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  • Issue # 25.6 “25 Years: The Prizes”

    Posted on April 23rd, 2020 - 1:12 am Scott No comments

    Archive

    Wednesday, April 22, 2020  **HAPPY 50th EARTH DAY**
    [ 1-Entries | 2-Teams  | 3-Confs  | 4-Charities  | 5-Payments ]

    25 YEARS:  $23,650 HAVE BEEN WON BY  88 PEOPLE
    Bob G is all-time earner with $1,120  but Robinson C and Darryn B are only two-time champs

    The Winners

    SAFER-AT-HOME W/REQUIRED FACE COVERING, CA (smt)- While a lot of American citizens will receive up to $1200 from the Federal government (and the rich getting some as well), a good number of us middle class folks won’t, and so we hope to win in the pool (not this year though).  While our largest pot was $1780, what was the largest prize an individual could win?  So here is another 25 Year retrospective, this time on the various HWCI NCAA prizes.

    Prize Distribution

    As stated in the last issue, 100% of each entry fee (including ours) goes into prizes.  Always has, always will.  So if there are 100 entries, then there will be $1,000 doled out.  I started doing an update on prizes but started getting into how intricate the payments worked and when I was done, wrote more than 1,900 words, so this was split up (Payments and Prizes).  So we’ve had 2,365 total entries over 25 years which means we have doled out $23,650 ($940.60 avg). 

    While we started off with just 3 prizes in ’95 (1st/2nd/3rd) we have expanded over the years to as many as 8 prizes in ’17 (1st-7th, Bonus).  We added a 4th place prize in ’98 if we got 25 or more entries and Scott H (1 year/1 entry, 1 prize/$20 total winnings) won the first 4th place prize ($20).  We added a $40 Bonus Prize in ’03 and Scott T (25/42, 5/$630) won the first Bonus.  We added a 5th place prize in ’08 if we got 100 or more entries and Jeff H (16/16, 3/$340) won the first 5th place prize ($60).  We added a 6th place prize in ’11 if we got 125 or more entries and Charles D (1 0/28, 1/$60) won the first 4th place prize ($60) with his 2nd entry.   We added a 7th place prize in ’17 if we got 165 or more but have only hit that once (’17).  Alex K (3/4, 1/$60) won the first 7th place prize ($60).

    We never thought the pool would be as big as it today which is why the 5th place prize never really crossed our minds until we hit the magic 100 entry milestone.  So while there were 75 entries in between 4th and 5th (25:100), we quickly added another prize 25 entries later (100:125).  When we jumped 29 entries from 149 to 178, it was so big that another prize seemed warranted, though we were hesitant.  But we decided to add the 7th place prize to get the top 7 prizes back up to over 4% of the total entries (7/165 4.2%).  We may not add an 8th until we hit 200 (8/200 4%) but we shall see.  We have dipped below that 165 entry mark for the last two years.  That “4%” has been keeping an average of 75% of the entries still alive after the first weekend which is good.  We don’t want too few top prize spots that too many entries are eliminated and skip the Sweet 16 but we want some stress and mortality.  We do have outliers such as the upset-heavy ’18 pool where 51.9% of the 156 entries were eliminated (’cause a lot of favorites lost including #1 Virginia losing to #16 UMBC) and the mostly chalk ’09 pool where just 7.0% of the 114 entries were eliminated.

    There have been 136 total prizes won by 96 different entries (88 people).  A quite healthy 24.1% (88/365) of all people have won something which I’m quite proud of because I like spreading the wealth and no one person has dominated.  Each person is allowed to enter up to 3 times.  Scott T has won the most times with 5 prizes ($630) including winning the pool in ’02.  He has submitted 42 total entries over 25 years.  His first entry has won 4 times (25 yrs, 4/$540), tying David F (25/26, 4/$490) for the most wins for an entry.  Including Scott T, a total of 7 people have won on at least two different entries.  Eric F is the only person to win on 3 different entries (1st entry in ’14, 2nd in ’17, and 3rd in ’19; 9/15, 3/$620).  Blakely H (10/28, 2/$315) is the only person to win on his/her 3rd entry twice.  Mike W (4/12, 1/$170) and Ron E (12/28, 1/$320) are the only others to win on his/her 3rd entry.  Dual and triple entries are quite common but no one has won a prize twice in the same year.  Yet.

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  • Issue # 25.5 “25 Years: The Payments”

    Posted on April 18th, 2020 - 10:03 pm Scott No comments

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    Saturday, April 18, 2020 
    [ 1-Entries | 2-Teams  | 3-Confs  | 4-Charities ]

    25 YEARS:  ONLINE PAYMENTS RULE TODAY
    Cash, check, and even money orders were how we got our money in the beginning

    1995 to 2020 Inflation

    SAFER-AT-HOME W/FACE COVERING, CA (smt)- With unemployment claims at record levels due to the effects of COVID-19, ten dollars is something to save now rather than spend on a really, cool betting pool.   While $10 in 1995 is now worth almost $17 ($16.97) in today’s dollars, our entry fee has never gone up.  Or think of it this way, the entry fee back in 1995 would be less than $6 ($5.90) today.  So you are getting more bang for you buck with each passing year.  What has been going up is the number of entries, and thus, the challenge of collecting all that money.  I the beginning there was just cash which would be handed to Andy F or David F and we had just 12 people to worry about in ’95.  But with 111 people like last year?  How do we do that?  So here is another 25 Year retrospective, this time on the various HWCI NCAA payments.

    Unlike a lot of other paid tournament pools out there, there is no administrative fee, free entry by the admins, or kickbacks taken by David or I, despite the vast number of hours working on the pool (and David funding to run the server our pool is run on).  100% of each entry fee (including ours) goes into prizes.  Always has, always will.  Like I said in the previous issue, any tips or “extra” people try to sneak in as “thanks”, I put right into the First Four for Charity donation.

    So if there are 100 entries, then there will be $1,000 doled out.  Now, every year, there are always stragglers and regulars that pay late or sometimes miss (when I get too lazy to remind again), but I always cover so there will be $1,000 to give out regardless if I’ve collected it all by the end of the tournament.  Most of these are my dear longtime friends who I think I’ll see soon to collect but family and work get in the way.  A lot have given up and gone the online payment or check way but there are a few I’ll have to remind at the next BBQ. 

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  • Issue # 25.4 “25 Years: The Charities”

    Posted on April 17th, 2020 - 11:48 am Scott No comments

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

    25 YEARS:  10 DIVERSE CHARITIES
    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).

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  • Issue # 25.3 “25 Years: The Conferences”

    Posted on April 16th, 2020 - 10:49 am Scott No comments

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    Tuesday, April 7, 2020 [ 1-Entries | 2-Teams ]

    25 YEARS:  38 CONFERENCES HAVE EXISTED IN OUR POOLS
    30-32 automatic bids each year, 9 conf never getting more than 1 bid

    Teams and Titles by Conference

    EL SEGUNDO/HOME, CA (smt)- Would the Big Ten (B10) have gotten a record 12 (of 14) teams into the tournament?  More likely 10 which would’ve been the second-highest ever (Big East (BE) 11 in ’11).  Would the Big Ten top the record 19 wins by the Atlantic Coast (ACC) in ’16?  But we’ll never know.  So without a tournament, here is another 25 Year retrospective, this time focusing on the conferences who have made the tournament (the proper 64 that is).

    What we do know is that for the past 25 years, 38 conferences have existed with only the American West (AW) (’95-’96) and Great West (GW) (’10-’13) not putting any teams in (no automatic bid due to not enough teams in conference those years).  Currently, all 32 Division I conferences get an automatic bid (though again, four of the worst conference tournament winners will vie in First Four).  Nine conferences have never gotten an at-large bid.  From ’01-’10 the two lowest auto bid tournament champions (team #64 and #65) played in the Opening Round game.  From ’11 to present, the four lowest auto bid champions play in the First Four.  13 conferences have put their auto bid team in the Opening Round/First Four with the Southwestern Athletic (SWA) doing it 11 of 19 years.  Because they have lost 9 of those Opening Round/First Four games, the SWA have only placed a team in the proper 64 bracket 16 of 25 years.

    The Atlantic 10 (A10) is a perfect 3-0 in the First Four with five others 2-0 (America East (AE) – keeping a streak of all 25 years with just one team in proper 64, Big West (BW), Colonial Athletic (CAA), Ohio Valley (OVC), and Summit (SUM)).  The Pac-12 (P12) is 3-4 (including losing both in ’18, the only conference to ever have 2 teams in First Four) while the Big 12 (B12) has appeared just once (won in ’17).  The Northeast (NEC) has appeared in 7 straight First Four games (’13 to present) going 3-4 (4-5 overall).  The Mid-Eastern Athletic (MEA) has lost 3 straight First Four games (’17 to present) (3-6 overall).  Despite this, the MEA actually has 3 wins in the tournament (#15 Coppin St ’97, #15 Hampton ’01, and #15 Norfolk St in ’12).

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  • Issue # 25.2 “25 Years: The Teams”

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

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    Tuesday, March 24, 2020
    25 YEARS:  281 TEAMS HAVE MADE PROPER 64 IN OUR POOLS
    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. 

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  • Issue # 25.1 “25 Years: The Entries”

    Posted on March 19th, 2020 - 1:55 am Scott No comments

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    Wednesday, March 18, 2020  **HELP support Direct Relief’s COVID-19 Response Fund (deadline Thu 9:15 am PDT) **

    25 YEARS:  365 PEOPLE HAVE PLAYED IN OUR POOLS
    As deadline nears, we can predict how many entries we might get

    EL SEGUNDO, CA (smt)- Could a non-power 5 school such as Dayton, Gonzaga, or San Diego St have won it all?  We’ll never know.  Well, Sportsline ran a simulation and Dayton won (yay, Flyers).  This is the start of a series of updates reflecting on the 25 years of our HWCI NCAA pool and a peak behind the curtain of how the pool is run.  Kind of a nice number to do so, so thanks NCAA for cancelling this year’s tournament due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns.  Whereas pro athletes can wait this out and as leagues have previously self-inflicted on their seasons voluntarily (NBA lockout 8 months in 2011-12 (82->66 game season), NHL lockout 1994-95 (84->48 game season), NHL lockout 2004-05 (cancelling entire season and Stanley Cup), MLB strike in 1994 (cancelling the World Series!), NFL strike 7 weeks in 1982 (16->9 game season)), these amateur athletes have worked hard for years for an opportunity to play in March Madness and will move on to their next phase in life (attempt to go pro, graduate school, the working world).

    When CBS (or that awful year it was on TBS) finally gets through announcing the bracket on Selection Sunday, where feasible, David and myself are busy reading up the homepage (http://www.hwci.com/ncaa) for people to enter their picks.  Sometimes, this is very late Sunday (or very early Monday) and sometimes, like in 2006 where a hard drive crash kept the online entry disabled until 1 pm Monday or in 2014 where java security errors kept the updated form down until 2 am Tuesday, we experience anti-technology days that wreak havoc on our sanity!

    Table of entries since 1999
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  • Issue # 14.6.1 “Wahoowa!”

    Posted on April 9th, 2019 - 3:34 am Scott No comments

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    Watch the best reality show, The Amazing Race 31, the Reality Show Edition
    2019 NCAA Champions
    #1-South Regional Champions

    University of Virginia Cavaliers (34-3)

    1st Title
    2019 Winningest Conference
    The Atlantic Coast Conference
    (15-6)

    7th Time: ’04, ’05 (Tied with Big10), ’10 (Tied with Big10, Big12), ’15, ’16,  ’17 (Tied with SEC)

    Monday, April 8, 2019 

    VIRGINIA GETS 1ST TITLE IN OVERTIME IN SURPRISING HIGH SCORING GAME
    Kds911 wins tiebreaker over The Gambler 2 to win the pool

    'Hoo Crew!

    SANTA BARBARA, CA (smt)- More than five minutes into the game, the score was 3-2.  Seriously.  Five points with #3W-Texas Tech’s three points on free throws.  The Red Raiders didn’t hit their first field goal until 12:38 left in the first half.  7 minutes in it was 7-3 #1S-Virginia and the projected total points was just 57.  It was what expected with 2 of the top 3 defenses this year.  But the last 13 minutes saw 51 points and the second half had a lot of clutch shooting as Virginia blew another second half lead as Texas Tech tied it at 59.  Down by three, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter hit a three to tie it at 68 with 12.9 seconds left.  That’s 136 points and the over/under for the game was 118.  On to overtime.  Virginia actually had an 11-0 run and hit all 12 free throws to win their first championship, 85-77.  Hunter and Kyle Guy combined for 51 points.  The Cavaliers won the championship a year after becoming the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 with the difference being that Hunter was healthy this tournament. 

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  • Issue # 13.5.2 “25th Anniversary” (History of Pool)

    Posted on April 8th, 2019 - 2:30 am Scott No comments

    Archive

    Our HWCI Women's World Cup Pool begins in May...
    Our 2nd HWCI Women’s World Cup Pool Begins in May!
    2019 NCAA FINAL FOUR @ Minneapolis, MN
    Hosted by U. of Minnesota (Big Ten)
    The Final at U.S. Bank Stadium
    #3-Westvs.#1-South
    Texas Tech University Red Raiders (31-6)University of Virginia Cavaliers (34-3)
    Big 12 Conference – Regular Season Co-Champs
    Lubbock, Texas

    1st Final
    def #14 Northern Kentucky 72-57
    #6 Buffalo 78-58
    #2 Michigan 63-44
    #1 Gonzaga 75-69
    #2E-Michigan St 61-51
    Atlantic Coast Conference – Regular Season Co-Champs
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    1st Final
    def #16 Gardiner-Webb 71-56
    #9 Oklahoma 63-51
    #12 Oregon 53-49
    #3 Purdue 80-75 (OT)
    #5MW-Auburn 63-62

    Sunday, April 7, 2019

    A TOUGH DEFENSE VERSUS A SLOW OFFENSE
    Six battling for final 2 money spots as 4 have clinched; 15 vying for Bonus

    BANC OF CALIFORNIA STADIUM, LOS ANGELES/SANTA BARBARA, CA (smt)- Will this be a Butler-UConn type championship when just 94 points were scored?  Texas Tech has held the two Michigans to 44 and 51 points and 6th-best offense in Buffalo to 58 points while Virginia held high scoring Oklahoma and Oregon to 51 and 49 points.  Including the tournament, Virginia is #1 in scoring defense (allowing 55.5 pts/game) and Texas Tech is #3 (58.8).  Virginia is 7th in 3-point percentage (39.4%) though they take their time taking their shots. Or maybe we’ll be surprised and Texas Tech will score something like 78 or 75 like they did vs Buffalo and Gonzaga or Virginia will score 80 like they did against Purdue.  Virginia has needed luck at the buzzer twice, scoring a game-tying buzzer beater off a missed free throw against Purdue and a missed double-dribble call and foul on a buzzer-beating 3-point shot against Auburn.  Texas Tech has won each game by at least six points with four in double-digits.  With all that, Virginia is just a one-point favorite to try to complete the worst-to-first (losing to #16 seed to winning the title) and the over/under is an all-time low of 118 pts.  With so many tiebreakers in play for the top 6 and the Bonus, this low over/under is at least 10 points less than the tiebreak point giving those entries who guessed lowest a little buffer.

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  • Issue # 12.5.1 “Streaky Endings”

    Posted on April 7th, 2019 - 2:13 am Scott No comments

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    Disneyland's Star Wars Galaxy Edge opens May 31

    Saturday, April 6, 2019 

    TIGERS SHOCKED BY VIRIGNIA, TEXAS TECH CLOSES STRONG
    ChuckPersonCellBlock leads by one but The Gambler 2 or Kds911 can still win the pool

    Auburn foul on Virginia's Guy

    HOME/GARDENA, CA (smt)- Wow.  #1S-Virginia led 57-47 with 5:24 to go before #5MW-Auburn went on a 14-0 run to lead 61-57 with 17 seconds left.  Then the Cavaliers ended the game on a 6-1 run to win 63-62 to advance to their 1st Finals.  But how we got there was crazy.  During the 14-0 run Auburn hit 3 threes and Virginia was 0-for-2 on free throws and took an awfully long time to get a shot off when they were down by 2 taking more than 25 off the shot clock on two consecutive possessions when time isn’t on your side.  Like Duke in the last round, Virginia then needed to foul 3 times to get Auburn to shoot free throws but was able to do it in 3.3 seconds after figuring it out with 20.9 seconds left (Auburn initially rebounded with 30.1 seconds left).  Auburn has been horrible at the free throw line but made both to up by 4 before Kyle Guy hit a 3 to pull Virginia within one with 6.5 seconds left (again taking an awfully long 13 seconds to get the shot off).  A foul before the inbounds not only took no time off the clock, the refs put back 0.9 seconds (so, why doesn’t every team foul before the inbounds?).  The Tigers’ Jared Harper, who hit all 11 free throws against Kentucky, hit the key front end of the one-and-one but missed the second.  Auburn with two fouls to give, fouled with 5.4 seconds left. 

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  • Issue # 11.4.3 “Certified Fresh*” *-Once we deleted all the negative comments

    Posted on April 5th, 2019 - 12:41 am Scott No comments

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    To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
    2019 NCAA FINAL FOUR @ Minneapolis, MN
    4th Final Four (’51 (Williams Arena), ’92 & ’01 (Metrodome))
    Hosted by U. of Minnesota (Big Ten)U.S. Bank Stadium
    Second SemifinalFirst Semifinal
    #2-East
    Washington, DC

    Hosted by Georgetown U. (Big East)
    Capital One Arena
    #3-West
    Anaheim, CA

    Hosted by Big West Conference
    Honda Center
    #1-South
    Louisville, KY

    Hosted by U. of Louisville (ACC)
    KFC Yum! Center
    #5-Midwest
    Kansas City, MO

    Hosted by Missouri Valley Conference
    Sprint Center
    Michigan State University Spartans (32-6)Texas Tech University Red Raiders (30-6)University of Virginia Cavaliers (33-3)Auburn University Tigers 
    (30-9)
    Big Ten Conference – Reg. Season Co-Champs & Tourney Champs
    East Lansing, Michigan

    10th Final Four (’57, ’79, ’99, ’00, ’01, ’05, ’09, ’10, ’15)
    2-time champions
    def #15 Bradford 76-65
    #10 Minnesota 70-50
    #3 LSU 80-63
    #1 Duke 68-67
    Big 12 Conference – Regular Season Co-Champs
    Lubbock, Texas

    1st Final Four
    def #14 Northern Kentucky 72-57
    #6 Buffalo 78-58
    #2 Michigan 63-44
    #1 Gonzaga 75-69

    Atlantic Coast Conference – Regular Season Co-Champs
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    3rd Final Four (’81, ’84)
    def #16 Gardiner-Webb 71-56
    #9 Oklahoma 63-51
    #12 Oregon 53-49
    #3 Purdue 80-75 (OT)

    Southeastern Conference – Tournament Champs
    Auburn, Alabama

    1st Final Four
    def #12 New Mexico St 78-77
    #4 Kansas 89-75
    #1 North Carolina 97-80
    #2 Kentucky 77-71 (OT)

    Thursday, April 4, 2019  

    TWO NEWBIES AND VIRGINIA JOIN MICHIGAN ST IN FINAL FOUR
    At least $85 will be donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of America; over $783 donated in 9 years

    SANTA BARBARA, CA (smt)- It is so nice that if you don’t like how something is being viewed, you canjust force a company like Rotten Tomatoes to change their scoring methods or delete a bunch of data until it comes out positive.  Luckily, the HWCI NCAA Pool will not bow to trolls and will continue to press on, year after year, this being our 25th silver anniversary.  Considering we have had at least 125 entries the past 9 years with 89.5% of the entries returning players this year, I say we are Certified Fresh

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  • Issue # 10.4.2 “Duke and Kentucky KO’d”

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

    Archive

    Sunday, March 31, 2019 

    TIGERS WIN IN OT; DUKE AND ZION FALL SHORT
    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 # 9.4.1 “Buzzer Beater”

    Posted on March 31st, 2019 - 3:19 am Scott No comments

    Archive

    Saturday, March 30, 2019 

    MISTAKE COSTS ZAGS; HEAVYWEIGHT FIGHT WON BY VIRGINIA
    Carseroni is one of 11 to get both games and jumps to 4 point lead; Just 7 can win pool

    Zags' Perkins technical foul

    HOME/LABCORP, LOS ALAMITOS, CA (smt)- After falling behind 69-62 with 52 seconds left, #1W-Gonzaga got within two at 71-69 before Josh Perkins made the accidental mistake heard around the world with 11 seconds left when his hand knocked the inbound player’s hand meaning it was a 2-shot technical foul plus #3W-Texas Tech got to keep the ball.  The resulting four free throws gave the Red Riders their first Final Four ever in their 75-69 upset of the Zags.  It was a harsh penalty but it’s there to prevent intentional delay tactics which this wasn’t.  Texas Tech hit their last six free throws and the best defense held off the best offense as the Zags shot just 42.4% and had 16 turnovers.

    The second half of the #1S-Virginia-#3S-Purdue game had everything a fan would want with clutch shots, clutch rebounds, a buzzer beater, and a mano y mano matchup between the Cavs’ Kyle Guy and the Boilermakers’ Carsen Edwards. Guy hit 3 threes to start the second half in helping build a 45-37 lead but then Edwards caught fire hitting 6 of 8 three pointers and 24 points in a 32-22 run to put Purdue up by 2 with 1:11 left (Guy had 10 of those 22 points).  But Purdue’s Ryan Cline missed a free throw leaving the game at 70-67 and Purdue smartly fouled before Guy or anyone else could take a three with 5 seconds left.  The second free throw was missed and a long rebound was won by Virginia in the back court and a great pass up to Mamadi Diakite in the arc was put in at the buzzer sending the game into overtime tied at 70.  The overtime was tight as Guy was held to just two late free throws and Edwards had just a jumper (finished with 42 points and 10 threes) and then missed a three with 7 seconds left down 76-75.  The Cavs hit their final four throws to win 80-75.  So surprised that the clutch three specialist from the last game, Ryan Cline, didn’t get a chance to shoot a three late in overtime.  Just six of 58 games have been one possession games (9 if you just include regulation) and 37 of 58 have been double-digit blowouts.  

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  • Issue # 8.3.2 “Tigers Shoot the Threes”

    Posted on March 30th, 2019 - 1:01 am Scott No comments

    Archive

    Friday, March 29, 2019 

    UNC FIRST #1 TO GO DOWN, DUKE SURVIVES AGAIN
    ChuckPersonCellBlock holds on to lead while just 18 can win the pool

    VT Ahmed Hill just misses

    HOME/CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTER, CA (smt)- After #3E-LSU went on a 13-0 run to cut #2E-Michigan St.’s lead to four, MSU went on a 16-5 run to break the game back open for a 80-63 victory.  MSU hit 13 of 32 three-pointers while LSU will now try to find another coach with Will Wade still suspended.  After #1MW-UNC got within six, #5MW-Auburn hit five straight three pointers as part of a 16-3 run to break the game open in their 97-80 rout of the Tar Heels.  With the Tigers hitting threes and at one point were just 2 of 10 from the free throw land, it’s a wonder why UNC did not try to foul instead of letting the Tigers launch three after three (17 of 37 overall).  One thing about teams who win often such as UNC is that they don’t know how to play from behind.  Down by 10 with 7 minutes left and the ball, UNC took 10-20 seconds each possession and made poor shot choices (including a very long 3).  UNC didn’t start fouling until it was under 3:30 and down by 11 and to Auburn’s credit, they did hit six in a row but still finished under 50% (8 of 17).

    #1E-Duke survived another nail-biter, 75-73, with #4E-Virginia Tech as the Hokies missed two threes and then an easy layup for the tie as the buzzer sounded.  It seemed like no one told VT’s Ahmed Hill that the refs put 0.5 seconds back on the clock (so 1.1 left) as he seemed to jump and just tip it with two hands near the basket instead of grabbing it for a more controlled put back.  It was a great play and also good to see VT didn’t try for the game-winning three as most teams would do and tried to get the easy game-tying bucket.  Duke shot well, hitting 55.4% from the field.  #2MW-Kentucky also barely survived #3MW-Houston took a 58-55 lead after being down by 13 early but the Wildcats scored the last 7 points in winning 62-58.  Just six of 56 games have been one possession games (8 if you just include regulation) and 37 of 56 have been double-digit blowouts.  

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  • Issue # 7.3.1 “Ones and Threes”

    Posted on March 29th, 2019 - 3:11 am Scott No comments

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    Thursday, March 28, 2019 

    ONE VS THREE IN BOTH WEST AND SOUTH
    ChuckPersonCellBlock leads by two while 99 entries are still alive

    Tennessee last second "foul"

    HOME, CA (smt)- #1W-Gonzaga held #4W-Florida St to just two points in the last 4:11 to expand a scant four point lead (60-56) to a 72-58 victory while #1S-Virginia held #12S-Oregon to no field goals in the last 5:43 to turn a 45-42 deficit into a 53-49 win.  The Cavs actually shot worse (35.7%) than the Ducks (37.8%) but pulled out the win after Oregon scored more points in their 23-12 run than in the first half (22).  #3W-Texas Tech held #2W-Michigan to just 16 first-half points en route to Wolverine-record tourney low 44 for the game in their 63-44 victory.  Michigan missed their first 18 three-point attempts (finished 1 of 19) and shot just 32.7% from the field. 

    #2S-Tennessee who blew a large lead (25 points) and needed overtime to win in the 2nd round saw their fortunes reverse, as they rallied from a large deficit (18 points) but lost in overtime to #3S-Purdue, 99-94.  Both teams shot as well or better from the field than the free throw line (Purdue 54.0% FG, 48.4% FT; Tennessee 50.0% FG, 50.0% FT) so this game could’ve been won easily by either team if they just hit their free throws (Purdue missed 17 including two front ends of a one-and-one and were at one point 3 of 13; Tennessee missed 12).  Tennessee had an 82-80 lead but with 1.7 seconds left they “fouled” (Purdue player may have kicked out but if you lean into the player, the ref may call it, ticky-tack as it was) on a 3-point attempt and Purdue only made 2 of 3 to send the game to OT.  Tennessee lived too much on the edge blowing a 16-point lead to #15S-Colgate and the aforementioned 25-point lead to #10S-Iowa.  Purdue did have Ryan Cline who not only hit four 3-pointers in the last five and a half minutes, he hit fadeaways and shots the defender knew he was going to take, a la Stephen Curry… but did it with class.  A joy to watch even though I picked Tennessee.

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  • Issue # 6.2.3 “We’ll Pay You in Silver” (Bonus Prize & Prize Distribution)

    Posted on March 27th, 2019 - 11:23 am Scott No comments

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    Recent Rumors

    Tuesday, March 26, 2019 

    TOP SIX AND BONUS WILL WIN $1,620 POT
    20 of 23 eliminated entries eligible for Bonus in our Silver Anniversary

    Center Road

    GOLETA, CA (smt)- With all four #1s, #2s, #3s and two #4s and a #5 and #12 in the Sweet 16, the sum seed total of 49 is the lowest since seeding began.  #1W-Gonzaga and #1MW-UNC have closed out games strongly while #1E-Duke needed some luck and non-whistles and #1S-Virginia trailed #16S-Gardner-Webb by 14 at one point.  Beleaguered conference Pac 12 has its #12S-Oregon in the mix while the ACC (5), SEC (4), and the Big Ten (3) continue to dominate.

    With the mostly chalk Sweet 16, one entry (Center Road) around the world actually has a perfect bracket, and he didn’t even know it!  I use this sometimes in my statistics class showing the 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,780,000 odds of picking a perfect bracket or if you do some weighting of seeds, maybe get it down to 1 in 67,582,737,423.  Still virtually impossible.  How has our group done in 25 years?  No one has gone a perfect first round with Air Fabone 23 (Scott T) going 31-1 in 2017.  With Honey Badger (Scott D) going 16-0 this year, he became the first to have a perfect Round 2.  What the future lie?  Van&Sam (Van P) in 2007 was able to 8-0 in the Sweet 16, 4-0 in the Elite 8, and 2-0 for the Final Four.  But she missed the champion (Florida beat Ohio St)!  Unfortunately, Center Road was not eligible for Warren Buffet’s million dollar for life Sweet 16 challenge!

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