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Lotto Fever

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The odds of winning the California SuperLotto jackpot are 1 in 41,416,353.

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The odds of the Clippers winning tonight’s NBA draft lottery are not quite as infinitesimal at 1 in 200, but still seem highly unlikely. The prize? It’s not quite a gazillion dollars, but in basketball terms, it is close: the chance to choose either 35-year old Ohio St. center Greg Oden and Texas swingman Kevin Durant, two of the most hyped players in several years to enter the draft, whom many believe have the ability to singlehandedly turn a franchise’s fortunes around.

When we last left the Clippers, they had kept their season alive until the last game, when a win by the Golden St. Warriors officially eliminated the Clips from playoff contention. What that meant was that the Clippers were the best team not to make the playoffs, and consequently given the lowest possibility of winning the draft lottery (only teams that finish out of the playoffs are eligible for the lottery). In other words, they sucked just bad enough to not put themselves in a position to get better.

For non-basketball fanatics, the NBA draft lottery is used to designate the top three picks in the June 28 draft. The teams are ranked based on reverse order of finish, with the team with the worst record getting the highest number of combinations of a set of four ping-pong balls. Each subsequent team gets fewer combinations, and thus a lower probability of winning.