Sunday, March 31, 2013


Well, on Easter Sunday, a bunch of Cardinals beat the Devils. That shouldn't have been too hard to foresee, should it? With Michigan and Louisville rounding out the Final Four, we have a new leader, Smith, with 277 points, followed by Marshall (270) and Martin (269).

Depending on who wins next week in Atlanta, here's how the top three will look in our contest:

Sanders 295
Steinhardt 282
Dye 280

M Wanger 281
Serri 278
T Cristinzio 277
Smith 277

J Whiteside 301
Smith 277
Marshall 270

Wichita State
Sciarabba 333
Smith 277
Marshall 270

Look for Tag Team and Rivalry posts this week.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shocker! (For real this time)

Honestly, who would've thought Wichita State had any chance to make the Final Four? Really? Well, who besides Sciarabba, who took Wichita as his Wild Card and basically on the strength of that one pick sits atop our leader board with 258 points? M Leach is still second, although she didn't get any points today, with 246.

The other Final Four team decided this afternoon, Syracuse, had the support of four entrants (B Whiteside, J Whiteside, Brenner, T Cristinzio), two of whom (B Whiteside, 242, and J Whiteside, 241) are now in third and fourth place, respectively. Only J Whiteside has the Orange as national champs.

The rest of the Final Four will be decided tomorrow. Louisville (chosen by 27 to make the Final Four) will play Duke (45), while Florida (41) battles with Michigan (19).


Friday, March 29, 2013


The Elite Eight is complete, with Louisville (chosen by 49 into the Elite Eight and 27 into the Final Four), Duke (74, 45), Florida (74, 41), and Michigan (51, 19) moving on. And while the 61 people who predicted Kansas into the Elite Eight are probably not so happy with the Jayhawks blowing a double-digit lead with 3:18 to go, the rest of us are more or less just sad for Florida Gulf Coast.

We have a new leader and it's not particularly close. Madison Leach, who last year finished in 92nd place, has taken control of the pool with 246 points. S Smith has surged into second, with 237 points, followed by Crotty and L Donadio, with 236 each. Full standings may once again be found by clicking the link on the right hand side of the page.

Tune in tomorrow for more.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


What the heck, right? It's been a while since we could use that headline for an Elite Eight game. Anyway, according to our research, until tonight a #13 seed had never played against a #9 seed in an NCAA tournament game. And after LaSalle's performance this evening, one could argue they still haven't.

The only person who gave any support to Wichita State was Sciarabba, who picked the Shockers as his Wild Card and has currently ridden the Shockwave into fourth place, with 208 points, trailing third place holder Haklar (209) and our current co-leaders, Biebel and Moscow, both with 213. Both Haklar (UCLA) and Moscow (Gonzaga) have lost their champions, though. Full standings, incomplete though they are with only half the Elite Eight decided, may be found by clicking the link on the right hand side of the page.

Our entrants once again flaunted their knack for jinxing their favorite for national champion (only six of our 24 favorites have won the title, a dismal 25% showing), as Indiana (favored by 28 to win it all) went down hard against Syracuse (favored only by J Whiteside). Some of us (23 to be exact) did get behind the Orange as an Elite Eight team, and four contestants (Brenner, T Cristinzio, B Whiteside, J Whiteside) picked Syracuse into the Final Four. The team Syracuse will play to see who goes to Atlanta will be Marquette, picked by only three to get to the Elite Eight (Haklar, Sa Leach, K Ripley) and by only Haklar to be one of the last Four standing.

In the West, Wichita State will match up with Ohio State, which was chosen by nine to reach the Eight (Brindisi, Huffnagle, Hymowitz, D Kedson, M Kline, M Leach, Moscow, Sciarabba, Selarnick) and three to make the Four (Hymowitz, M Kline, Moscow).

Which means, if you like to add things up, that the four teams already in the Elite Eight received a combined total of 35 votes for the Elite Eight and eight (8) votes for the Final Four (plus one Wild Card nod).

So it's pretty much par for the course in our contest. If tonight's games were any indication, look for Oregon (chosen by only cbabs and Haklar into the Elite Eight and nobody into the Final Four) and Florida Gulf Coast (chosen by nobody to do nuthin') to make some noise tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sweet, part two

When it came to Elite Eight, Final Four, and champion last year, our entrants' four most popular choices ended up as the four #1 seeds, and our next four most popular choices came in as #2s. Not so much this year. While our top two 2013 favorites for all three end-of-tourney honors both got #1 seeds (Indiana and Gonzaga, although of course one of those top two isn't even playing any more, so we're not sure how proud we should be on that front), after that our group and the selection committee didn't quite see eye to eye.

Whether that divergence says something about the committee or something about our contestants, we decline to venture an opinion. Nevertheless, it's interesting to see how much our gang disagreed with the seeding:

Our top Eight:

-----Team-----Elite 8Final 4Champs
#1 Indiana958228
#1 Gonzaga784314
#2 Duke744510
#3 Florida744112
#3 Michigan State65356
#1 Kansas61293
#2 Miami58587
#4 Michigan51215

So if our entrants ruled the world (how's that for a scary thought), #2 Duke and #3 Florida would have had #1 seeds, and #3 Michigan State and #4 Michigan would have been awarded #2s. On the other hand:

-----Team-----Elite 8Final 4Champs
#1 Louisville49278
#2 Georgetown39213
#4 Syracuse2341
#2 Ohio State931

Which means we'd have awarded top overall seed Louisville a lousy #3 seed and given #2 Ohio State a lowly #5.

We've already mentioned how 18 of us have already lost their champions. But our overall favorite, Indiana (with 28 votes) remains and is the only team in the hunt with more than a dozen supporters. Of course, in this contest our top overall choice has only actually ended up as champion in 6 out of 23 years (26.1%), so I wouldn't go printing up those Hoosier t-shirts just yet. The complete tally for our choices of champions:

Gonzaga14Urban's Angels, Booth, K Butscher, Hahn, M Josephs, M Kleiman, Mahalko, J Moscow, M Paston 1, K Ripley, L Schlegel, K Sullivan, Watson, B Wright
Florida12Alberts, Biebel, Harlan, D Josephs, Karlsruher, D Kornfeld, R Kornfeld, Leace, Paston 2, B Peloso, Sciarabba, Warner
Duke10Colleran, Crotty, J Donadio, D Kedson, Nocilla, Rubinson, R Schlegel, selig, R Simon, B Whiteside
Louisville8Barone, Baum, cbabs, Dye, E Leach, Rybaltowski, Sanders, Steinhardt
Miami7Brenner, J Butscher, Cristinzio, Eberly, Kaelin, Pogach, P Ripley
Michigan State6B Brenner, Brindisi, D'Zuro, Fitch, P Leach, G Wright
Michigan5Atkinson, T Cristinzio, Steitz, Serri, M Wanger
Kansas3Su Leach, M McAtee, C Whiteside
Georgetown3Bland, Broder, M Leach
Ohio State1Hymowitz
Syracuse1J Whiteside

A grand total of 56 contestants got at least one Wild Card point, for choosing St. Louis (27), Minnesota (11), VCU (9), UNC (4), Iowa St (2), Creighton (1), Illinois (1), and Wichita St (1). Only one entrant was clever (or wild, if you will) enough to choose a Wild Card that garnered more than one point, and that was Sciarabba who has gained six points and counting from his selection of Wichita State.

For someone who lives in California, it must seem as if most of the country is part of the Midwest. Which might at least begin to explain how Rubinson managed to have five of his Elite Eight (Duke, Michigan State, Louisville, Oklahoma State and St. Louis) and three of his Final Four (Duke, Michigan State, and Louisville) in the Midwest Region. Five others matched Rubinson's Final Four feat (Brenner, 3 in the E; Warner and M Wanger, 3 in the S; Booth and Adams, 3 in the M), while thirteen confused contestants managed to pick four of their Elite Eight in one region (Bi Acchione (S); Fitch (M); McKillip (S); Brindisi (M); Serri (M); J Whiteside (E); J McAtee (S); K Sullivan (S); Rybaltowski (M); M McAtee (E); Booth (M); Sa Leach (E); T Cristinzio (S)).

No seed of 13 or lower has ever made the Elite Eight, so we can perhaps forgive our contestants for completely ignoring #13 LaSalle and #15 Florida Gulf Coast when choosing the Elite Eight and Final Four. Two entrants picked #12 Oregon into the Elite Eight (cbabs, Haklar). We mentioned earlier than only nine of us liked Ohio State into the Elite Eight (Brindisi, Huffnagle, Hymowitz, D Kedson, M Kline, M Leach, Moscow, Sciarabba, Selarnick) and just four were bold enough to pick the Buckeyes into the Final Four (Hymowitz, M Kline, Moscow). Arizona was even more popular, with 14 votes for the Eight and four for the Four (Barone, Sanders, Selig, Templeton). To round out the Sweet Sixteen, Marquette had the support of three (Haklar, Sa Leach, K Ripley) and one (Haklar).

Full breakdowns for the Elite Eight and Final Four, showing exactly who picked what, are available by clicking the links in this sentence. As always, current standings may be found by clicking the link on the right hand side of this page.

Next week: Tag Team tally and Rivalry posts. Enjoy the games.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Well, it took longer than we expected to regain our vim, and at our age perhaps vigor is a bit too much to hope for. Still we're back and so is the Sweet Sixteen. So here goes, with the first of two really long posts to cover the events of the weekend.

Let's start with a look back. We've had four days of games since our last report. But even before the games, some entrants were at a teensy disadvantage, since there were eight (8) Elite Eight choices that didn't even make the tournament: George Mason (Urban's Angels), Arizona State (Cristinzio) Baylor (Urban's Angels), BYU (Urban's Angels), and Florida State (Steitz).

Thursday started innocently enough, unless of course you were one of the 28 contestants who spent an Elite Eight choice on New Mexico (17) or Oklahoma State (11). Or worse, one of the seven who wasted a Final Four choice (M McAtee, M Paston 1, Sciarabba, M Peloso took New Mexico; Brindisi, Rybaltowski, K Ripley took Okla St). Another seven entrants saw one of their Elite Eight teams dash against the rocks: Grossman (Missouri), Serri (Missouri), D Kedson (Pitt), Mahalko (Pitt), Urban's Angels (Bucknell and St. Mary's), Atkinson (Davidson), and Rybaltowski (UNLV).

So after the first day of the tournament, three contestants had already lost two of their Final Eight (Rybaltowski had Oklahoma State and UNLV; Barone had New Mexico and Oklahoma State; Cristinzio had Arizona State and Oklahoma State). And the self-proclaimed Urban's Angels were down an unimaginable five out of Eight (G Mason, Baylor, BYU, Bucknell, and St. Mary's).

The Angels would lose a sixth Elite Eight team on Friday (Notre Dame), but at least they still had Gonzaga and Butler. Um, oops. And thus Urban's Angels became the first entrant in pool history to lose his or her entire Elite Eight by the first Saturday of the tournament. Needless to say (although we'll gleefully say it anyway), Urban's Angels also had a ceiling of zero (0) Final Four teams at the same moment in time (for history's sake, the Angels' Final Four consisted of the religious quartet of Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Butler, and BYU).

Of course, Urban's Angels weren't the only contestants to gnash their teeth on Friday. That was the day Georgetown bit the dust, taking with it the hopes of the 39 who chose the Hoyas into the Elite Eight, the 21 who fearlessly predicted a Georgetown Final Four berth, and the three who went all the way out on the limb for Georgetown as national champion (Bland, Broder, and M Leach).

Also walking around with their frown right side up were the backers of Wisconsin (11 into Elite Eight; Sciarabba into Final Four); Kansas State (Atkinson, B Brenner, Brindisi, Eberly, P Leach, C Whiteside into Elite Eight; B Brenner into Final Four); Notre Dame (Urban's Angels, B Brenner, B Whiteside into Elite Eight; Urban's Angels, B Whiteside into Final Four); Cincinnati (Steitz, Moscow into Elite Eight; Steitz into Final Four); UCLA (Haklar into Elite Eight, Final Four, and Champion); Villanova (Cristinzio into Elite Eight); and NC State (Bland into Elite Eight).

Everyone else could at least savor the feeling of accomplishment in knowing their Elite Eight and Final Four choices all made the second round (and, no, we're not calling the round of 32 the "third" round just because the NCAA decided to schedule a few play-in games). That feeling probably evaporated pretty quickly when Gonzaga (chosen by 78 into the Elite Eight and 43 into the Final Four) got knocked off by Wichita State (chosen by absolutely nobody except Sciarabba as a Wild Card). Butler going down didn't please the 16 and 5 (Urban's Angels, Dye, Hymowitz, M Kline, Sa Leach) who liked them into the Elite Eight and Final Four, respectively, as well as the few and probably not very proud who went out on a limb for St. Louis (Atkinson, Brindisi, Haklar, Rubinson, L Schlegel, Watson into Elite Eight, Watson into Final Four), Memphis (Canning into Elite Eight, Booth into Elite Eight and Final Four), or Colorado State (Fitch, Warner into Elite Eight). Sunday was only a not-so-fun day for those who liked North Carolina (Booth, Cristinzio into Elite Eight) or Minnesota (D'Zuro into Elite Eight).

With Gonzaga's demise, 14 entrants (Urban's Angels, Booth, K Butscher, Hahn, M Josephs, M Kleiman, Mahalko, J Moscow, M Paston 1, K Ripley, L Schlegel, K Sullivan, Watson, B Wright) joined Haklar, Bland, Broder and M Leach in looking forward to 75% of the tournament without a chosen champion to root for.

That's it for part one. Part two of the blog post that wouldn't end will be offered up tonight.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Hey, I just got back from the Wells Fargo Center, where I watched #15 seed Florida Gulf Coast beat #2 seed Georgetown and join #14 Harvard, #13 LaSalle, three #12s (Oregon, Cal, Ole Miss), probably a #11 (Minnesota is currently winning by 12), almost certainly a #10 (Iowa State is winning by 24), and two #9s (Wichita State and Temple) in the upset column. And as I write this, #1 Kansas is only beating #16 Western Kentucky by three points. Brackets are broken, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!

I'd really intended to go over everything and detail who got clobbered in the pool and all that, but I've been working on press row all day and I'm just too tired. So sometime tomorrow I hope to return and roast all your selections with my usual vim and vigor, OK?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So Wild

We spoke about Wild Card selections that were so wild they were downright illegal, but we'll gladly mention those again: the Wild Card picks of Frame (Duke), Day (Ohio State), and M Wanger (Marquette) have been invalidated.

What about the other 96 contestants? Well, by far the most popular Wild Card in this year's contest is St. Louis, chosen by 27 entrants and graced with a #4 seed. #5 seeds UNLV (13 votes) and VCU (9 votes) were the 2nd and 4th most popular selections, respectively, and #11 seed Minnesota (11 votes) was exactly in the middle.

Six contestants' selections were so wild the committee didn't even invite the selected team to play in the NCAA tournament: Four people chose Virginia (Hahn, Leace, McKillip, Warner) and one each took Weber State (B Wright) and Loyola-Maryland (Kaelin). B Peloso is the only entrant whose Wild Card was selected but lost before the bracket pools are due, having chosen Tuesday night loser Middle Tennessee. Interestingly enough, B Peloso's wife, M Peloso, has St. Mary's -- the team that eliminated MTSU -- as her Wild Card. That must have been some living room in the Peloso household yesterday evening.

No other Wild Card got support from more than five contestants. Here's the list:

#6 UCLA: 5 (D'Zuro, Steitz, D Kedson, Kovolski, Selig)
#8 North Carolina State: 5 (Fitch, M Kline, Selarnick, R Simon, R Wanger)
#8 UNC: 4 (Su Leach, Martin, Pogach, Smith)
#10 Cincinnati: 3 (Cristinzio, R Kornfeld, Sanders)
#11 St. Mary's: 3 (D Kornfeld, J McAtee, M Peloso)
#9 Missouri: 2 (Brindisi, Rybaltowski)
#10 Iowa State: 2 (B Brenner, Grossman)
#7 Creighton: 1 (Watson)
#7 Illinois: 1 (Moscow)
#9 Wichita State: 1 (Sciarabba)
#10 Oklahoma: 1 (Sa Leach)
#11 Belmont: 1 (Rubinson)

So have a wild evening. The real games begin tomorrow at high noon.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lunardi Rules!

Some of you may remember that Joe Lunardi, the resident Bracketologist at ESPN, used to play in this pool. You know, before he became rich and famous. Interestingly enough, he never did all that well, and when you're competing against a group that can't beat a hypothetical monkey flipping imaginary coins, that's saying something. But in deference to our most famous pool participant, if we can remember to do so we key in Lunardi's bracket predictions as of the day the contest entries were due. Perhaps predictably, the "ESPN Bracketology" entry has yet to make the top 20.

Until this year.

Yes, the overall acumen of our contestants has sunk so low that our current leader is ESPN Bracketology, with 203 points. Put another way, if you knew absolutely nothing (and we've decided to be nice by using the word "if") and you'd simply filled in your entry by copying Lunardi's bracket on the day the pool was due, you'd be $100 richer right now.

Fortunately for our gallivanting group of gallant prognosticators, ESPN Bracketology is a non-paying entry, and so this year's prize for having the most points as of the selection of the field will be split between Biebel and Moscow, each of whom has 202 points and has earned $50 for that feat. Just behind the leaders are D'Zuro (200) and Marshall (199), each of whom has earned $0 for not being quite good enough.

Moscow and Biebel lead a group of eight (8) members of our contest who managed to select more than half of the conference champions correctly, as each of them guessed right on 17 out of 31 (54.8%, a solid F in Middle School). Also with 17 correct were cbabs, M Kline, and Marshall. Last year's leader at this point, Steinhardt got 16 of 31 right (an even solider F), as did D'Zuro and Kaelin.

On the opposite side of the spectrum (or is it called the Wachovia Center now?), seven of our entrants were correct on fewer than 10 of their conference champ predictions. "Leading" the way is Pogach, who managed to accurately select a mind-numbing seven (7). The others, all with a similarly impressive nine (9) out of 31: J Whiteside, Rubinson, Fitch, J Donadio, Cristinzio and Canning. The bottom of the standings currently belongs to Cristinzio and Frame, each with 135 points. Full standings, as always, may be found by clicking the link on the right hand side of the page.

Every year at least one of the Committee's at-large selections flummoxes our group. This year, though we were all over NIT participants Kentucky (picked by 89) and Virginia (72), only eight of us saw the diamond in the rough known as Boise State (chosen only by Crotty, J Donadio, Moscow, Paston 1, M Peloso, Pogach, B Whiteside, J Whiteside).

That same Boise State team will be participating in a play-in (aka, the new "first round") game tomorrow.

Enjoy the games.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Almost there

With 30 conference champs decided, the winner is... The Monkey. Mississippi (chosen only by Cristinzio) beat Florida in the SEC, meaning that a majority of our entrants chose the correct conference champion in a pathetic 13 of 31 (the remaining conference tournament features a Wisconsin team selected by six vs. an Ohio State team favored by five). That's 42% for our entrants and 58% for the proactive primate.

In the standings, Moscow has surged into the lead with 95 points, just ahead of Biebel (94).

Stay tuned. We'll be back after the selection of the field.

Two more for the lesser ape*

Well, Wisconsin (selected by six: Brenner, Huffnagle, Leace, M McAtee, Sciarabba, and Templeton) sent our favorite Big Ten choice Indiana (taken by 63) packing on Saturday, and the Badgers move on to the Big Ten final today, against Ohio State (picked by five: D Kedson, Sa Leach, Moscow, Rubinson, Selarnick). And in the Southland, our contestants' favorite Stephen F. Austin (selected by 74) fell to ignominious defeat at the hands of Northwestern State (chosen by 18).

That's two more for the monkey, who also Saturday took credit for Oregon (liked by 24); Albany (7: J Broder, Frame, Gorenstein, Steitz, M Josephs, J McAtee, Selig); Pacific (8: Alberts, Booth, Canning, Crotty, Steitz, M Leach, R Simon, G Wright); New Mexico State (7: Booth, B Brenner, cbabs, Steitz, Sa Leach, M McAtee, Sanders); and North Carolina A&T (0). The ACC will also spill onto the monkey's side of the ledger after either Miami (30) or UNC (3: M Leach, Sciarabba, J Whiteside) win today.

That's 15 for the smarmy simian, out of 31 total conferences. Unless you count Louisville (picked by 37), which was not taken by a majority of our entrants but was our top votegetter in the Big East, in which case the monkey is already officially better than our (mostly) human contestants. And of course we think the coin-flipping mammal should take the credit for a conference champion chosen by barely more than a third of our group, but in deference to those who foolishly disagree with us, there are two additional conferences still in play.

The Atlantic 10 championship pits St. Louis (another non-majority but top votegetter with 46) and VCU (liked by 17). And the SEC features overwhelming favorite Florida (84) against little Ole Miss (just Cristinzio). If either VCU or Mississippi win then nobody can argue with the monkey's superiority.

Except possibly M Kline, who has already chosen 17 correct conference champions and sits atop our leaderboard with 85 points, just ahead of Moscow, who has 84 points but only 15 properly selected conference champs. Within spitting distance of the leaders are Biebel, Frame, and E Leach, all with 81 points, and cbabs and J McAtee, both with 80.

At the other end of the standings, Pogach has correctly chosen a mere six (6) conference champions and languishes at the bottom with just 42 points. Sa Leach (52) and Cristinzio (53) are better, but not by much.

Full standings may (as always) be found using the link on the right hand side of the page.

* - Yes, we realize the monkey is not really a lesser ape. You're just going to have to live with our little literary licenses. And our alluring alliterative abilities as well.

Friday, March 15, 2013

More monkeying around

Well, as we reported Wednesday, of the 14 conferences that have had winner's decided, the majority of our contestants have been correct in seven and incorrect in seven. We also noted that on Wednesday the top two votegetters in the MEAC (Norfolk State (76) and NCCU (18)) both lost their first tourney games, leaving Savannah State (5) as the only MEAC team still alive on which any of our entrants took a chance. Predictably, Savannah State lost its next game, leaving it guaranteed that the MEAC winner will have been picked by nobody associated with our contest.

Perhaps just as predictable, the very next day the very same thing happened in the WAC. The only difference being the top two teams that lost in their first games were named Louisiana Tech (picked by 79) and Denver (picked by 12). There are currently three teams alive in the WAC. New Mexico State (selected by 7) will play the winner of Texas-San Antonio and Texas-Arlington, neither of which was selected by any of us.

Then today our choice in the ACC, Duke (chosen by 62), went down in its first game as well. Big West favorite Long Beach (liked by 83) and Pac 12 top choice Arizona (46) at least waited until their conference semifinals before bowing out.

So here's what we have at this moment in the 17 conferences in which the champions will be crowned this weekend:

America East: Albany (7) vs. Vermont (8)
ACC: Miami (30) vs. NC State (2); UNC (3) vs. Maryland (0)
Big West: UC-Irvine (4) vs. winner of Cal Poly (1)/Pacific (8)
MEAC: Morgan State (0) vs. NC A&T (0)
Pac 12: UCLA (20) vs. winner of Oregon (24)/Utah (0)
WAC: New Mexico State (7) vs. winner of UTSA (0)/TX-ARL (0)

(no team in these conferences was chosen by a majority of us, but the top votegetter is still alive)
Atlantic 10: St. Louis (46) vs. Butler (31); Massachusetts (0) vs. VCU (17)
Big East: Louisville (37) vs. Syracuse (19)

Big 12: Kansas (75) vs. Kansas State (13)
Big Sky: Montana (63) vs. Weber State (36)
Big 10: Indiana (63) vs. Wisconsin (6); Michigan State (17) vs. Ohio State (5)
Conf USA: Memphis (89) vs. Southern Miss (10)
MAC: Akron (88) vs. Ohio (10)
Mountain West: New Mexico (62) vs. winner of UNLV (24)/Colorado State (10)
SEC: Florida (84) vs. Alabama (1); Ole Miss (1) vs. Vanderbilt (0))
Southland: Stephen F. Austin (74) vs. Northwestern State (18)
SWAC: Southern (68) vs. Prairie View A&M (0)

So if you're scoring at home, well, then you're probably not reading this. Nevertheless, the monkey now has at least 13 out of 31 conferences, 15 if you count the Atlantic 10 and the Big East, conferences that had no majority. That means for the monkey to beat our pool participants, just one more conference upset has to happen (three more if you don't count the A10 and the Big East).

We know what we're rooting for.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shock the Monkey

Bucknell took the Patriot League tonight, and since 88 of us thought that was going to happen, it gives our majority 7 out of the 14 conferences decided at this point, bringing us even with the mythical monkey flinging coins and who knows what else.

As we've noted previously, however, the America East conference is a victory for the wayward primate, since when they finally get around to deciding the winner in that conference it'll be Albany (chosen by 7 of us) facing off against Vermont (chosen by 8).

Well, add the MEAC to the monkey's side of the ledger, because in their very first game, both top seeded Norfolk State (picked by 76) and second fiddle NCCU (selected by 18) went down. Hard. So while there are six MEAC teams still alive in their tournament, only one of those teams got any votes from our entrants, and that was Savannah State, the favorite of five contestants (Alberts, Booth, M Peloso, Pogach, R Simon).

The standings look more or less the same as they did before (since all the leaders chose Bucknell). About the only visible change is we've been told that Biebel 1 and Biebel 2 are really just Biebel. We guess he was just stuttering or something.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Three more

If Long Island won its third straight NEC championship, but nobody picked them, does the three-peat still make a sound? Fortunately, we don't have to answer that classic philosophical question, since Gorenstein and M Leach were clever enough to pick the Blackbirds.

Also winning tonight were Valparaiso (chosen by 73) and South Dakota State (63). So our majority has been correct on 6 of the 13 conference champions decided so far, a nifty 46% and not quite as good as the mythical monkey.

M Kline maintains his lead, with 9 correct conference champions for 45 points. K Biebel 1, K Biebel 2, Brindisi, Moscow, and G Wright are tied for second with 40 points (8 correct champs), and Adams, Frame, Gorenstein, and B Wright are currently in third with 38 points (7 champs).

At the bottom of the standings, Pogach has been right in just two (2) conferences for 13 points. Next in line for the distinction of dubiosity are Fitch (18 points) and Cristinzio (19).

Full standings are available using the link on the right hand side of the page.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Five more dancers

Five more conference champs have been decided. And our contestants guessed right in two of the five, giving the contest majority a whopping four out of nine conference tournaments correct (five of ten if you count Harvard in the Ivy, once again matching the monkey with a silver dollar). Of course, that score goes down if you include the two conferences in which both finalists were chosen by fewer than 10 of us, which would bring our overall tally to four out of 11 (a fine 36% accuracy; so much for matching the monkey).

Tonight's champions include Sun Belt (hill)topper Western Kentucky (selected by exactly none of us), Colonial champ James Madison (chosen by four of us: Brindisi, Gorenstein, M Josephs, Leace), King of the MAAC Iona (picked by 11: Adams, Baumgarten, Gorenstein, Harlan, D Kedson, M Kline, M Paston 1, M Paston 2, Sanders, Serri), Southern maven Davidson (90), and WCC top dog Gonzaga (93).

New standings may (as always) be found on the link at the right of the page.

Our new leader is M Kline, who has seven correct champions out of ten, for 35 points. Just behind the leader are Frame and B Wright, both of whom have six correct champions and 33 points.

The Summit semifinals were also played this evening, and it looks like tomorrow will feature an old fashioned Dakota hoedown, with South Dakota State (chosen by 63) taking on North Dakota State (picked by 24). Also tomorrow will be the Horizon final, with Valparaiso (73) against Wright State (0), and the NEC final, in which Mt. St. Mary's (0) will face Long Island (2: Gorenstein, M Leach).

Some fun.

Give me Liberty...

...or give me Florida Gulf Coast. Once again our entrants have proven that when it comes to predicting conference champions we can compete with a monkey flipping coins.

So far this season, 14 conferences have played tournament games. And so far, the majority of our contestants are dead wrong in at least seven (7) of those 14. To our credit, we were correct in the OVC (Belmont was chosen by 81 of us), and still have a shot in six other tournaments that are still going on.

But first, let's take a look at our many errors. Leading the way is Liberty, chosen by none of us, a team that beat our favorite Charleston Southern (taken by 56) in the Big South. The Sun Belt championship won't be played until tonight, but since the championship game participants are Florida International (chosen by 0) and Western Kentucky (also chosen by 0), it's safe to say that's two goose eggs for the rabble.

The MAAC also plays its championship game tonight, but while none of our contestants chose Manhattan, at least there were 11 of us who took Iona (Adams, Baumgarten, Frame, Gorentstein, Harlan, D Kedson, M Kline, M Paston 1, M Paston 2, Sanders, and Serri). The NEC finishes its tournament tomorrow, pitting Mt. Saint Mary's (selected by none of us -- see the trend here) against Long Island U. (taken by only Gorenstein and M Leach). The America East final won't happen until Saturday, but when it does it'll feature Albany (chosen by 7: Broder, Frame, Gorenstein, Steitz, M Josephs, J McAtee, Selig) and Vermont (liked by 8: Bi Acchione, Atkinson, Colleran, Cristinzio, Pogach, Sanders, Templeton, Yolles).

Two tourneys that have finished also finished with champions chosen by the few, rather than the many. In the Atlantic Sun, Florida Gulf Coast (picked by 28) beat out Mercer (69). And in the MVC, Creighton (40) outlasted Wichita State (52).

As we said earlier, six other tournaments have started in which the majority of us still have a chance. In the Colonial, Northeastern (liked by 69 entrants) faces James Madison (favored by only four: Brindisi, Gorenstein, M Josephs, Leace). In the Horizon, Valparaiso (73) takes on Wright State (another "zero hero"). In the Patriot League, Bucknell (88) hopes to hold on against Lafayette (yet another "goose egg gamer"). In the Southern conference, it's Davidson (90) against Charleston (5: Bi Acchione, Eberly, Gorenstein (seems like we're typing his name a lot, doesn't it?), Hahn, D Kornfeld). In the WCC, Gonzaga (93) tries to tame St. Mary's (6: Canning, Cristinzio, D Kedson, Kovalski, Pogach, Yolles). Finally, the Summit semifinals feature South Dakota State (63), North Dakota State (24), Western Illinois (9), and Oakland (4).

The Ivy League, the only conference that doesn't hold a tournament, also crowned its automatic qualifier, and not surprisingly it was Harvard (chosen by 91), the team that was winning the Ivy when the pool was due. Thus spoiling the always-unlikely scenario spun by dreamers like Alberts, Canning, Cristinzio, Harlan, Steitz, D Kornfeld, Leace, Sa Leach, and B Whiteside.

With five conference winners in the books, we have standings, as well as a ten-way tie for first (among Biebel 1, Biebel 2, Blatt, B Brenner, Crotty, M Kline, Moscow, Selarnick, B Wright, and G Wright) with 20 points. Just behind the many leaders are eight more entrants with 18 points (Frame, Grossman, D Kedson, B Peloso, Rybaltowski, Templeton, Warner, Yolles). Down at the bottom, six contestants have a meager 8 points (Hymowitz, Leace, Sa Leach, Sanders, Watson, B Whiteside), and eleven more are almost as bad (with 10 points: J Broder, J Donadio, Harlan, Kaelin, Karlsruher, M Kleiman, D Kornfeld, M Leach, M McAtee, Pogach, Sciarabba). Full standings may be found at the link on the right of this page.

Tonight, conference champs will be determined in the Colonial, MAAC, Southern, Sun Belt, and WCC. Happy watching.

Well, isn't this embarrassing?

After all the clever remarks about how easy it is to know which teams are ineligible, here's one we missed: regular season SWAC winner Texas Southern is not allowed to participate in either the SWAC tournament or the NCAA tournament due to various NCAA violations. That's apparently news to 24 entrants, including commissioner D Kedson.

And in fairness to the contestants we called out in our earlier post, it's only right we list those who failed to ferret out the truth about Texas Southern, too: Adams, Alberts, Baumgarten, Booth, B Brenner, Butscher, Coach Doc, J Donadio, Gorenstein, Harlan, Huffnagle, D Kedson, P Leach, Su Leach, M McAtee, M Peloso, Pogach, Rubinson, Rybaltowski, Sanders, Serri, Templeton, G Wright, and Yolles.

That is all.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Not such a High Point

Two more days have passed, giving us two more days of bad predictions to discuss. The biggest surprise of Thursday/Friday was the demise of High Point in the Big South. Well, at least it was a surprise to 15 of our contestants. Also out are Jacksonville (Colleran, Gorenstein) and Stetson (Sa Leach) in the Atlantic Sun, Eastern Kentucky (Booth, J Donadio, Frame, Hymowitz, Su Leach, J McAtee, and Watson) and Tennessee State (Brenner) in the OVC, and BYU (Brenner) in the WCC.

Brenner deserves mention for losing three of his conference champions (High Point, Tennessee St., BYU) in two days, all before the first conference championship has even been decided. Also deserving similar mention are J Donadio (unhappy with High Point, Eastern Kentucky, Towson) and Sa Leach (low about High Point, Stetson, Eastern Kentucky). Down two already are Nocilla (High Point, Ark-Pine Bluff), Rubinson (High Point, Quinnipiac), Gorenstein (Jacksonville, Coastal Carolina), Booth (Eastern Kentucky, UNCA), and J McAtee (Eastern Kentucky, UNCA) (along with Bi Acchione, M Kline, M Wanger, Grossman, Steitz, Cristinzio, Leace, and M Peloso, all of whom were mentioned in our previous post).

The first two dancers will be chosen today. In the Atlantic Sun, Mercer (chosen by 69 of us) squares off against Florida Gulf Coast (chosen by 28), and in the OVC it's Belmont (81) vs. Murray State (11).

Tune in tomorrow for more fun, fun, fun.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Madness Begins

According to ESPN, "week one" of Championship Week is upon us. How can something named "Championship Week" have more than one week in it? Well remember, these are the same people who when Joe Lunardi updates his page, flash his latest guesses on their news crawler as "breaking news." Kentucky moves from 'last four in' to 'first four out.' Oh, my.

But obviously we all have to live with the foibles of the Worldwide Leader. After all, we wouldn't want either Dennis Rodman or North Korea to threaten a nuclear attack against us, would we?

Tuesday marked the first conference tournament games of 2013. So it also marked the first failures for our contestants, as 17 entrants lost a conference winner on the opening day. UNC-Ashville got clobbered by Longwood in the first round of the Big South tournament, contrary to the predictions of Bi Acchione, Booth, Grossman, Steitz, M Josephs, M Kline, D Kornfeld, M Leach, Su Leach, J McAtee, L Schlegel, R Simon, and M Wanger, while also in the Big South, Coastal Carolina (chosen by Coach Doc, Gorenstein, Karlsruher and Sanders) was whipped by Liberty. Day two of week one of the Week was marked by 24 additional contestants with punctured dreams, 23 of whom picked Bryant in the Northeast conference (though unfortunately they are too numerous to conveniently mention individually). Finally, much to the commissioners' pronunciative delight, someone also picked Quinnipiac (Rubinson).

In an impressive display of anti-acumen, Bi Acchione, M Kline, and M Wanger have each in the first two days lost two of their conference champions (all choosing both UNCA and Bryant). If you count those who chose ineligible conference champions, then you can add Grossman, Steitz, Cristinzio, J Donadio, Leace, and M Peloso to this illustrious group.

Tonight we have conference tournament games from the Atlantic Sun, Big South, MVC, OVC, and WCC. Make sure to watch that ESPN news crawler!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Things that make us happy, things that make us shake our heads

Well, they're pretty much the same thing, aren't they?

First, only on the happy side, the game is afoot! It's March and that's just about the happiest month in sports. No head shaking about that. So let's move on.

We tried to be helpful, we really did. We blogged about illegal Wild Cards. We sent e-mails. We posted Rules. We alerted the local authorities to be on the lookout. But apparently nothing we can do will keep some entrants from thumbing their noses at us when it comes to their Wild Card selections.

As usual, however, we get the last laugh. This year, verbal spankings go to M Wanger, who chose Marquette as his Wild Card (#18 in the AP Top 25 posted with the Rules) and Day, who chose #13 Ohio State. The Scofflaw of the Year award goes to self-proclaimed "Urbans Angels" member Frame, who tried to slip #2 Duke by us with her Wild Card selection. Nice try, Angel.

Our well-timed warning post also cautioned would-be entrants against choosing teams that are ineligible for the NCAA tournament, and we specifically mentioned Connecticut, although you wouldn't know it from the at-large selections of Bland, Brenner, B Brenner, Cristinzio, Eberly, Grossman, Steitz, Kaelin, D Kornfeld, McKillip, P Ripley, Selig, Watson, M Wanger (two mentions already -- it might end up being a long contest for this guy), and B Wright, all of whom selected the ineligible Huskies.

Also mentioned in the article we linked were Arkansas-Pine Bluff (chosen to win its conference by Baum, Eberly, Steitz, Henry, Leace, S Leach, and Nocilla) and Towson (chosen to win its conference by Atkinson, Barone, J Donadio, and Huffnagle).

Not mentioned in that particular article (but easily found in a simple google search) is UCF, who the NCAA banned from the tournament due to violations, much to the chagrin of Frame, Hahn, Steitz, Kaelin, M Kline, and B Wright. A little trickier to find (but still not very hard) are teams that are eligible to be selected at-large but weren't invited to play in their conference tournament (because they're leaving next season for another conference). So it's not a total loss for those who chose Boston University to win the America East conference (Baum, Grossman, M Leach, S Leach, and M Peloso) or Georgia State in the Colonial (Cristinzio) -- we wish you all good luck with the committee.

The funny thing is, other then possibly UConn, none of the above selections were mainstream. So it's somewhat ironic that eight people (Baum, Cristinzio, Eberly, Grossman, S Leach, Kaelin, Steitz, and B Wright) picked multiple upsets that were not only improbable, but downright impossible. Steitz gets special mention for selecting three such teams (UConn, UCF, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff).

Finally, we are delighted to announce the return of the famed "Wamser Maneuver," named after a contestant who, in the early days of the pool, made waves by choosing one or more teams into his Final Four that he did not choose into his Elite Eight. Wamser's technique has long since evolved to the point where he now selects one or more teams into his Final Four without even entering the contest, but we still call the move by its original moniker. Whatever we call it, however, it's been quite a few years since somebody felt empowered enough to try it, and this year we salute Coach Doc for thinking enough of Georgetown to call them a Final Four team, but not thinking enough of the Hoyas to predict them into the Elite Eight.

Some fun. More to follow.

Get Smart

Anyone who has ever watched Maxwell Smart bumble across the television or the big screen, or even listened to the old Toto song, knows the value of 99.

Well this year, we're proud to announce that 99 contestants have dipped their toes into the pool. That's two more than last year, and it's always good to move in the right direction. We don't yet know how many are paying entrants, but we do know whoever wins will have bested almost a hundred other college basketball fans.

So here we go. Good luck to all.