Tuesday, April 8, 2014

UConn't believe it...

For the second time in four years UConn has won the national championship with a team that couldn't even finish near the top of its conference standings (this year, UConn finished 3rd in the AAC; in 2011, the Huskies finished in a three-way tie for 9th/10th/11th in the Big East).

But Connecticut won when it counted, something we can also say about our prizewinners, Baumgarten (1st), McKillip (2nd), Haklar (tied for 3rd), M Josephs (tied for 3rd), and J Donadio, Jr. (1st when the field was chosen).

We had 88 entries that "counted," meaning the prizes will be 438 "credits" to Baumgarten, 219 to McKillip, 36.50 each to Haklar and M Josephs, and 100 to J Donadio, Jr.

Booth didn't win any moolah, but she does get to bask in eternal glory.

We bid you a fond adieu. See you next year.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fitting End

As we noted earlier, none of us beat the 50% mark when it came to choosing conference champions, only one of us (M Josephs) beat 50% when it came to picking Elite Eight teams, and none of us topped the 50% mark in our Final Four predictions. So, it's probably fitting that a grand total of zero (0) of our contestants have their choice for national champion actually playing in the championship game.

If we wanted to be fair, we might point out that this year is the first time in, well, ever, that at least one of the NCAA tournament finalists didn't rate a 3-seed or better (and only the third time that one of the tourney finalists wasn't at least a 2-seed, after 1989 and 2011). But we don't want to be fair. That's never been one of our aspirations, so instead we'll point out that this year's winning score of 257 points is the second lowest in the history of the contest, lower only than the 223 points Huffnagle won with in 2011.

The owner of that paltry 257 points, Baumgarten presumably doesn't care about the above piece of trivia any more than we care about being fair, so kudos to Baumgarten, the 2014 Pre-Tournament NCAA Contest winner.

In second place, with 253 points, is McKillip, and tied for third with 252 are Haklar and M Josephs. After winning at least some cashola her first two years in the contest, this year Steinhardt (251) finished just one point out of the money. Congratulations all, as well as J Donadio, Jr., who won the prize for being in first place at the time the tournament field was chosen.

We like to think we're not easily amazed, but this year's performance by Urban Angels is nothing short of astonishing. Consider, Urban Angels picked only 13 correct conference champions (out of 32), picked 17 (!) at-large teams with under .500 records (plus three other teams with records between .500 and two games over .500), got zero (0) Elite Eight teams correct, zero (0) Final Four teams correct, and had their choice for NCAA champion knocked out in the first round of the tournament... and only put up the second worst score in contest history, with 114 points. (If any of our readers are history buffs, the worst score in contest history was Carson's 102 points in 1998.) The lucky entrant who Urban Angels displaced for the 2nd worst score ever, B Wright (who scored 115 points in 2011) this year showed what it means to try harder, finishing in 102nd place with 136 points.

We'll have a final wrap after the championship game. Enjoy the first 7-seed vs. 8-seed game in Final Four history (and only the second 7 vs. 8 matchup in tournament history, the only other one being 8-seed UNC vs. 7-seed Tulsa in an Elite Eight game in 2000).

Oh yeah, also, it's now official: Booth (245) beat Whiteside (225), by 20 points. Wonders never cease.

Friday, April 4, 2014


With all due respect to Florida, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Kentucky, this Tournament's "One Shining Moment" has already occurred. After a full decade of debasement, humiliation, and suffering her brother-in-law's taunts after ten consecutive ignominious defeats... after losing to him in last year's contest by, and we quote, "ONE F**CKING POINT!!!"... after getting busy at work and not having much time to devote to this year's entry... after hearing her rival's prediction that once again he (and, again, we quote), "Will crush Nancy and the twins! Shabba!!!! Mista Lova Lova!"... well, we're here to report something we never thought possible: Booth (245 points) has beaten Whiteside (225).

Sure, Whiteside picked Florida as his champion and Booth's champ (Arizona) is long gone, so if the Gators win then technically he can pull victory out of defeat's proverbial jaws, but (a) we've always reported the Rivals results in the days before the Final Four; and (b) we've never allowed a mere technicality to get in the way of a good story. So go ahead, Booth, bask in the glory and pour yourself a nice glass of champagne. You've earned it.

Whiteside's nightmare doesn't stop there, though. For what could be worse for a parent than to badmouth your own flesh-and-blood -- and then watch the little punk whup your butt? Yes, C Whiteside (225) did manage to beat out little girl B Whiteside (212), but the other twin, J Whiteside ("I'm 7 minutes older than [my sister] Brenna and will crush her like a bug" -- but unlike his daddy at least the kid backed it up) spanked his old man, 237 to 225. To add the final ignominy to C Whiteside's year, workplace rival McKillip (253) smacked him around as well, and that's final even if Florida wins.

Though they didn't necessarily talk trash at Whiteside levels, children beating up on their parents was somewhat of a theme this season, with S Adams (229) besting father Coach Doc (223); Brenner, Jr. (232) beating Brenner (230); L Schlegel (220) punishing R Schlegel (203); M Josephs (252) putting the hurt on D Josephs (217); Mad Leach (249) pummeling P Leach (230), who in turn edged his own dad, E Leach (227); both K Ripley (219) and M Wanger (211) topping R Wanger (202); and patriarch J Donadio, Jr. (235) losing to not one, not two, but all three of his progeny, N Donadio (245), J Donadio, Jr. (243), and L Donadio (238). In a notable exception to the rule, even languishing in 76th place didn't prevent J McAtee (202) from finishing ahead of son M McAtee (170).

While P Leach (230) handled his dad and also contrived to beat one of his two daughters -- S Leach (183) -- he also managed to get stomped by the family pet (L Leach, 232). In the battle of Leach dogs, Leo Leach (232) also beat Surprise Leach (225).

After a disappointing 2013 when K Ripley (219) lost to pretty much everyone she cares about, she made up for it this year by reestablishing her dominance over not only her father R Wanger (202) but also brother M Wanger (211) and husband P Ripley (217).

We don't know if a tie is like kissing your arch-nemesis, but maybe B Peloso (227) and K Sullivan (227) can tell us. At least B Peloso eked out a win over his Duke-loving wife M Peloso (207), while K Sullivan suffered the shame of failing before her deceased mother-in-law, Haklar (252).

G Wright (225) has meandered around the middle of the standings while still pounding her hubby B Wright (136) by 89 points. A Cristinzio (188) did her one better, hanging out in 86th place while still beating T Cristinzio (155) by 33, though we don't know what relationship the Cristinzios have with each other. Also in the we-don't-have-any-idea-what-their-relationship-is category, Dale Dye (232) defeated Doug Dye (216).

Unlike Whiteside, Millan more or less split with his rivals, coming out ahead of T Joseph (192) and Karlsruher (210) and behind T Joseph 2 (234), Brenner, Jr. (232), and Brenner (230). In the seemingly crowded 12A, Serri (234) emerged as the leader, ahead of Sciarabba (230), Isdaner (226), Gorenstein (204), Selarnick (178), and Moscow (166). Among members of DBR (using DBR handles rather than pool names), Kedsy (247) has emerged victorious over nocilla (225), BlueKevIL (225), ACCBBallFan (223), Ferryfor50 (213), tommy (204), Mike Corey (198), and superdave (184).

We had more Jekyll and Hyde situations than usual this year, and Jekyll won most of them, as Lenok (187) led Lenok 2 (172); Pomerantz (228) pounded Pomerantz 2 (193), and Selig (227) seared Selig 2 (185). The only Hyde hammer was T Joseph 2 (234) topping T Joseph (192).

We hope you enjoyed the contest. Have fun watching the Final Four, and we'll report back next week with a final wrap up.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tag Team Tussles

After doing this for 25 years, we guess it makes sense that (for the fifth year in a row), the average commissioner (249.5 points) has bragging rights over the average pool entrant (214.1). Also completely logical is the idea that females (226.5) sit comfortably atop males (212.83), and that children (228.38) bettered their betters. Most sensible of all is the universal truth that dogs (228.5) are smarter than humans (214.89) who are smarter than lawyers (206.25). And we guess it really did hurt when angels (183.0) fell from heaven.

This year's top Tag Team was the Donadio Group (240.25), which sported nearly a ten point lead over its nearest competitor. The Rivals of Millan (220.17) have quite a ways to go before they can rival Whiteside and his Enemies (230.67), or even get the better of People who know Natalini (220.4). Last year's Tag Team darlings, the Members of DBR (214.88), this season became mired in mediocrity, barely ahead of the Ripley Believe it or Nots (212.25). And, as we've grown accustomed over a quarter of a century, the Leach Gang (207.33) can't shoot straight, although at least they were more accurate than the Boys from 12A (205.57) and the Urban Engineers (186.78).

Regionally, if you want to pick pools, go West, young man (or young woman -- we don't discriminate here, especially since (as noted above) women scored better than men), as Western entries averaged 225.0, better than New England (218.0), the South (211.25), the Mid-Atlantic region (211.25), and the Midwest (211.0). Even in Pennsylvania, West(ern PA, 222.5) is smarter than the rest of the state (215.3). And if you think going all the way out to China (210.0) will help you, think again.

Neither Philadelphia (208.4) nor New York (203.25) were particularly good places from which to pick pools this season, but halfway in-between in Central Jersey (240.25), it wasn't so bad. The Philadelphia suburbs (216.0) once again kicked the collective butts of the Philadelphia urbs (208.4).

People named Matt (245.0), Ed (240.0), Brett (231.0), and Kevin (229.5) are good people to trust, but whatever you do, don't listen to George (202.0), Harry (196.0), Al (189.5), or Bob (181.5). And you probably shouldn't try to be like Mike (203.56), either. Neither smart nor stupid were Luke/Lucia (229.0), Jack/Jake (223.5), John/Jon (219.88), Nick (215.33), David (211.2), Jeff (208.0), and Rick (205.5).

Our most popular college, with 12 votes, was Penn State, although Nittany Lion groupthink (210.58) was only good for 21st place among participating universities. Among rivalry schools, Princeton (237.0) trounced Penn (180.5), Michigan (226.0) edged Michigan State (222.5), Temple (221.2) clobbered Villanova (165.0), UNC (234.0) piled on against Duke (217.0), and Ursinus (211.5) bested Widener (202.0). Brand new ACC member Syracuse (204.5) showed outgoing Maryland (195.4) the door.

Looking at conference affiliations of favorite schools, the West Coast Conference (245.0) and Conference USA (235.0) were the class of the contest. The SEC can not only boast two teams in the Final Four, but also a tie for 3rd (along with the AAC) in our contest, with a 224.0 average. The ten member Big 12 (221.0) skunked the twelve member Big 10 (212.62). And the new, improved ACC (210.52) couldn't even beat out the Patriot League (219.0) or the Atlantic 10 (217.0). Fans of lower division schools (216.5) have a ways to go before they can move up, while it appears Ivy Leaguers (207.0) aren't as smart as they think. The CAA (205.0), the Southern Conference (179.0), and most of all the new Big East (165.0), probably ought to take up croquet or something.

When it comes to occupations, those in writing (236.5) and entertainment (243.0) seem to know what they're doing. Financial executives (234.5) are just a bit cleverer than people who work with numbers (223.0) or computers (221.33). Students (223.5) can now justify not listening to teachers (209.67). Attorneys (204.2) rank in the middle of Real Estate (205.0) and Insurance (192.0) professionals. Retired people (204.0) have once again shown they're retired for a reason. And clearly health care professionals (190.0) and engineers (185.4) have way too much on their plates to worry about a silly little contest like this.

Next time: Rivals! And we all know you don't want to miss that.