Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Final Standings

The final standings may be found both on the right side of this page, and here.

Congrats again to Whiteside, Harlan, and Brenner. Your checks will soon be in the mail.

That's it for the 2008 PreNCAA Contest. Check back here in February 2009.

Have a great year.


Rather than reprise the same old, same old, the commissioners will eschew posting Mascot Trivia questions this year. Instead, we have decided to post the answers only. So here they are:

(1) Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

(2) Cats, then birds, then dogs.

(3) Wildcats, Bulldogs, and Eagles, each tied with 5.

(4) Three.

If you feel slighted in some way, you can try to figure out the questions.

Why newspapers are becoming obsolete

When I left the hotel this morning they left a USA Today at my door so I took it on the plane. Here's a quote from some NCAA commentary by Mike Lopresti:

Here's to Ty Rogers. He's the Western Kentucky player who buried a 26-footer at the buzzer to beat Drake 101-99 in overtime. Barring something extraordinary Monday night, he owns the shot of the tournament.

The thing is, this was printed in Tuesday's paper.

Thanks for joining

What have we learned this year:

1) Duke sucks...haha...just throwing that in for my own sanity and to take a dig at our commish.
2) This tourney needed VCU....relatively boring tournament for the most part sans Davidson and the title game.
3) Never publish your picks as an expert....I did horribly and looked bad in the process...hehe
4) Before you all kick the bucket, you must go to Vegas for the 1st weekend....it's a true experience for any fan of the sport. Just don't go to the Hilton because I don't want you sitting in my seat.
5) The CBI isn't a bad offshoot of CSI...It's a tournament and homefield matters....God, i hope they pass the rumored changes including fan participation and making the title series a best of 9 with two games in a foreign country and one game being on X-Box with the coaches playing as their team.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Now that was a game. It's what you're hoping for when you buy your plane ticket to the Final Four. The kind of thing you pray for every year. In fact, it was so exciting that a certain commissioner's spouse even tuned in to watch. Although she missed the end of regulation because there was a Top Chef re-run she really wanted to see...

We may have to talk Booth down from the ledge now that Whiteside (pool winner with 361 points) has not only kicked her fanny but everyone else's too. Also in the winning circle are Harlan (360 points) and Brenner (355 points). Final standings will be posted tomorrow night.

Neither of these may compare to Whiteside singing "I'm shabbalicious," but we're not sure which we found more annoying: the Kansas cheerleaders needing cue cards to lead complicated cheers such as "Go Jayhawks," or the Memphis fans displaying their impressive education by spelling T-I-G-E-R-S approximately 17 times per timeout.

Kansas shirt of the day: "Kansas: The birthplace of North Carolina basketball."

We may or may not post Mascot Trivia tomorrow, so tune in if you care.

Goodnight everyone. It's been a fun pool.

All-Name Teams

First Team:

Yauney Neptune (Florida Gulf Coast) -- Name of the Year
Chief Kickingstallionsims (Alabama State)
Bienvenu Songondo (Wyoming)
Silver Laku (Western Michigan)
Ebenezer Noonoo (Illinois-Chicago)

Best Woman's Name: A'Quonesia Franklin (Texas A&M)
Best Local Name: Dionte Christmas (Temple)
Artist of the Year: Picasso Simmons (Murray State)
Egyptian God of the Year: Osiris Eldridge (Illinois State)
Roman God of the Year: Yauney Neptune (Florida Gulf Coast)

What do you think their middle names are?
Akini Akini (Florida A&M)
Longar Longar (Oklahoma)

All-Edible Team:

Jacob Turnipseed (Nicholls State)
Pawel Kielbasa (Chicago State)
Stephon Curry (Davidson)
De'Jon Jackson (San Diego -- condiment division)
Fendi Onobun (Arizona -- sounds like food, though, doesn't it?)

All-Geography Team:

Austin Montgomery (IUPUI)
Dallas Lauderdale (Ohio State)
Arizona Reid (High Point)
Clinton Houston (San Diego)
Jordan Hill (Arizona)

Women's entry: Italee Lucas (UNC)

All-NCAA-Tourney-Team-Name Team

Duke Crews (Tennessee)
Drake Reed (Austin Peay)
De'Sean Butler (West Virginia)
Jordan Davidson (Duke)
Arizona Reid (High Point -- good enough to be on two teams, right?)

All-Avian Team

Jeremy Bird (South Carolina Upstate)
William Byrd (Arkansas-Pine Bluff)
Zack Wing (Fordham)
Isaiah Swann (Florida State)
Zach Peacock (Georgia Tech)
Josten Crow (Sam Houston State)
Brett Ravenberg (Utah Valley State)
Louis Birdsong (George Mason)

All-Compound-Name Team

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA)
Chris Douglass-Roberts (Memphis)
Charles Jim-George (UC Riverside)
Pierre-Marie Altidor-Cespedes (Marshall)

Referee of the Year: Zelton Steed (ACC)
Future Speller Award: Jrue Holiday (UCLA recruit)

One More Team

A'Darius Peagues (Western Kentucky)
Cem Dinc (Harvard)
Solomon Horsechief (Pacific)
Quade Milum (Akron)
Sundiata Gaines (Georgia)

Special thanks go to Bob Natalini for assembling most of this list

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Who will it be?

Whiteside and Millan have both beaten off their detractors, but the question is which of them will win the contest? The answer is:

1st place: Whiteside
2nd place: Harlan
3rd place: Brenner

1st place: Millan
2nd place: K Sullivan
3rd place: Smith

We have a lot of repeat money winners on this list: Smith finished 2nd just last year; Whiteside finished third in 2006; Harlan finished 2nd in 2001, and K Sullivan finished second in 1998. In addition, selection-of-field winner D Josephs also finished 2nd in 2006.

The Moment

It's the Final Four. The teams line up for the opening tap. The ball goes up and tens of thousands of glittering lights dazzle the eyes as the players vie for the first advantage of the game. The lights are flash bulbs, as everyone snaps a picture simultaneously. Words cannot adequately describe how cool this is. It's the seminal moment of the college basketball season and after 19 Final Fours it doesn't get old.

Except this year I missed it because the six Kansas fans in front of me chose that exact moment to stand up and re-arrange their seating.

Another Final Four tradition that still cracks me up after 19 years is the amazing vision of the fans in the "distant view" seats -- yes, by the way, they really call them that; you'd think if the NCAA was going to bilk you for hundreds of dollars for a seat near the New Mexico border, they'd come up with a more palatable name, wouldn't you? Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, it's an optometric marvel the way fans two football fields away can see the court so much better than the refs can. They usually complain (at the top of their lungs, mind you) about block/charge calls, because that's not a call you have to be close up to tell what happened. This year's award goes to several Kansas fans in my vicinity, who when their team was up 40-12 were still screaming at the injustice of Tyler Hansbrough getting every call. Well, come to think of it, maybe they had a point; you could have been sitting in a dark room in Somalia and still known that Tyler Hansbrough was getting every call.

UCLA had the best band and the best cheerleaders, although for some reason that didn't help them on the court. And I have to mention that the Memphis cheerleaders are apparently the defending National champions (bet you didn't know they had a National championship for cheerleaders, did you?), at least according to the woman sitting next to me whose husband was a cheerleader back in 1985, the last time Memphis made the Final Four.

Memphis and Kansas had the most enthusiastic fans, even before the games started. Maybe the UCLA and UNC fans could sense what was coming. Memphis gets the slight edge here, though, thanks to the two Elvises (in full hair and costume) sitting in the row in front of me.

Kansas had the best souvenir shirts -- I saw at least ten different clever quotes on different shirts. The biggest laugh was "Why play with Roy when we can play with our Self."

I'm not sure if it's alphabetically significant, but my highly scientific scouting assessment is that Derrick Rose and Brandon Rush are good. Tywon Lawson and Kevin Love? Not so impressive.

The 30 second timeouts were taking around three and a half minutes by the end of the evening. And I don't even want to talk about the full timeouts.

The primary color for all four teams in this year's Final Four is blue. The highway between Austin and San Antonio has a different speed limit during the daytime (70) than it does at night (65).

Tune in later for more wisdom.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Revenge of the Nova Gang

Coming into the Tournament, if you had to pick a team to beat between #2 seed Duke and #12 seed Villanova, it probably wouldn't have been the Wildcats. Backing up that perception, contestants associating themselves with Duke had a healthy lead over their Philadelphia counterparts. Who would've guessed that once the smoke cleared Villanova would win twice as many games as Duke, and that the Nova Gang (average score 308.33) would have a 20+ lead over the Cameron Crazies (287.75)?

In the Tag Team Tussles, the D'Zurans (321.00) enjoy a narrow lead over the Friends of Natalini (317.33), who might even be doing better if Natalini himself had actually entered the pool. Or maybe they wouldn't. Members of the Marshall Plan (300.75) lead Whiteside and his Enemies (293.67) and the Ripley-Believe-it-or-Nots (292.33), while the Mc's (288.87) have surged ahead of the Donadios (280.4). The Leach Gang (258.5) trails the pack for the 177th straight year.

This year's top name is Brett (320.8), over Ed (313.5), Adam/s (306.0), and David (302.0). John (296.83) and Luke (292.0) are above average, while fellow apostle Matthew (252.5) is about as bad as you get outside of Leachworld. Al (285.5), Bob (280.0), Mary (279.5), Nick (276.0), and Rick (260.0) round out the field.

The years go on, but some facts are immutable. Females (300.27) are better than males (291.41). Cats (309.0) are superior to humans (289.83). Lawyers (278.4) are bottom feeders. The unwashed unpaid (269.22) don't pay for a reason (they now trail paying participants (293.73) by an average of almost 25 points). And children (265.0) should be seen, but not seen gambling.

Teachers (309.5) are our top profession, over Engineers (296.8), IT Consultants (294.5), Accountants (290.5), and of course practicing Attorneys (283.0; we guess they need more practice). But the educators still trail Students (314.2).

Florida (310.0) is the sunniest State from which to pick. Pennsylvania (294.83) is not just for Democratic Primaries. Despite a 20+ point lead, New Jersey (285.17) still has an inferiority complex when it comes to New York (262.67). There may be a Santa Claus, Virginia (257.0), but forget about the March Madness Bunny. Within Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh environs (307.0) have come out on ahead of the Philadelphia suburbs (289.78) and the Philadelphia urbs (282.8).

As a final note, the average pool participant (290.49) may have something to say to the average commissioner (270.0).

See you after the games.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Pool headquarters temporarily moving to Texas

A commissioner is on his way to San Antonio. I'm pretty sure the hotel has wireless internet, so tune in all weekend for updates, including Tag Team tallies, All-Name teams, and Mascot trivia.

See ya.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rivals III

Everybody loves the little guy, right? It's what makes this tournament great, an improbable run by Davidson or an impossible near-miss by Belmont. We identify with the Sienas and San Diegos of the world; they're kings of the road for a day.

But as Mount Saint Mary's and Texas-Arlington can attest, sometimes they're just roadkill. So in a year where four number one seeds made it to the Final Four, is it any surprise that Booth (256 points, Memphis as champ) will finish 25 points behind her arch-nemesis Whiteside (321, Kansas) even if she gains 40 points for her champion? McKillip (304, UCLA) -- who has also confessed his sole desire is to whack Whiteside -- is likewise far in the rear-view mirror, but at least he has a chance to pass his co-worker if UCLA wins.

Somebody should have told Karlsruher (315, UNC) that "never" is a long time, as he trails Millan (354, Memphis) by 39 points. But eternity can start now if Karlsruher's champion wins, because that'll put him one over on his buddy, 355 to 354. K Sullivan (326, Memphis) has already clinched a victory over her hapless whipping boy, B Peloso (264, Texas), but needs someone other than UCLA to win if she wants bragging rights over D'Zuro (296, UCLA) in her own custom-built home. Perhaps B Peloso can take solace in the fact that he only lost to his Duke-loving wife, M Peloso (298, Duke), by 34 points this year.

Most of the children in our contest seem to have outgrown their parents. L Schlegel (313, UCLA), for example, now sports a sizeable lead over daddy R Schlegel (279, Memphis), although the old man can salvage his respectability if Memphis wins. No such luck for M Kleiman (305, UCLA), who has no hope of showing his son (B Kleiman (328, UCLA)) who's boss. Joe Mc (264, UNC), who has played in every single pool we've ever run, has lost by 47 points to his daugher, McAtee-Gattone (311, UNC), who (including this year) has played in a grand total of one. For that matter, Joe Mc won't be catching his assistant, Dallas (291, UNC), either. K Ripley (306, UCLA) had no problems dispatching her father, R Wanger (288, Texas), for the fourth straight year. Her husband, P Ripley (283, Memphis), however, can reclaim his masculinity if Memphis wins.

A couple of dads still rule the roost. D Josephs (321, UCLA) powered his way past commissioner M Josephs (257, UNC), and J Donadio, Sr. (308, UNC) handled his entire brood (Jr. Donadio (299, Tennessee); L Donadio (283, Texas); N Donadio (244, Memphis)). Although if UCLA wins, his spouse (ME Donadio (268, UCLA)) can claim her half of the community property.

Leach gang patriarch E Leach (323, UCLA) and his son P Leach (323, UNC) are currently tied for the right to say they clobbered their own flesh and blood (S Leach (196, Memphis); M Leach (192, Tennessee)) by 131 points.