Thursday, April 9, 2015

Take Five

It's over. This commissioner has returned from Indianapolis, Duke has won the championship, and Coach K has won his fifth title, putting him ahead of everyone except the legendary Coach Wooden.

But obviously more importantly, the Pre-NCAA Contest can now crown its winner. And the winner is Tester, with 360 points. Second place goes to Baumgarten (354), third goes to Mahalko (350), and in fourth place was Karlsruher (346).

Mr. Tester, we salute you, but that's all we're going to do, because Tester chose to be frugal and prudent (and lots of other boring adjectives) and not to pay for his entry.

Those sounds you're hearing are the cheers of Baumgarten (now getting first prize), Mahalko (second prize), and Karlsruher (third prize), who must really appreciate Tester's dedication to the pure fun of competition. Special kudos to Baumgarten for winning first prize for the second straight year.

Tester becomes the third non-paying contest champion, after Biebel in 2004 and Crotty in 2010. Duke's win also ensured the Brady's now-20 year old record for most points in the contest (379) will continue for at least another year.

Final standings may be found here, or by using the link on the right hand side of the page.

Have a great off-season. Commissioners out.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Live from Indianapolis...

Game one:
Game two:

With previously undefeated Kentucky going down, that means our contestants' consensus champion has actually won the tournament six times in 26 years, a rousing 23.1%.

We're very much looking forward to Monday night.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rarified Rivals

After C Whiteside lost to Booth last season for the first time ever, he pondered whether life was worth living, or at least whether he ought to still play in the contest, and isn't that more or less the same thing? For her part, Booth couldn't help wondering whether the feel-good story of 2014 was a mere fluke, a tiny blip on the radar screen of life.

Predictably, they were both wrong.

While Booth failed in her attempt to serve a second straight whupping on her brother-in-law, she only finished four points behind C Whiteside, 295 to 291. Counting last year's win and her one point loss to her nemesis in 2013, it would appear Booth is a force for C Whiteside to reckon with. She even managed to tie mutual Whiteside enemy, Butscher, 291 to 291. Both Booth and C Whiteside trounced Whiteside's trash-talking twins, B Whiteside (270) and J Whiteside (259). And as can be seen in the above scores, the internecine squabble between the twins ended with B Whiteside as the victor.

Recently minted octogenarian E Leach (293) fell before his own son, P Leach (326), but managed to tame the rest of the Leach Gang fairly handily. Madison Leach (258) punished her sister Samantha Leach (235) but both siblings had a thing or two to teach the family dog, L Leach (225). Former contest darling, Mash Leach (259) smacked all three of them around.

B Peloso (286) suffered defeat at the hands of his Duke-loving wife, M Peloso (291), but perhaps more importantly vanquished arch-nemesis K Sullivan (275). Perhaps taking just a bit of the sting out of that ignominious defeat, K Sullivan did manage to handle both her husband, D'Zuro (248), and her deceased mother-in-law, Haklar (270).

Before the tournament, Karlsruher (346) expressed a profound desire to extend his 7-year stretch of dominance over Millan (268), and his wish was granted. Also kicking Millan while he flopped around on the floor were fellow rivals, Brenner (336) and Feinblatt (324), although Millan did manage to beat both T Joseph (265) and T Joseph 2 (254).

Similarly, K Ripley (220) pleaded with the Fates to allow her victory over her husband, P Ripley (312), and father, R Wanger (276), but unlike Karlsruher, her wish appeared to fall on deaf ears.

Among the Donadios, it was L Donadio (288) who spanked both her brothers, J Donadio, Jr. (278) and N Donadio (259), as well as dear old dad, J Donadio, Sr. (274). Amongst the wreckage of what was formerly "12A," Serri (264) edged Gorenstein (263), while both pounded Sciarabba (245). Within the members of DBR, BlueKevIL (301) won the day, topping Kedsy (276), ACCBballFan (275), Nocilla (269), Tommy (268), and Superdave (246).

M Josephs (316) once again handled his old man, D Josephs (285). T Cristinzio (232) topped A Cristinzio (176). R Schlegel (273) regained control over L Schlegel (271). Da Dye (324) beat Do Dye (281). And Mike Mc (276) bettered Joe Mc (225).

T Josephs beat himself (265 to 254), but Selig (271 to 284) and Harlan (323 to 332) didn't.

At least one commissioner is off to the Final Four. We'll try to post on location.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tag Team tartar

In this topsy turvy place we call the world, sometimes down is up, east is west, and black is white. Even more dizzying, sometimes lawyers (280.5) score better than humans (275.19) and males (275.23) beat females (270.23). And forget about dogs and cats living together, as the canines (225.0) are skulking away with their tails between their legs, while the felines (no entries) have apparently boycotted the contest altogether.

The Millan-os proved to be one tough cookie when it came to picking pools this season, as the six entry group (perhaps also known as the "7th Floor Crew") shaked and baked its way to this season's top Tag Team mark, averaging 298.8 points. Coming in a distant second to the gourmet baked goods was the group formerly known as Whiteside and his Enemies, now dubbed "Whiteside and Haters" by the two youngest Whiteside entrants, with an average of 281.2. Last year's top Tag Team, the Donadio Group, finished third (274.75), barely edging the D'Zuro Consortium (274.0). Among the also-rans, DBR (272.5) once again squeaked ahead of the Ripley Believe-it-or-Nots (269.33). The Urban Engineers (257.5) failed to make a tribute to Alberts, but at least they beat the Remnants of 12A (257.33) by the slimmest of margins. And continuing what seems to be an annual tradition, the Leach Gang finished at the bottom, with an average of 250.56 points.

Among favorite schools (minimum 2 entries to qualify), University of Pennsylvania supporters (327.5) proved that an Ivy education is at least good for something. Due to the Orange probation, Syracuse fans (292.0) had extra time to fill out their entries, and it showed. Among schools that actually made the NCAA tournament, Duke fans (277.1) demonstrated their team is better than they are, beating out Maryland (265.0) and VCU (239.5), but finishing behind Villanova (287.6) and Temple (282.33). Among the remaining qualifying schools, Penn State (270.4) edged Johns Hopkins (268.0), and for DCCC (204.0), well the joke sort of writes itself, doesn't it?

In the tri-state area, Pennsylvania (278.7) showed New Jersey (274.75) and New York (271.4) which real estate is choicest. Residents of warm weather states illustrated the effect of sunshine on the brain, as Florida (262.5), California (259.33), and Virginia (257.75) got tanned at the bottom. Going into more detail on a regional basis, Western PA (315.5) bettered urban Philadelpia (284.0), suburban Philadelphia (276.18), central New Jersey (274.75), and New York City (271.4). The Midwest (301.0) beat out the South (261.2) and the West (259.33). And the region known as DMV (257.5) probably needs a new identity.

Teachers (307.0) showed students (272.33) that they still have a lot to learn. Those in the financial industries (296.43) suggested to those in the IT industry (287.75) that it's more lucrative the cook the books than hack into computer networks. Retired people (279.78) perhaps pointed practicing attorneys (273.0) and engineers (272.25) toward what they should be doing next.

The average commissioner (296.0) topped the average contest entrant (274.82). And our underage-entrants once again exemplified one of the commissioners' favorite old adages, proving that children (265.57) should be seen but not seen gambling.

Top names this year include Jack (302.5), Kevin (292.5), and Matt (282.0). Calling yourself Luke (279.5), Nick (279.3), Jeff (277.0), Mike (275.0), or David (272.6) seems neither to help nor hurt. Then again, anyone named George (269.5), John (267.0), Bob (267.0), and Rick (264.0) might want to consider witness protection.

Tomorrow: Rivals 2015. So stay tuned.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Deja Vu all over again

See what we did there?

The all-time record for most points scored in the Pre-Tournament contest happened all the way back in 1996. Not coincidentally, that is also the only other year that more than one person picked a wildcard that made the Final Four (or even the Elite Eight). The all-time record holder, Brady, scored 379 points that year in a record that would last at least 19 years.

The all-time record for fewest points needed to win the Pre-Tournament contest happened in 2011 when Huffnagle won with 223 points. The 2nd-fewest points to win the contest happened just last season, when Baumgarten won with 257 points.

What's the relevance of the above trivia? Just peruse the information below and hopefully you'll figure it out.

1. Baumgarten, 429
2. Mahalko, 425
3. Karlsruher, 421

1. Baumgarten, 394
2. Mahalko, 350
3. Karlsruher, 346

1. Mahalko, 390
2. Karlsruher, 386
3. Harlan 2, 372

1. Tester, 360 (non-paying entry)
2. Baumgarten, 354
3. Mahalko, 350
4. Karlsruher, 346

So, Brady's record is only safe if Duke wins. And unless Kentucky wins, the new record holder will be someone who previously had the second-lowest winning total ever. Ain't life a funny thing?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Deja Vu all over again

So, last year, Wisconsin had to beat Arizona to get to the Final Four and then had to play Kentucky in the national semifinal game. This year, same exact thing. Weird, right? On the other side of the bracket, Duke has to play the same Michigan State team it played back in November. And in the Pre-NCAA Contest, last year's winner, Baumgarten, is ensconced in first place once again.

We'll give you some more details tomorrow. In the mean time, full standings may be found here or from the Standings link on the right hand side of the page.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Unluck of the Irish

Wow. That was some game. Kentucky survived by 2 over Notre Dame and Wisconsin handled Arizona. In the meaningless, mid-Four standings, it's Brenner in the lead with 306 points, followed by Baumgarten (304), Harlan 2 (302), and Mahalko (300). A Cristinzio (156) is still in the cellar.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Eight in the books

The Elite Eight has been decided, as Duke (chosen by 67 contestants), Gonzaga (58), Louisville (7: Barone, Booth, J Broder, T Cristinzio, Crotty, Mahalko, Joe Mc), and Michigan State (1 -- M Peloso -- plus 17 who took the Spartans as wildcard) have rounded out the field.

Dale Dye has jumped back into the lead with 274 points, followed by Brenner (266), Baumgarten (264), Harlan 2 (262), Bill Acchione (261), and Mahalko (260).

One thing that the six above-named contestants have in common is they all picked Michigan State as their wildcard, and thus all picked up the bonus points for having a wildcard hit the Elite Eight. This is the fourth time in contest history that such a thing has happened, after 1990 (Texas into Elite Eight), 1996 (Mississippi State into Final Four), and 2013 (Wichita State into Final Four). And it's probably safe to say it'll be hard to finish in the money unless you're one of the 17 entrants wise enough to go Green with your wildcard. Without going into too many permutations, the Final Four for each of the top six in the standings are as follows:

Da Dye: Kentucky, Iowa State, Maryland, Virginia;

Brenner: Kentucky, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Virginia;

Baumgarten: Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin, Iowa State;

Harlan 2: Kentucky, Arizona, Wisconsin, Virginia;

Bi Acchione: Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, Villanova;

Mahalko: Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin, Arizona.

Seven (7) of us correctly guessed six (6) of the Elite Eight (8): Geo B, Brenner, Selig 2, Mahalko, Karlsruher, T Joseph, and M Peloso. 35 of us got five right out of Eight; 29 were right on just four. Six hapless souls managed only three (3) of the Eight (Burch, Serri, S Leach, K Ripley, E Pogach, D Josephs). And the prize for Elite Eight cluelessness goes to A Cristinzio, who accurately predicted only one (1) Elite Eight (8) team (Duke) and thus edged out Sciarabba, who lucked into two (2) Elite Eight teams (Kentucky and Wisconsin).

Kentucky (72), Duke (49), Wisconsin (39), Arizona (26), and Gonzaga (25) are fairly common Final Four choices. Other than Michigan State, the only contestants who have even an outside shot at gaining ground are the three who chose Notre Dame as a Final Four team (Brenner, T Joseph, M Kleiman), and Booth, who took Louisville.

After romping her way through her first three contests, Steinhardt has fallen on hard times. Fallen far enough to land in second-to-last place, with 186 points. Fortunately for Steinhardt, she's still 30 points ahead of cellar dweller A Cristinzio (156).

Full standings may be found here, or from the Standings link on the right hand side of the page.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Double your score, double your pleasure

Well, Kentucky doubled up West Virginia, 78-39, while the three other favorites were challenged but won. So, all but two of us got Elite Eight points for UK (all but A Cristinzio and Nocilla), 70 of us got Elite Points for Wisconsin (all but Booth, A Cristinzio, Hahn, D Josephs, L Leach, S Leach, Rybaltowski, K Sullivan, J Whiteside), 57 got E8 points for Arizona, and 17 got lucky with the Irish of Notre Dame.

In possibly the most useless standings of the season (halfway through the Sweet 16), we have a new leader -- L Schlegel, with 241 points. Last year's winner, Baumgarten, has surged into a second place tie with Da Dye (each with 234), just ahead of E Leach (233), Biebel (231) and Do Dye (231).

At the bottom of the standings, A Cristinzio (146 points) seems locked and unloaded, trailing the 2nd-to-last contestant, T Cristinzio (172) by 36 points.

Full standings may be found via the Standings link on the right hand side of the page.

If Eight is enough, what does that say about Four?

More games are upon us. By the end of tomorrow night, the Elite Eight will be known. But how much did our contestants "know" when they filled out their entries? Let's take a look, shall we?

Here's a list of the teams we chose to make the Elite Eight:

Kentucky: 77
Wisconsin: 70
Virginia*: 70
Duke: 67
Gonzaga: 58
Arizona: 57
Villanova*: 55
Kansas*: 35
Iowa St.**: 18
Utah: 18
Notre Dame: 17
Maryland*: 14
Northern Iowa*: 14
Baylor**: 9 (Burch, Crotts, Do Dye, M Josephs, L Leach, Marshall, K Ripley, R Schlegel, Warner)
Oklahoma: 8 (Crotts, Hahn, D Josephs, D Kedson, E Pogach, Rybaltowski, Serri, Tester)
North Carolina: 8 (Booth, Burch, A Cristinzio, Crotty, M Josephs, S Leach, Marshall, Steinhardt)
Wichita St.: 8 (Burch, Joe Mc, M McAtee, Paston, K Ripley, Rubinson, R Simon, C Whiteside)
Louisville: 7 (Barone, Booth, J Broder, T Cristinzio, Crotty, Mahalko, Joe Mc)
SMU**: 5 (Barone, M McAtee, Paston, E Pogach, Serri)
San Diego St.*: 2 (M Kleiman, Sciariabba)
Georgetown*: 2 (Burch, D Kornfeld)
Arkansas*: 2 (M Leach, Rybaltowski)
West Virginia: 2 (Mahalko, Steinhardt)
Butler*: 1 (Sciariabba)
Belmont**: 1 (Booth)
Miami-FL***: 1 (A Cristinzio)
Mississippi**: 1 (Barone)
Xavier: 1 (Booth)
Oklahoma St.**: 1 (A Cristinzio)
Penn St.***: 1 (A Cristinzio)
VCU**: 1 (J Whiteside)
Michigan St.: 1 (M Peloso)

* -- oops
** -- serious oops
*** -- thought they were entering a pre-NIT contest

Here's what we thought about the Final Four:

Kentucky: 72
Duke: 49
Wisconsin: 39
Virginia*: 37
Villanova*: 35
Arizona: 26
Gonzaga: 25
Iowa St.**: 9 (Baumgarten, Da Dye, D'Zuro, Gorenstein, Haklar, P Leach, O'Brien, Rybaltowski, Templeton)
Kansas*: 7 (Burch, T Cristinzio, D Kedson, S Leach, K Ripley, Tester, J Whiteside)
North Carolina: 3 (Burch, A Cristinzio, Crotty)
Maryland*: 3 (Da Dye, L Leach, Selarnick)
Notre Dame: 3 (Brenner, T Joseph, M Kleiman)
Utah: 3 (Atkinson, A Cristinzio, Grossman)
Northern Iowa*: 2 (Fitch, D Kornfeld)
Wichita St.: 1 (Joe Mc)
Baylor**: 1 (Do Dye)
Louisville: 1 (Booth)

* - same as above
** - seriously same as above

After tonight, there'll be a few more oopses. Enjoy the games.

Monday, March 23, 2015

To Dye for

Wildcard points are stacking up, but Dale Dye remains on top of the standings, with 214 points. E Leach has also kept his lofty 2nd place position (203 points), and it's a family affair, with Doug Dye jumping into a tie for third with L Schlegel, both with 201.

Looking forward, however, it looks like the Dye might be cast, and not in Doug and Dale's favor. Dale Dye, for example, only has four (4) Elite Eight teams still alive, and only one (1) possible Final Four team. Doug Dye's entry is similarly flawed, with a maximum of four (4) Elite Eight and two (2) Final Four teams. E Leach, on the other hand, has five (5) live Elite Eight teams and four (4!) live Final Four teams (although he can only get three of them, since he has both Duke and Gonzaga).

Here's a list of the top of the standings and the number of live Elite Eight and Final Four teams:

Dale Dye (214): 4 and 1
E Leach (203): 5 and 4
Doug Dye (201): 4 and 2
L Schlegel (201): 5 and 3
B Peloso (196): 5 and 3
Baumgarten (194): 5 and 3
Blane (194): 5 and 3
Feinblatt (194): 4 and 2
Harlan 2 (192): 6 and 3

In an astonishing achievement, Mahalko still has all eight (8) of his Elite Eight teams alive and all four (4) of his Final Four. Sadly for Mahalko, he can only get a maximum of six (6) of his Eight, due to some of his teams playing in the same subregion, but he still has a shot at all four Final Four teams. Even more sadly for Mahalko, he only has 180 points, 34 behind Dale Dye and with the same national champion (Kentucky), but technically he's still got a shot.

Not quite as boastworthy as Mahalko but still plenty impressive is Karlsruher, with seven (7) live Elite Eight teams and three (3) Final Four teams. OK, maybe not so impressive, since Karlsruher has three teams in the South Region and two in the Midwest Region, so he can only get a maximum of four (4) Elite Eight teams correct, same as Dale Dye. Also, Karlsruher has only 176 points and the same national champion as the others.

Speaking of the South, coming from the association that brought us a "Big 12" with ten teams and a "Big 10" and "Atlantic 10," both with 14 teams, we guess a "South Region" with three of its four remaining teams from Utah, California, and the State of Washington makes perfect sense.

After the dynamic duo of Mahalko and Karlsruher, 23 of us have six (6) live Elite Eight teams, 33 of us have five (5), and 19 (including both Dyes) have four (4). The somewhat less scintillating pair of A Cristinzio (three (3) Elite Eight teams) and Schiarabba (just two (2) of the Eight) don't figure to be moving up in the standings anytime soon.

Eleven of us still have four (4) live Final Four teams: Selig, T Joseph, M Josephs, Mahalko, L Donadio, M McAtee, Nocilla, Warner, Butscher, E Leach, and Paston; 43 of us have three (3) Final Four teams alive; 24 of us have just two (2) of the Four left, and only current leader Dale Dye is sitting with a measly one (1) active Final Four team.

Full standings may be seen here, or by clicking the Standings link on the right hand side of the page.

Eat Mor Chikin (or at least, Jayhawk)

The smoke has cleared and two more high seeds are gone. Virginia's demise came as a big surprise to our contestants, all but nine of whom (that's 70, to the you-know-what-impaired) chose Virginia into the Elite Eight. UVa was also taken by 37 of us into the Final Four and by Brenner, Templeton, and C Whiteside as champion, while upset winner Michigan State was chosen by 17 of us as a wildcard and by M Peloso as an Elite Eight team. We weren't quite as enamored with Kansas (35 into Elite Eight, 7 (Burch, T Cristinzio, D Kedson, S Leach, K Ripley, Tester, J Whiteside) into Final Four), but it still came as a bit of a Shocker, especially to J Whiteside who took the Jayhawks as his national champ.

Much less of a surprise was Duke's (67 into E8; 49 into F4; 18 as champ) win over San Diego State (M Kleiman and Schiarabba into Elite 8 and 13 entrants' wildcard); Gonzaga's (58; 25; 3 (Booth, M Josephs, K Ripley) victory over Iowa (wildcard of Burch and Marshall); and Wisconsin's (70; 39; 11) success over Oregon (Haklar's wildcard).

The other three games concerned only a few of us, like the eight (Crotts, Hahn, D Josephs, D Kedson, E Pogach, Rybaltowski, Serri, Tester) who took Oklahoma into their Elite Eight and the three (T Joseph, T Joseph 2, Millan) who picked Dayton as their wildcard. West Virginia (chosen into the Elite Eight by Mahalko and Steinhardt) beating Maryland (14 into E8 and Da Dye, L Leach, Selarnick into F4) had a similar non-effect, but no less so than Louisville (7 -- Barone, Booth, J Broder, T Cristinzio, Crotty, Mahalko, Joe Mc -- into E8; Booth into F4) over Northern Iowa (14 into E8; Fitch and D Kornfeld into F4).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Thrown to the wolves

Well, the craziest game of the day was the North Carolina State Wolfpack knocking out the Nova Gang. On the one side, kudos to Fitch, Hahn, E Pogach, Smith, and Warner, for picking NC State as their wildcard. On the other side, bit of a bummer for the 55 entrants who predicted VIllanova into the Elite Eight, the 35 of us who suggested Nova would make the Final Four, and especially for Bill Acchione, Geo B, A Cristinzio, and O'Brien, all of whom prematurely crowned Villanova as national champion.

Other than that, not a lot of action. Georgetown's loss disappointed the 13 of us who had the Hoyas as wildcards, as well as Burch and D Kornfeld, who pegged Georgetown as Elite Eight caliber. Xavier's victory rewarded Geo B and S Leach, who took Xavier as their wildcard, and raised the hopes of Booth, who picked the Musketeers into her Elite Eight. Arkansas' demise might have soured the evenings of Mash Leach and Rybaltowski, both of whom erroneously listed the Razorbacks among their Final Eight teams. And in the last game of the night, Notre Dame's exciting overtime victory disturbed the slumber of nobody except Schiarabba, who chose Butler into his Elite Eight.

Finally, anyone else notice when the announcers in the Kentucky/Cincinnati game exclaimed that the winner of the game would be rewarded with a trip to Cleveland? No offense to any Clevelanders out there, but when the Cincinnati players heard that, you could hardly blame them if they stopped trying.

We'll update the standings (to reflect wildcard points) after the games tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mild, Mild Mess

As exhilarating as Thursday's tournament games were, Friday's games could only be described as gnitaralihxe. As in, the opposite. In fact, the only upset of the entire day happened in the very last game, as 11-seeded Dayton played their second straight tournament game in their home state of Ohio and used that home advantage to climb past Providence in a 13 point yawner that finished after 1 am.

Not surprisingly, almost no upsets meant almost none of our contestants weeping, wailing, or even gnashing their teeth. Nobody lost a Champion or Final Four team today, and only Booth (Belmont) and A Cristinzio (Oklahoma State) lost an Elite Eight team.

There wasn't really even much wildcard action. People who picked Michigan State (17) and San Diego State (13) presumably smiled a little bit. The few who went out on a limb for Iowa (Burch, Marshall) or Oregon (Haklar) probably feel better than the equally few who dipped their toe in the water for Davidson (L Schlegel) or Georgia (L Leach, B Whiteside). Providence supporters (N Donadio, D Kornfeld, Kovolski, Mash Leach, K Sullivan, C Whiteside) probably wish the day was just a teensy bit more boring, although we imagine those who like Dayton (T Joseph, T Joseph 2, MIllan) disagree.

But besides that, blah. Hopefully the weekend will be more like yesterday than today.


So, not to brag, but one commissioner is sitting in his den, with one game on the TV, a second game on his laptop, and a third game on his iPad. But that's not why ws've decided to post at this time. No, our actual reason is to tell you that the number of times that ALL TRHEE games are in commercial is absolutely staggering.

That is all.

Wild, Wild, Wildness

When the schedulers saw fit to give us 3 vs. 14 matchups in all three of the first three NCAA tournament games, we were disappointed. 14-seeds have only managed to beat 3-seeds 18 times in 120 games since the tourney went to 64 teams, 30 years ago, and only five times in the 21st century. Boring, boring, boring.

Shows what we know.

The first game was surprisingly close. Northeastern, down 2 with the ball and the shot clock off, managed not to get off a shot and Notre Dame survived, 69-65. We could practically hear the sighs of relief from the 17 of our contestants who picked the Irish into the Final Eight, and the heart palpitations of Brenner, Templeton, and M Kleiman, who took Notre Dame into the Final Four.

After that, bedlam. 14-seed UAB snuck by 3-seed Iowa State, 60-59, dashing the hopes of 18 of our entrants who took Iowa State to the Elite Eight and 9 of us (Baumgarten, Da Dye, D'Zuro, Gorenstein, Haklar, P Leach, O'Brien, Rybaltowski, Templeton) who hoped to ride the Cyclones to the Final Four. 14-seed Georgia State, playing without its starting point guard, knocked off 3-seed Baylor, 57-56, similarly minimizing the chances of 9 contestants (Burch, Crotty, Do Dye, M Josephs, L Leach, Marshall, K Ripley, R Schlegel, Warner) who liked Baylor into the Elite Eight, and especially Doug Dye, who picked the Bears to roar into Indianapolis.

Then 11-seed UCLA beat 6-seed SMU (much to the Elite Eight chagrin of Barone, M McAtee, Paston, E Pogach, and Serri), 60-59, on a controversially goaltended three-pointer with UCLA down two and just a few seconds left. Then Cincinnati edged Purdue, 66-65 in OT, then NC State (wild card choice of Fitch, Hahn, E Pogach, Smith, Warner) beat LSU (wild card selection of Gorenstein, Rubinson, Rybaltowski) by the same 66-65 score.

10-seed Ohio State beat 7-seed VCU, 75-72 in OT. 13-seed Harvard came this close to upsetting Booth, Burch (E8 & F4), A Cristinzio (E8 & F4), Crotty (E8 & F4), M Josephs, S Leach, Marshall, Steinhardt, and, oh yeah, 4-seed UNC, missing a three-point shot at the buzzer and losing 67-65. 12-seed Wofford had a similar opportunity but also came up short, 56-53, against Arkansas and Mash Leach (Ark into E8) and Rybaltowski (ditto).

So, counting the not-so-famed First Four, we had 12 games decided by four (4) or fewer points by the first Thursday night of the tournament. The five one-point games set a single-day NCAA tournament record, the six one-point games in the tournament so far (counting Dayton's win over Boise State in the First Four) are just one away from the record for one-point games (7) in an entire tournament. Add in single-digit wins by Utah and Butler, and that tied the single-day tournament record for most games decided by fewer than 10 points.

So, we guess that was a really long way of saying yesterday was a pretty good day. Here's hoping for even more zaniness in the next 12 hours.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wild, Wild, Wildcats

We've run this contest for 25 years, and in every one of those years, our contestants have chosen a consensus champion. And every single one of those consensus champions have won. What? You find that hard to believe? Would you believe (we said, in our best Maxwell Smart voice), that almost every year our contestants have been right? No? Well, would you believe our contestants have at least been right more often than they're wrong? Still, no, eh? You're a tough customer. How about this, would you believe our entrants are correct often enough to, you know, be on the cusp of being sort of, maybe credible?

Aw, come on.

All right, you win. The actual answer is, a majority of our contestants have accurately predicted the national champion six (6) times in 25 years. Yeah, that does come out to 24%, what of it? well, if you're going to be that way about it...

So, while people who have time to click on internet polls on ESPN may think Kentucky has a better shot of winning than the field, they probably haven't heard that 37 of our 79 entrants (almost 47%) have chosen Kentucky to be their champion. So, yeah, we don't know about you, but we're taking the field.

Overall, eight different teams got votes for champion. And in what may be a contest first, all eight of our choices are either #1 seeds or #2 seeds. And the top four vote-getters are the four #1 seeds. Freaky, right? The full breakdown is as follows:

Kentucky: 37
Duke: 18
Wisconsin: 11
Villanova: 4 (Bi Acchione, Geo B, A Cristinzio, O'Brien)
Virginia: 3 (Brenner, Templeton, C Whiteside)
Gonzaga: 3 (Booth, M Josephs, K Ripley)
Arizona: 2 (N Donadio, S Leach)
Kansas: 1 (J Whiteside)

Also, note that three of the eight teams getting votes for national champions have the nickname "Wildcats." We'll let you figure out which three they are.

Meanwhile, for NCAA tournament games that nobody ever watches, the "First Four" had a lot of excitement this year (if something that nobody watches can be exciting, it's the falling-tree-making-a-sound thing all over again), featuring three games decided by four (4) or fewer points. Advancing to the actual NCAA tournament are Hampton (a team that evened its season record at 17-17 with the only double-digit victory of the four), Mississippi (comeback winner by 4 over BYU), Robert Morris (comeback winner by 4 over North Florida), and Dayton (comeback winner by 1 over Boise State on Dayton's home court in front of 12,000 Dayton fans).

The real games start tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wild, Wild, Wildcards

Every year, at least one person attempts to pull a fast one by us, and this year was no exception. Only thing different is it was just a single scofflaw this year, as only Templeton had the unmitigated gall to pick an illegal wild card, in his case, Butler (#18 in the AP poll accompanying the entry form).

That said, it's almost as bad to pick a wild card that wasn't even invited to play, as eight (8) contestants decided to try:

Murray State (3: J Whiteside, Serri, Steinhardt);
Temple (2: Joe Mc, J Broder);
Iona (M Kleiman);
Pitt (R Simon);
Colorado State (Sciarabba).

Our top Wildcard was Michigan State, with 17 votes. San Diego State (an 8-seed) and Georgetown (the highest seeded wildcard, with a 4-seed) each got 13 votes. After that, not including the five uninvited teams above, it was a mish-mosh:

Providence (chosen by 6: D Kornfeld, C Whiteside, N Donadio, K Sullivan, Kovalski, Mash Leach);
NC State (5: Hahn, E Pogach, G Warner, S Smith, Fitch);
Dayton (3: T Joseph, T Joseph 2, Millan);
LSU (3: Gorenstein, Rubinson, Rybaltowski);
Xavier (2: S Leach, Geo B);
Iowa (2: Marshall, Burch);
Georgia (2: L Leach, B Whiteside);
Mississippi (T Cristinzio);
Oregon (Haklar);
Harvard (A Cristinzio);
Davidson (L Schlegel);

Overall, six (6) wildcards come from the East Region, four (4) come from the South, four (4) from the West, and none (none) from the Midwest Region.

Finally, though having absolutely nothing to do with wildcards, let's take a quick, last look at our contestants' conference champion prowess. Out of 79 entrants, a whopping 12 got more than half the conference champions correct:

E Leach, Dale Dye: 20
Doug Dye: 19
L Schlegel, Geo B, Haklar: 18
Crotty, D'Zuro, J Donadio, Sr., Blaine, Biebel, O'Brien: 17

The other 67 contestants shot 50% or worse on conference champs. Good thing the "No Child Left Behind" law doesn't apply to us, eh?

Sunday, March 15, 2015


The field has been selected. The game is on. And Dale Dye has won the prize for being in first place at this moment in time.

Yes, Da Dye re-passed E Leach and won the prize with 208 points. E Leach's second place total is 202 points, and right behind him is L Schlegel (201), Doug Dye (200), and B Peloso (195).

After winning money her first two years and finishing just one point out of the money her third year, hard times have fallen on Steinhardt who currently sits in last place, with 146 points, tied with A Cristinzio (also 146).

We'll be bringing more cutting edge analysis as the week unfolds. Full standings may be found here or by clicking the Standings link on the right hand side of the page.

P.S.: After hearing our complaints yesterday regarding low scoring conference finals, Georgia State and Georgia Southern got together and played a 38-36 barnburner today (with Georgia State pulling it out). Apparently there's nothing to the rumor that they stopped play just after the 12 minute timeout in the first half.

Anteaters Rule

On the strength of his astute selection of the Cal-Irvine Anteaters, E Leach has surged into the contest lead going into the last day of conference tournaments, with 86 points. Da Dye slips into 2nd, with 84 points, followed by L Schlegel (81), T Cristinzio (79), and Do Dye, Mahalko, and Rubinson (each with 76).

Other than E Leach, the only anteater lovers among us were D Kedson and Tester. The other late games last night were won by Arizona (picked by 70 to win the PAC 12) and New Mexico State (favored by 78 to win the WAC).

Full up-to-date standings may be found through the Standings link on the right hand side of the page.

So, the last five conference finals today and then the Selection Special tonight. Big. Very big.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

How low can you go?

The following final scores all happened today:


Did they stop playing at halftime? Was the shot clock broken? Whatever, if it doesn't affect the Pre-NCAA Contest, then it didn't really happen, right?

As of the time this post is being written, three conference finals are still going on:

-- Arizona (picked by 70) vs. Oregon (picked by none);

-- New Mexico State (picked by 78) vs. Seattle (picked by none);

AND a conference final we forgot to list in our earlier post:

-- BIG WEST: Cal-Irvine (selected by 3: D Kedson, E Leach, Tester) vs. Hawaii (chosen by no one).

Twelve conference champions popped a cork so far today:

-- AMERICA EAST: Albany (65);
-- ACC: Notre Dame (3: Geo B, E Pogach, L Schlegel);
-- BIG 12: Iowa State (15);
-- BIG EAST: Villanova (66);
-- BIG SKY: Eastern Washington (53);
-- CUSA: UAB (9: Geo B, Butscher, Da Dye, Do Dye, E Leach, Mad Leach, Mash Leach, Mahalko, Selig);
-- IVY: Harvard (73);
-- MAC: Buffalo (8: Baumgarten, Biebel, Harlan, Harlan 2, D Kedson, Rubinson, L Schlegel, Templeton);
-- MEAC: Hampton (0);
-- MOUNTAIN WEST: Wyoming (2: Booth, T Joseph);
-- SOUTHLAND: Stephen F. Austin (56);
-- SWAC: Texas Southern (47).

Five games are on tap for tomorrow:

-- AAC: SMU (59) vs. UConn (5: M Josephs, Rybaltowski, Selig 2, Steinhardt, Warner);

-- ATLANTIC 10: VCU (51) vs. Dayton (14);

-- BIG 10: Wisconsin (66) vs. Michigan State (4: M Josephs, Mad Leach, Steinhardt, Templeton);

-- SEC: Kentucky (78) vs. Arkansas (Rybaltowski);

-- SUN BELT (battle of the little Georgias): Georgia State (41) vs. Georgia Southern (18).

We have new standings, and a new leader -- Dale Dye sits atop the leaderboard with 74 points. Breathing down Da Dye's neck are E Leach and L Schlegel, each with 71 points, followed by T Cristinzio (69 pts), Mahalko (68), Doug Dye (66), Rubinson (66), and B Peloso (64). Floundering at the bottom is E Pogach (33), just a hair behind Hahn (36).

Full standings may be found at the link above or the Standings link on the right hand side of the page.

...Get Set...

It's the biggest day of championship week. Fourteen conferences decide their champions today or tonight and another five have semifinals. So let's break it down, conference by conference, shall we?

Today's Finals:

AMERICA EAST: Playing in the early game today, Albany (chosen by 65 of us) punched its ticket, beating Stony Brook (taken by 6: Gorenstein, Atkinson, L Leach, M Peloso, Serri, Grossman).

ACC: Top two choices Duke (picked by 42) and Virginia (29) both lost yesterday, meaning the ACC championship is down to Notre Dame (taken by 3: Geo B, E Pogach, L Schlegel) or UNC (selected by 2: Steinhardt, L Leach).

BIG 12: Kansas (chosen by 52) plays Iowa State (15) for the Big 12 championship.

BIG EAST: Villanova (selected by 66) takes on Xavier (selected by absolutely nobody) for the Big East title.

BIG SKY: Eastern Washington (liked by 53) plays a road game against Montana (supported by 8: Burch, Feinblatt, D Kedson, P Leach, Marshall, M McAtee, Tester, Rybaltowski) in Missoula for all the Big Sky marbles.

CUSA: It's UAB (chosen by 9) vs. Middle Tennessee State (chosen by nada) in Conference USA.

IVY: The Big Egghead Showdown happens today, as Harvard (liked by 73) and Yale (favorited by 6: Joe Mc, Templeton, E Pogach, Hahn, Steinhardt, P Ripley) square off to determine the Ivy champ.

MAC: Central Michigan (taken by 29) faces off against Buffalo (8: Baumgarten, Biebel, Harlan, Harlan 2, D Kedson, Rubinson, L Schlegel, Templeton) for top spot in the MAC.

MEAC: After both NCCU (wanted by 67) and Norfolk State (12) went down yesterday, it's Goose Egg City in the MEAC, where Hampton (chosen by none of us) and Delaware State (equally chosen by a big zero) vie for the MEAC's NCAAT berth.

MOUNTAIN WEST: Favorite San Diego State (favorite of 66 of us, anyway) tries to stave off Wyoming (favorite of 2: Booth and T Joseph) for the Mountain West crown.

PAC 12: In a league where mathematics seems much more important than in rival conferences like the Big 10, Big 12, and Atlantic 10, Arizona (taken by 70) hopes to take Oregon (taken by zilch) down for the count.

SOUTHLAND: In an epic batter between really old, dead Texans, Stephen F. Austin (chosen by 56) hopes to vanquish Sam Houston (selected by 22) for the Southland championship.

SWAC: 47 of us stand behind Texas Southern, while only 5 (Atkinson, Butscher, A Cristinzio, T Cristinzio, E Pogach) seem to think Southern has a chance in the Sealed-With-A-?-Conference.

WAC: Way out west in the WAC, all but one of us picked New Mexico State (78), and the one who didn't, didn't pick Seattle (0).

Today's Semifinals:

-- SMU (59) vs. Temple (7: Atkinson, Hahn, Joe Mc, L Schlegel, Selarnick, R Simon, Tester);
-- UConn (5: M Josephs, Rybaltowski, Selig 2, Steinhardt, Warner) vs. Tulsa (4: Booth, T Cristinzio, Rubinson, B Whiteside).

-- VCU (51) vs. Davidson (9);
-- Dayton (14) vs. Rhode Island (2: Selig 2, Steinhardt).

BIG 10:
-- Wisconsin (66) vs. Purdue (0);
-- Maryland (8: A Cristinzio, J Donadio, Sr., Hahn, D Josephs, Kovolski, S Leach, E Pogach, Selarnick) vs. Michigan State (4: M Josephs, Mad Leach, Steinhardt, Templeton).

-- Kentucky (78) vs. Auburn (0);
-- Arkansas (1: Rybaltowski) vs. Georgia (0).

-- Georgia State (41) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (1: L Leach);
-- Georgia Southern (18) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (19).

Note that we haven't updated the standings to reflect Albany's win; we'll take care of that later after the other dominoes fall.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Living At-Large

Far as we can tell, neither yesterday nor today will crown any new conference champions. And yesterday didn't even move any conference significantly closer to doing so. Yeah, in Conference USA, 16 people lost ODU and five (Booth, J Broder, Atkinson, R Simon, T Cristinzio) lost Western Kentucky. A few entrants' misplaced faith on teams like Long Beach State (Templeton, Gorenstein), Utah State (Templeton) and Kent State (N Donadio, M McAtee, P Leach, B Whiteside, Da Dye, Do Dye, Crotts, Atkinson) was dashed. But basically, as far as the contest is concerned, nothing happened yesterday.

Well, not really nothing. What happened was a bunch of bubble teams tried to bolster their tournament resumes. Since we have nothing else to write about, here's a list of teams that at least some of us like for at-large bids that lost yesterday:

Ole Miss (chosen by 78) lost to South Carolina;
Illinois (chosen by 39) crushed by Michigan;
Iowa (chosen by 67) lost to Penn State;
Texas A&M (chosen by 73) lost to Auburn;

Miami (chosen by 18) lost to Notre Dame;
UMass (chosen by Steinhardt) lost to La Salle;
St. John's (chosen by 63, including Atkinson to win the Big East) lost to Providence;
Texas (chosen by 43) lost to Iowa State;
Stanford (chosen by 49) lost to Utah;

West Virginia (chosen by 77, including Steinhardt to win the Big 12) lost to Baylor;
Louisville (chosen by 79, including Booth and A Cristinzio to win the ACC) lost to UNC;
NC State (chosen by 62, including Fitch to win the ACC) crushed by Duke;
Oklahoma State (chosen by 72) lost to Oklahoma;
Butler (chosen by 76, including Booth, Baumgarten, Burch, P Leach, Marshall, Templeton, J Donadio, Sr. to win the Big East) lost to Xavier.

More at-large hopes will presumably be dashed today/tonight. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wild, Wild North

We're sorry we haven't been able to post over the past four days. The writer-commissioner was on the road with spotty internet access. But we're back and have lots to talk about.

For starters, would you believe that out of the 12 automatic bid winners so far, a whopping 33% of them (that's four for the math-impaired) start their school name with "North"? Certainly easier to believe is that all four of these northern teams came as complete surprises to our contestants. Well, if we wanted to be fair we'd note that Northern Iowa winning the MVC was only a surprise to a bit more than half of us, having been chosen by 38 of our 79 entrants. But being fair has never been one of our goals, so we'd much rather dwell on the fact that only 22 contestants selected North Florida to win the Atlantic Sun, just 15 of us favored North Dakota State to win the Summit, and only 12 poolsters were savvy enough to go with Northeastern in the Colonial. To round out the theme, a mere four (4) entrants (Fitch, E Pogach, Mash Leach, T Cristinzio) had the sense to pick Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference.

Of course, this begs the question: how many of the 12 conference champions did more than half of us predict? That answer would be three (3), or 25% to the math-capable. Those three easy-to-guess conference champs were Gonzaga (chosen by 78), Wofford (taken by 68), and Valparaiso (selected by 58). No matter how you slice it, however, that's fewer than the number of conference-winners starting with "North."

It's also fewer than the number of conference champions (four) chosen by fewer than five of us: Robert Morris in the NEC (4, see two paragraphs above); Belmont in the OVC (4: Butscher, Crotts, L Leach, Booth); Manhattan in the MAAC (Madison Leach only); and Lafayette in the Patriot (nobody).

Pretty far away from North, 26 of us cashed in with Coastal Carolina in the Big South.

In the America East conference, Albany (taken by 65 of us) will take on Stony Brook (picked by just 6: Gorenstein, Atkinson, L Leach, M Peloso, Serri, Grossman), this coming Saturday. Other than that conference and the 12 conferences who have already crowned their champions, the only eliminated team chosen by any of our entrants is Bowling Green in the MAC (liked by 7: D Kornfeld, R Wanger, T Cristinzio, Kovolski, E Pogach, Serri, T Joseph).

Practically the last thing we said before our hiatus was that Yale had bulled its way into control of the Ivy League race. Practically the next thing Yale did was flop against Dartmouth, blowing their seemingly insurmountable lead and dropping into a first-place tie with Harvard, which will be decided in a one-game playoff this Saturday at the Palestra. This was sad news for Joe Mc, Templeton, E Pogach, Hahn, Steinhardt, and P Ripley, all of whom picked Yale, but not so sad for Nocilla, who we erroneously reported to have picked Yale but in fact picked Harvard.

Out of the 12 conferences that have been decided, just three (3) of our 79 contestants have gotten more than half right. Not coincidentally, those three are our current leaders: T Cristinzio is atop the leader board with 38 points, followed closely by E Leach and Rubinson, both of whom have 35. All three of these guys can stand proud knowing they've gotten 7 of 12 correct so far, for a percentage (58.3%) that would have gotten them held back in middle school. Even worse than our leaders, although still better than the vast majority of our entrants, are the six playahs who so far have predicted exactly half of the conference champs (that would be 6 for those pesky math-impaired): Dye, with 33 points, and S Leach, Mash Leach, Mahalko, R Simon, and J Whiteside, each of whom has 30. It should be noted that Mad Leach and L Leach are among the six contestants tied for 10th place with 28 points, meaning we have a Leachfest like never before seen in these parts, with five Leaches currently in our top ten.

Full standings may be seen here, or in the Standings link on the right hand side of the page.

Anyway, we're home now, so expect contest updates more regularly from here on out.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Wild, Wild (Big) South

Lots of zaniness in the Big South last night, where ninth-seeded Longwood blasted top-seeded Charleston Southern (chosen by 10 of us), and seventh-seeded Gardner-Webb knocked off #2 High Point (favored by 32 entrants). Third-seeded Coastal Carolina (picked by 26) survived, trouncing UNCA (taken by T Joseph, Hahn, and J Broder). And fifth-seeded Winthrop (selected by Crotts, P Leach, and Brenner) edged #4 Radford (liked by Templeton, O'Brien, E Pogach, Tester, and Steinhardt) by one lousy point.

Everyone in the contest chose either Wichita State or Northern Iowa (both of which won last night) to win the MVC -- everyone except Rybaltowski, that is, who so far is still alive with Illinois State, a team good enough to beat E-ville by four.

The only other game with contest ramifications came in the Ivy League, of all places. Yale (chosen by 6 of us: Joe Mc, Templeton, E Pogach, Hahn, Steinhardt, P Ripley, and Nocilla) handled Harvard (taken by 73) in Cambridge, and suddenly the Yalees are in control of the Ivy race. And since (as we all know) there's no tournament in Ivyland, that's a big deal.

We may only be able to post sporadically over the next few days, but we'll attempt to hit the high spots.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The first big hit

On the third day, Florida Gulf Coast went down. Dashing the hopes of 55 of our entrants and representing the first big hit of the season. Only one of our contestants selected USC Upstate (slayer of FGCU in a thrilling 63-62 contest) and that was Joe Mc.

The only other game with any contest repercussions was American (chosen only by Fitch) laying Lehigh low (chosen by Selig, Rubinson, Hahn, M McAtee, L Leach, and Cristinzio). L Leach has joined Crotts as the only entrants who have already lost two conference champions (EDIT: two champions other than FGCU).

More games today.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Crotts to you

So far we've had two days of early-tournament action, with few games and even fewer unexpected results. In fact, only two teams have lost so far that had any votes at all from our contestants.

Amazingly, one of our entrants chose both those early losers. That would be Crotts, who chose Northern Kentucky to win the Atlantic Sun and Mount St. Mary's to win the NEC. Two other entrants, Templeton and L Leach, joined Crotts in choosing Mount St. Mary's. Everybody else still has all their winners intact. Which of course is a circumstance we expect will end tonight.

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 2, 2015

RIP, Al Alberts

The commissioners are saddened to have learned that Alberts has passed on to that great sports book in the sky.

One of the few people who played in each of the first 25 Pre-NCAA contests, he was also one of our best recruiters, bringing friends and co-workers to the contest in droves. His highest contest achievement was a second place finish in 1996, but he was usually hanging out in the top 20.

We used to play in "Sportie Al's" weekly college basketball pool back when he worked at Urban Engineers, and remember him as a really nice guy who was totally devoted to sports. You can bet that wherever he is now, he's either running some heavenly pool or participating in one.

We'll miss you, Al. The contest won't be the same without you.

On your mark...

Ah, March. A lovely time of year. Unless you live in the northeastern U.S., where there's snow and ice everywhere. But even with the frigid weather, March is a lovely time for college hoops fans, especially if you've entered the Pre-NCAA Contest, now in its 26th season.

This year we have 79 entrants in our contest, down from last season but even that can't dim our smiles. (Not sure yet how many of those 79 are paying entrants.)

More importantly, we got games tomorrow -- conference tournament games, that is. The post-season begins on Tuesday, March 3, in the Atlantic Sun, Horizon, and Patriot leagues. And the commissioners will be paying attention.

So come on back, for news, quips, and pseudo-witty remarks. The Contest has begun.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Here we go again

How time flies. The 26th annual Pre-NCAA Contest is accepting entries through the end of the week.

Deadline is Friday, February 27. Relevant links are below.

Entry Form


Payment this year will be accepted through venmo.

We hope to be "discussing" your entry soon.