Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Thyme wounds all Heels

Kind of a fizzle of an ending to a Tournament filled with fireworks. But somebody had to win, and this year it's the University of North Carolina.

Much more importantly, here are the winners of our contest:

First place: Naumgarten (339)
Second place: Sciarabba (320)
Third place: S Adams (317)

We believe it's the first time somebody who was unable to spell his own name has won the contest. At the bottom of the standings, Booth (175) stayed out of last place, finishing three points ahead of Myers (172).

Combining those above (well, not Booth or Myers) with R Wanger, who won the prize for being in first place immediately after selection of the field, and we have our winners. Congratulations, all.

See you next year.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A rasher of Rivals

The parent/child relationship is a complicated one, fraught with debates over who knows best. Over the course of life, the winner of those debates tends to slide from one side to the other, much to the chagrin of whichever side is on the losing end.

This year, we had eleven instances of framing the debate in quantitative terms, and parents took eight (73%): Coach Doc (291) over S Adams (277); D Josephs (265) over M Josephs (242); R Schlegel (272) over L Schlegel (262); P Leach (269) over both Sam Leach (245) and Mad Leach (245); R Wanger (301) over both M Wanger (255) and K Ripley (289); and C Whiteside (262) over J Whiteside (204) (although C Whiteside also lost to daughter B Whiteside (280)). The only parents who didn't taste victory this season were longtime entrants J McAtee (229) and E Leach (259), who despite both playing in every Pre-NCAA contest (or almost every contest -- we didn't actually go back and re-check every season), still couldn't beat out sons M McAtee (260), and P Leach (269), respectively. We'd also note that depending on tonight's result, either S Adams (UNC) or K Ripley (Gonzaga) will come out ahead of her Dad.

In a year where possibly all three winners could be female, it's not surprising that it's the Year of the Sister. Gonzaga or not, K Ripley (289) bested brother M Wanger (255). And B Whiteside (280), despite claiming to have "completed this pool in 5 minutes on Sunday because I wanted to go outside and play," trounced her brother J Whiteside (204), as well as her father. B Whiteside went further in her claims, going on to say that despite spending just a few minutes on her selections, she'd "still do better than most of the contestants," and she did, currently standing in a tie for 15th place. J Whiteside noted that while he might lose this round, he's still seven minutes older and six inches taller. In our only instance of two sisters competing against each other, the competition between Sam Leach (245) and Madison Leach (245) naturally ended in a tie.

Also not surprising is the dominance wives displayed over husbands this year: Da Dye (292) over Do Dye (265); K Sullivan (259) over D'Zuro (251); and the ubiquitous K Ripley (289) over P Ripley (224). The only husband who can apparently claim the pants is B Peloso (288), who trounced his Duke-loving wife M Peloso (213), just one year after losing to his spouse by 50+ points.

B Peloso's fierce rivalry with Sullivan inspired D'Zuro's impassioned plea that, "Even though Democrats and Republicans cannot get along, I fervently hope that Kate Sullivan and Bobby Peloso may achieve pool peace in our lifetime." Well, we hope D'Zuro lives a little longer, because we suspect the trash talk will only escalate after either B Peloso completes his 288 to 259 thrashing of his arch-rival (if UNC wins) or Sullivan ekes out a comeback for the ages (299 to 288, if Gonzaga wins).

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of his own rivalry with Millan, Karlsruher guaranteed victory over the misspelled Italian city. What's more, he backed it up, 259 to 239. Millan (239), in turn, noted that mutual friends T Joseph (254) and Brenner (250) "better step it up this year," and they did, both finishing ahead of him (though neither of them bested Karlsruher (259)). In another group of supposed buddies, Sciarabba (280) easily dispatched Gorenstein (237) and Serri (201).

M Wanger (255) invited two amigos from the Dominican Republic, Tharp (230) and Avila (215), then had the bad form to beat them both. Among readers of DBR, Biebel (248, 227, and 212) finished both ahead of and behind D Kedson (244) and Rubinson (226). Among multiple-entry contestants who have trouble spelling their own names, Naumgarten (299) beat out Baumgarten (287).

Among minor children, B Whiteside (280) took the competition over L Schlegel (262), Mad Leach (245), Sam Leach (245), and J Whiteside (204). Among pets, L Leach (269) put down Surprise Leach (222), though neither beast could best their owner (P Leach (269)).

Of course, we saved the most bitter rivalry until last. C Whiteside (262) may have been unable to beat out his 14-year old daughter, but he had absolutely no problem this year with Booth (175). C Whiteside also slipped past workplace rival Butscher (260). For her part, Booth set her sights on another rival, Mantz, who foiled her efforts neatly by neglecting to enter the contest.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Tag Team topography

Back in the day, the Nova Gang was the original Tag Team in this contest, consistently competitive for the Tag Team title as well as having the most team members by far. We haven't heard from them for a long time but, perhaps emboldened by their namesake's national championship last season, the Gang is back.

Sort of. the Original Nova Gang's average score of 214.67 is so bad, it's more than 30 points behind the Leach Gang (244.78), and almost 17 points worse than the second-worst Tag Team (the Duke-centric DBR, which, like their favorite team, fizzled out with just a 231.40 average).

The once-proud team of Whiteside and his Enemies (236.20) also finished behind the Leaches, as did those associated with Urban Engineering (236.0), and the group who at one time lived in 12A (239.33).

But if you've gotten the idea that the Leach Gang had a particularly good year, we need to set the record straight. The Leaches weren't anywhere near the top of the Tag Team tussle. No, the competition for top Team was extremely competitive, with three Teams within a point of each other. And the winner is... the inexplicably named Anchor Down (253.0), who beat the D'Zurans (252.75) by a quarter of a point, and the Ripley Believe it or Nots (252.33) by two-thirds of a point.

Among favorite colleges (with at least two entrants rooting for them), we have an odd trend: The teams with the highest averages didn't come close to making the NCAA Tournament. Uninvited GW (293.0) and Temple (272.75) led the way, followed by Division III Ursinus (267.0) and left-out Syracuse (251.75). Duke (236.57) and Villanova (244.0) did about as well as you'd expect after their early Tourney exits. Penn State fans (240.33) got the double-whammy of both failing to make the Dance and doing poorly in the contest.

We had a contingent this year who played from the Dominican Republic (233.33), but perhaps something got lost in translation, because the only region they beat was the Midwest (229.0). Both Pittsburgh suburbs (269.33) and New York suburbs (263.75) whupped Philadelphia suburbs (252.78), though within the city limits, Philadelphia (260.83) handled New York (239.25). Those West of the Rockies (261.60) showed those South of the Mason-Dixon Line (246.80) where it's at. Among states from which multiple contestants hail, Pennsylvania (254.51) won bragging rights over New York (248.50), California (246.00), and Illinois (229.00).

In today's world it may be tough to have faith in humanity, but know at least that humans (252.45) are more deserving than lawyers (252.29). Dogs (245.50) are just getting scraps this year.

In a development that should surprise absolutely nobody, Females (257.0) came out on top of males (252.13). Once again confirming one of our favoriate old adages, children (247.20) should be seen but not seen gambling.

This year's best pool-pickin' name is Bob (269.50), who won that distinction in a healthy competition over John/Jon (265.50), David (261.67), Marc (257.00), and Mike (257.50). Less healthy were Jeff (248.50), Rick (245.50), and Kevin (243.00). If you're calling yourself Matt (235.50) or George (233.00), you don't know Jack (231.50).

Those in the computer field (268.0) and practicing attorneys (265.33) apparently both know how to rig things, albeit in different ways. Those in accounting and finance (256.27) barely beat corporate executives (256.00). Retired people (253.25) perhaps retired for a reason, while students (249.17) can maybe teach teachers (225.25) a thing or two. If you're involved in the media (245.00), in sales (235.33), or in engineering (221.25), keep your day job.

What does it say when self-professed afterlife mediums (261.00) know a lot more than the deceased (200.00) from whom they purportedly get their information? Probably less than the fact that the average contestant (252.25) significantly outscored the average commissioner (243.00).