2002 PRE-NCAA CONTEST NEWSLETTER 1
Well, the pool turns lucky thirteen this year, and when we’re in a nostalgic mood, the Commissioners like to look back and see how the times have changed. Back in 1990, we actually tallied the participants’ scores by hand, with (gasp) pen and paper. But, alas, nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be. Today, utilizing the modern-day marvel of the world-wide-web, our entry form is a series of points and clicks, making life easier and error-free for everyone.
In fact, just about the biggest complaint we heard about the new form is that it would provide so little newsletter-fodder, since it eliminates the possibility of our entrants misspelling team names, selecting the same team twice (or more), forgetting to choose conference champions, or miscounting their number of at-large teams. Never fear, we assured, there would be plenty to write about.
How right we were.
To start with, 120 people entered this year’s contest (we haven’t finished tallying how many people are paid entries – we’ll let you know in the next newsletter), and a whopping 9% chose an illegal wildcard. Since the good ol’ days of 1990, it has been illegal to choose a wildcard that appeared in the AP Top 25 (as of the week the entry form was released). We conspicuously posted this fact and not one, but two links to the Top 25, near the top of the entry form. But do you think these precautions would stop eleven (11) people from picking naughty wildcards? We didn’t think you thought so. For the record, the eleven (11) wrongdoers include: Beane (chose #6 Florida); B Campbell (chose #7 Alabama); McGraw (#13 Miami-Florida); Weinberg (#18 Illinois); Hurrell (#20 UCLA); A Scott (#22 Indiana); J Landrum, P Landrum, and Shadle (all chose #24 NC State); and E Wagner (#25 Southern Cal). And, drum roll please, the Scofflaw-of-the-Year award goes to: Perry Leach (#16 Oklahoma St), who has only been entering the contest since 1992.
And of course, no matter how idiot-proof the entry form, there’s really nothing we can do to stop people from picking Jacksonville (as 8 well-meaning entrants appear to have done). Every year, the Commissioners debate whether it is smarter to choose with the majority or against it. For example, although all but four of us chose winners Valparaiso and Western Kentucky, 115 (out of 120) of us were sure about first-round-Horizon Tournament-loser Butler, and 114 backed OVC loser Tennessee Tech. So far, if you went with the majority in all twelve conferences that have currently been decided, you would have won 6 out of 12, which quite frankly is not all that good.
So, we understand the temptation to break away from the majority. In fact, we like to think of ourselves as the first to applaud efforts to deviate from the norm, which is why we’d like to take a few moments to highlight the selections of Forrest and Gordon. Forrest went out on a limb to select as conference champions Wagner (1 of 7 to do so), Notre Dame (1 of 6), Louisiana-Monroe (1 of 6), Drexel (1 of 3), Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (1 of 2), Memphis (1 of 2), and Chattanooga (only). And three of those teams are even still playing! Forrest also selected as at-large teams South Florida (1 of 9), Dayton (1 of 8), UC-Irvine (1 of 7), Iowa (1 of 5), Central Connecticut (1 of 3), New Mexico State (1 of 2), Manhattan (1 of 2) and Yale (1 of 2).
But in the most singular display of non-conformism that we’ve seen in some time, Gordon chose the following at-large: Vanderbilt (1 of 2); New Mexico State (1 of 2); Ohio U (only); Illinois State (only); Arkansas-Little Rock (only); Marist (only); VCU (only); and Wagner (only). She also went with Stanford (1 of 6), Colgate (1 of 6), and Weber St (1 of 11) as conference champs. To make room for the above, Gordon eschewed deceptively obvious choices such as Pac-10 regular season champion Oregon and 2nd place Southern Cal, co-Big 10 regular season champions Illinois and Indiana, and SEC East co-champion Georgia.
But anybody can be original in their at-large selections. What sets Gordon apart as a true virtuoso is this: the possibility of selecting any of Valparaiso, Tulsa, or Utah State into the Final 8 didn’t even occur to 119 of our 120 contestants, but Gordon was visionary enough to choose all three into her Final 8.
Special acknowledgement is also deserved by Clyde, who chose three present or former members of the Big Sky Conference (Idaho, Boise St, and Weber St) to win conference championships.
Even more unusual in our contest is somebody who deviates from the majority and actually wins a few games. Which is why we think that Junior Donadio must have sold his soul to Nostradamus or something. So far, “Junior” has correctly chosen 10 out of 12 conference champions, including Florida Atlantic (1 of 8) and Murray State (1 of 2), and also chose surprising conference finalists Niagara (1 of 3) and Louisiana-Monroe (1 of 6).
With that track record, it should surprise nobody that Junior Donadio currently holds first place by a comfortable margin, having amassed 50 points. Eight entrants are tied for 2nd with 40 points (W Acchione; Alberts; John Donadio; Hurrell; Leeds; Ruben; Wanger; and Warmbier). Another eight are 2 points further behind, at 38.
At the bottom, with 15 points each, are J Broder and Conte, whose self-professed claim to stardom is that he picked Belarus to win Olympic Gold in ice hockey. Perhaps showing equal foresight, Conte has chosen Charlotte and Yale into his Final 8.
In a mysterious and disconcerting development, the mutants have vanished. As suddenly as they appeared in 1995, the mutants (which started as FREG and GRED, but rapidly metamorphosed into countless permutations) have disappeared without a trace, leaving behind only an eleven year old boy who picked Rutgers.
Perhaps more disturbing is the absence of most of the Leach Gang. Gone are Mash, Domino, and Droopy, leaving us only Ed and Perry. However, our attorneys have advised us that we are contractually obligated to devote at least a paragraph to the Leaches, so here goes. In addition to selecting an illegal wildcard, Perry chose eight (8) conference champs chosen by seven (7) or fewer contestants: NC-Greensboro (1 of 7); Louisiana-Monroe (1 of 6); UCF (1 of 4); BYU (1 of 4); Cal-Santa Barbara (1 of 2); New Orleans (only); Soutwest Missouri State (only); and Oral Roberts (only). Of these, six have already lost. Perry also chose Georgia (1 of 12) and Alabama State (1 of 10) to win their conferences. Mash would be proud.
Twelve teams were unanimous selections (Alabama, Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Hampton, Arizona, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Maryland, and Duke). Another 19 teams were chosen by at least 117 contestants. Our only unanimous conference champion was Hampton (the next big upset, perhaps?).
Only three teams got more than three votes for National Champion: Duke (60); Maryland (25); and Kansas (24). The other votes went to Cincinnati (Elliott; L Donadio; B Acchione); Oregon (Williams); Oklahoma (Nowakowski); Ohio State (Brindisi); Kentucky (Whiteside); Florida (M Josephs); Arizona (Jenna); and Alabama (Sappenin’ dude?).
And only four teams got more than four votes for Wildcard: Connecticut (25); California (15); Western Kentucky (13); and Texas Tech (12). The others were: Kent State (Jagoda; Connelly; Chaudhuri; Fenstermacher); American
(Simpson 1, 2, and 3); Michigan State (Biebel; R Simon; Quarles); Xavier (Mahalko; Gatto; Mike Mc); Temple (J Broder; R Broder; Gordon); Butler (E Leach; Brady); Pepperdine (Hastings; Israel); Virginia (Meredith; Reeve); Utah (Glowacki; D Josephs); Missouri (Lee; SOB); Wisconsin (Nowakowski); Charlotte (Ridolphi); Hawaii (P Kedson); Memphis (Johnston); Syracuse (Brindisi); Texas (B Pappasergi); Minnesota (Young); Tennessee Tech (J McAtee); Notre Dame (Kasprzak); and Southern Illinois (Humen).
Detailed breakdowns of everybody’s picks may be found at “Pool Central,” http://www.DKNoFish.com/PoolCentral.htm. Standings are below. Tag Team totals, etc., will start in the next newsletter.
Standings As of March 7, 2002
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|Name||Score||Conf Champs||Wild Card||Champion|
|William Acchione||40||8||Western Ky||Maryland|
|Al Alberts||40||8||Texas Tech||Kansas|
|Kelly Wanger||40||8||Texas Tech||Maryland|
|Amy Acchione||38||7||Western Ky||Maryland|
|BC Jaynes||38||7||Western Ky||Duke|
|Will Simpson 2||38||7||American||Duke|
|Will Simpson 3||38||7||American||Duke|
|Russell Karpp||35||7||Mississippi St||Duke|
|Jackson Quarles||35||7||Michigan St||Duke|
|Arnold Selig||35||7||Texas Tech||Duke|
|Kevin Biebel||33||6||Michigan St||Duke|
|Jim Fenstermacher||33||6||Kent St||Kansas|
|Joe McAtee||33||6||Tennessee Tech||Kansas|
|Bob Peloso||33||6||Western Ky||Kansas|
|GEORGE BRINDISI||30||6||Syracuse||Ohio State|
|BRETT CONNELLY||30||6||Kent St||Kansas|
|Brian Corrin||30||6||Mississippi St||Maryland|
|Greg Craig||30||6||Texas Tech||Maryland|
|Coach Doc||30||6||Texas Tech||Duke|
|Ed Humen||30||6||Southern Ill||Duke|
|Kevin Kasprzak||30||6||Notre Dame||Maryland|
|David Kedson||30||6||Western Ky||Duke|
|David Simon||30||6||Western Ky||Duke|
|Curt Whiteside||30||6||Western Ky||Kentucky|
|Brian Jagoda||28||5||Kent St||Kansas|
|Maggie Peloso||28||5||Texas Tech||Duke|
|Jamie Smith||28||5||Western Ky||Duke|
|Butch Acchione||25||5||Western Ky||Cincinnati|
|Jake Acchione||25||5||Western Ky||Kansas|
|Jeff Clark||25||5||Western Ky||Duke|
|Laura Harlan||25||5||Texas Tech||Duke|
|Joe Sixpack||25||5||Texas Tech||Kansas|
|Mike Wilson||25||5||Mississippi St||Duke|
|Dee Jenna||23||4||Texas Tech||Arizona|
|Grandpa Kedson||23||4||Texas Tech||Maryland|
|RCNatalini/ Amy Wendel||20||4||Connecticut||Kansas|
|Bob Shaw||20||4||Texas Tech||Kansas|
|Rick Simon||20||4||Michigan St||Duke|
|JOHN FORREST||18||3||Texas Tech||Maryland|
|Frank Conte||15||3||Western Ky||Duke|