesting to see if Kentucky is now wounded with the close call or inspired and will finish the Final Four with ease.

    There were 57 who went 2-0 including Will I Ever Win This who now has Read the rest of this entry »

  • Issue # 15.6.1 “Freshmen Hazed”

    Posted on April 8th, 2014 - 6:51 pm Scott No comments


    5th HWCI World Cup Pool Begins in May

    2014 NCAA Champions
    UConn Huskies
    (New York, NY)
    The University of Connecticut Huskies
    4th Title: ’99, ’04, ’11, ’14
    2014 Winningest Conference
    Southeastern Conference The Southeastern Conference
    3rd time: ’06, ’07, ’14
    Badzy is only person to pick UConn and rallies to win our 20th pool title

    CERRITOS, CA (smt)- The veteran starting lineup of #7E-UConn, some who stayed on despite the Huskies being banned from postseason last year, came out hungry against the all-freshmen starting lineup from #8MW-Kentucky jumping to a 30-15 lead and eventually hanging on to a 60-54 victory.  The Huskies never trailed in winning their 4th title (the same number as Duke!), all in the last 16 years and two years removed from retired coach Jim Calhoun and one year removed from a postseason ban due to academics.  While UConn was a perfect 10/10 from the charity stripe, Kentucky bookended 6/7 by missing 7 of their first 13 free throws and their last three (including a front end of a one-and-one).  Senior Shabazz Napier, while taking some ill-advised or quick shots, scored 22 pts and had 6 rebounds as he was one of the few who stayed on through the postseason ban.  This capped a wild tournament partially aided by bad seeding by the selection committee and that sometimes, just the name on the shirt (with a little luck) is enough to propel you to the finals.

    In a strange twist, all 8 entries alive to win money were guaranteed to finish at least tied for 6th (before the dreaded tiebreaker), meaning two would lose the tiebreaker and go home empty handed.  But first, Read the rest of this entry »

  • Issue # 13.5.1 “#7 vs #8, Oy Vey!”

    Posted on April 6th, 2014 - 3:35 am Scott No comments


    Bigtenfan2 is still holding on to 1st while 8 are “guaranteed” with a chance to finish in money
    UConn HuskiesFOUNTAIN VALLEY/ROSEMEAD, CA (smt)- The UConn Huskies have Florida’s number.  The Gator’s 30-game winning streak came to a screeching halt bookended by losses to the Huskies four months apart.  The last #1 seed to fall made UConn the first #7 seed in the championship.  The Huskies 63-53 win, led by DeAndre Daniels 20 points and 10 rebounds, means they are now 7-1 in the Final Four and will try to win their 4th title in 16 years.

    Kentucky WildcatsIn a wild game that saw Kentucky go on a 15-0 second half run only to be answered by Wisconsin’s 15-4 run, Aaron Harrison made his 3rd straight go-ahead 3-pointer in 3 games, this time with 5.7 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 74-73 win over the Badgers.  The Kentucky freshmen (66 points, a Final Four record) once again Read the rest of this entry »

  • Issue # 11.4.2 “Big 10 Implosion”

    Posted on April 1st, 2014 - 6:28 pm Scott No comments



    Bigtenfan2 is our leader but can’t get any more points
    UConn HuskiesCERRITOS, CA (smt)- Two Big Ten Michigan-based schools fell while the only 2 teams who have won 3 titles in our HWCI NCAA Pool era advanced to the Final Four.  #7E-UConn rode the home away from home Madison Square Garden crowd to a 60-54 victory over #4E-Michigan St to reach the Final Four for the fifth time since 1999 (but their previous 4 trips have come from the West Region).  UConn once again was unstoppable from the free throw line, hitting 21 of 22.  Hard to believe UConn is back in the Final Four a year after being ineligible for the post-season and two years after Jim Calhoun left.  Once again, a dumb foul on a 3-point attempt sinks a team, and this time it allowed UConn to push the lead from 2 to 5 (hitting all 3 free throws) sealing the win.

    NCAA Titles Since 1995
    Year Sd Region Team
    1997 4 SE ARIZONA
    2006 3 M(MIN) FLORIDA
    2007 1 MW FLORIDA
    2008 1 MW KANSAS
    1996 1 MW KENTUCKY
    1998 2 S KENTUCKY
    2012 1 S KENTUCKY
    2013 1 MW LOUISVILLE
    2002 1 E MARYLAND
    2000 1 MW MICHIGAN ST
    2005 1 E(SYR) N CAROLINA
    2009 1 S N CAROLINA
    2003 3 E SYRACUSE
    1999 1 W U CONN
    2004 2 W(PHX) U CONN
    2011 3 W U CONN
    1995 1 W UCLA
    2001 1 E DUKE
    2010 1 S DUKE

    Kentucky Wildcats#8MW-Kentucky rallied and beat #2MW-Michigan, 75-72, on Aaron Harrison’s 4th straight 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left.  With the game tied and playing for the last shot, the long 3 wasn’t as ill-advised but it worked out (why Read the rest of this entry »

  • Update #2: Let’s do the Math (that) Counts

    Posted on March 20th, 2013 - 4:46 am Scott No comments

    Or view full update.

    Wednesday, March 20, 2013
    Issue # 2.0.2 "Let's Do the Math (That) Counts"
    [ Home | Blog  | Twitter | Facebook | Updates ]

    Our 3rd First Four for Charity will support MathCounts; Entry deadline is 9 a.m. PDT Thursday
    LEXINGTON PARK, MD (smt)- It’s happened, a team has knocked off the overall #1 seed in the first round… except Read the rest of this entry »

  • USC Wins Pac-10 Title

    Posted on March 14th, 2009 - 5:55 pm Scott No comments

    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.