In the past, it has often seemed to us as if we've been publishing the same newsletter over and over. But in a topsy-turvy year that saw the Atlantic 10 expand to twelve teams and the city of Pittsburgh appear in the West Region, one might have predicted that this would finally be the year in which our pool entrants would figure it all out. Of course, one would be wrong. (It may be worth noting that, according to the NCAA, Pittsburgh is in the South Region, as well as the West, which makes sense to at least one Commissioner, because the Steel City is, after all, in southwestern Pennsylvania...)

Certainly, a more accurate hypothesis would be that our contestants are just as clueless as ever. Of the 31 conference championships, the majority of us predicted the winner in only 13. Only 15 of us managed to predict Big 12 winner Oklahoma; only eight chose Atlantic Sun winner Florida Atlantic (Brindisi; Connolly; Junior Donadio; Selig; SOB; Simpson1, 2, & 3); just two of us correctly considered UC-Santa Barbara in the Big West (P Leach; Joe Sixpack) or Murray State in the OVC (Junior Donadio; M Josephs); Gore was the only contestant to select Siena; and not one of us ventured to choose Montana, Illinois-Chicago, San Diego State, or Mississippi State. And our at-large judgment was no better. 118 of us were confident that uninvited Syracuse would be dancing, and 98 of us selected ignored Memphis, but the Committee's invitation to Boston College took all but 34 of us by complete surprise.

They've played through only the first weekend of the Tournament, and there are just 39 of us who have all four of the Final 4 remaining (and 14 of these 39 chose two Final 4 teams in the same region, so that hardly counts). Thirteen entrants have only two of their Final 4 remaining (Gordon; L Donadio; J Smith; Brindisi; Haklar; Schlegel; J Broder; D'Zuro; Elliot; Junior Donadio; Mike Mc; Forrest; R Simon), and one entrant, Sappenin', dude, has only one of his Final 4 still standing. Only four contestants have as many as seven of their Final 8 remaining (Cowboy; Gibson's Neighbor; Jenna; Packer), while 51 players have only five of their Final 8 left, 31 have only four left, and six unlucky losers have only three of their Final 8 still alive (Brindisi; Linton; Simpson 1, 2, & 3; Gordon). Six modern-day prophets chose Champions that are no longer playing: Elliot (Cincinnati); Butch Acchione (Cincinnati); L Donadio (Cincinnati); Brindisi (Ohio St); M Josephs (Florida); Sappenin', dude (Alabama). And, to put all this into the proper perspective, we feel obligated to repeat that they've just gotten through the first weekend of the Tournament!

And next weekend doesn't look much brighter. More than half of us (61, to be precise), chose two of our Final 4 in the same Region, and Corrin actually chose three of his Final 4 in the South Region (Duke; Pitt; Alabama). Kennedy went for a more symmetrical approach, choosing two of his Final 4 in the South (Duke; Alabama) and two in the Midwest (Kansas; Oregon). J Broder crowded five of his Final 8 into the West (Cincinnati; Arizona; Gonzaga; Ohio State; UCLA; but NOT Oklahoma), while nine others packed four of their Final 8 into either the West or Midwest (Littlefield; Selig; Nowakowski; Forrest; Conte; Kleiman; Riner; Campbell; Fitch).

On the good side, Kohart managed to guess 19 of the 31 conference champs correctly. Karpp, Junior Donadio, John Donadio, and Young got 18 correct, and another eight contestants accurately selected 17 of 31 (Connelly; Hurrell; Ruben; Haub; Alberts; D Kedson; M Donadio; B Peloso). Of course, 19 out of 31 is only 61%, which is significantly worse than Jason Williams' free-throw percentage.

For the first time, we have a significant number of non-paying entrants. Of the 121 people who entered the contest, only 86 paid, so that first place will net $426, second place will get $213, and third place will garner $71.

Our current leader, and the winner of the $100 prize for being in first after selection of the field, is Junior Donadio, who has 210 points (204 after selection of the field). But if you're chasing Junior (and who isn't, at this point?), don't fret -- he's one of the people who's already lost two of his Final 4. In second place is John Donadio (204), followed by Connelly (202), Haub (202), Kohart (200), and Marshall (200). Another 52 entrants are within a single Final 4 pick (20 points) of third place.

In the cellar is J Broder, with 140 points, who closely trails Gordon (143), Forrest (148), and R Broder (150).

Thirty-four entrants have Wildcards who are still playing. 26 of these chose Connecticut, our most popular selection. More impressive (at least to our minds) are the clever contestants who went out on a limb for Kent State (Chaudhuri; Connelly; Fenstermacher; Jagoda), Missouri (Lee; SOB), Southern Illinois (Humen); and Texas (B Pappasergi). Another 23 entrants got 1 point because their Wildcard won one game (California; Mississippi State; Xavier; Wisconsin; Notre Dame). An impressive fourteen of us chose Wildcards that were not even invited to play: J Broder (Temple); R Broder (Temple); Gordon (Temple); Simpson 1, 2, & 3 (American); Brady (Butler); E Leach (Butler); Meredith (Virginia); Reeve (Virginia); Brindisi (Syracuse); Young (Minnesota); J McAtee (Tennessee Tech); and Johnston (Memphis).

But Wildcards are one thing. Five contestants chose Final 8 teams that weren't invited (Chaudhuri (Butler); Meredith (Butler); Forrest (Memphis); Gordon (Utah State); and Conte (Yale)), while Forrest branched out to take snubbed Memphis into his Final 4. Perhaps only slightly better are those who chose first or second round losers Cincinnati (97 into Final 8; 38 into Final 4); Alabama (67 and 21); Florida (63 and 15); Gonzaga (45 and 8); Marquette (25 and 2); USC (8 and 3); Wake Forest (7 and 1); California (5 and 4); Ohio State (5 and 1); Miami-Florida (1 and 1); Georgia (13 into Final 8); Stanford (6); Oklahoma State (5); Western Kentucky (3); Texas Tech (2); Charlotte (1); Hawaii (1); Michigan State (1); Penn (1); Tulsa (1); Utah (1); Wisconsin (1); and Valparaiso (1).

Daring Final 8 choices that may actually pan out include UCLA (9 - J Broder; Conte; M Josephs; Littlefield; Reeve; Riner; Selig; R Simon; Weinberg); Connecticut (7 - Chaudhuri; Craig; Jaynes; Jenna; P Landrum; M Peloso; S Dude); Indiana (6 - Junior Donadio; Hastings; Jaynes; P Leach; Mazeffa; Quarles); Missouri (2 - J McAtee; R Simon); and Texas (2 - Chaudhuri; J Landrum). Potentially clever Final 4 choices include: Arizona (12); Illinois (11); Oregon (9 - Campbell; Craig; Elliot; Haklar; Humen; Kennedy; D Koufax; Packer; S Williams); Kentucky (7 - D Josephs; Karpp; Kohart; M Peloso; Quarles; Weinberg; Whiteside); Pittsburgh (Corrin); Texas (Chaudhuri); Connecticut (Jenna); and UCLA (Littlefield).

The annual "Wamser Award" goes to Conte, who chose Duke as Final 4 and Champion, but didn't think the Blue Devils needed to bother with trivialities like getting to the Final 8, and D Simon, who chose Maryland to skip the Final 8 and hop directly into the Final 4.

Our average score so far is 179.55. In another "same old, same old" announcement, women lead men 179.47 to 179.44. And once again illustrating one of the Commissioners' favorite adages, that children should be seen but not seen gambling, the kiddie corps trails with 177.67. In the battle of the species, cats lead dogs (180.00 to 163.00) and humans enjoy a slight edge over lawyers (179.55 to 179.50). Entries purporting to be devinely influenced lead everyone, with a 192.00 average.

Perhaps justifying our entrants' decision-making abilities (at least with regard to whether to pay or not), paying contestants are dominating their cheapskate counterparts, 182.68 to 172.14.

In the annual Tag Team Tussle, the Friends of JJ (L Donadio; M Donadio; John Donadio; Junior Donadio; Warmbier) lead the pack at 192.00, despite (or perhaps because of) the conspicuous absence of their "friend" JJ. Hot on the heels of JJ's friends are the Koufax Syndicate (S Williams; Dodger; Gibson; Gibson's Neighbor; Craig; Elliot; D Koufax; Cowboy; Jenna; Packer), with an average of 186.60, the Vibroplating Contingent (Clark; Connelly; Brady; Hurrell), averaging 186.50, and the Charleroi Group (Mahalko; Corrin; B Pappasergi; T Pappasergi), with a 183.53 average. Arnie's Army of Bridge Players (178.75 -- SOB; Connelly; Brady; Clark; D Josephs; Selig; Gordon; Hurrell) has its hands full staving off the Nova Gang (176.40 -- A Achione; B Acchione; J Acchione; W Acchione). And though technically they don't have enough members to play, the Leach Clan (E Leach; P Leach) is still in last place, with 165.50.

In the friends and family competition, the Donadios (L, M, John, Junior) lead with a 194.75 average, followed closely by the D'Zuros (D'Zuro; K Sullivan; Haklar; S Dude), at 188.50. Within striking distance of the leaders are the Hastings (185.00 -- Hastings; Bland; Wagner), the Kedsons (183.00 -- D; P; L; Harlan), and the Harvies (181.67 -- DS Harvie; Arrowman; Bill B). Within unfortunate striking distance of the Leaches (165.50) are the Natalinis (177.00 -- Natalini/Wendel; Conte; Coach Doc; Adams; Gatto), and the Acchiones (173.25 -- A, B, J, W).

This just in: the Surgeon General has determined that a person's choice in friends may influence his or her pool-choosing ability. Those who found their way to this contest through a connection with Susan Hanson (187.17) are scoring significantly better than those who found us through Al Alberts (179.27).

The leaders are bunched in the Name Game, as the Peters (186.33 -- Hastings; Young; O'Brien) have raced ahead of the Bobs (183.20 -- Shaw; Huffnagle; Natalini/Wendel; Peloso; D'Zuro), the Davids (182.60 -- Harvie; Kedson; Josephs; Johnston; D Simon), and the Mikes (Meredith; Mc: Coach Doc; Haub; Wilson). Stuck in the middle are the Bills (178.60 -- W Acchione; Simpson 1, 2, & 3; B), the Chris's (177.25 -- Ridolphi; Nowakowski; Beane; Hurrell), the Eds (176.67 -- Leach; Leeds; Humen), the Jon/Johns (176.44 -- Marshall; Shadle; Clyde; Broder; Gibson; Landrum; Donadio; Jr. Donadio; Forrest), the Rich/Ricks (175.25 -- Schlegel; R Simon; Warmbier; Haynes), and the Brians (Corrin; Campbell; Jagoda). Significantly below average are the Joes (Sixpack; Glowacki; McAtee), who distantly trail the pack at 170.67.

Regionally, urban Philadelphians (183.00) enjoy superiority over suburban Philadelphians (179.73). Contestants from Central Jersey (194.75) are clearly above those from South Jersey (178.00). The Pittsburgh area (181.22), which may either be South or West (or both if you listen to the NCAA), is ahead of both the (mid)West (181.00) and the South (173.86). Among Eastern Seaboard Metropolitan Areas, Greater Metro New York (187.66) may really be greater than the Philadelphia area (180.29), the Baltimore/Washington corridor (175.55), and Boston/New England (174.50).

Among employers, T. Rowe Price (184.25) enjoys a slim edge over PennDOT (183.75). "Self" (177.33) is squarely in the middle, while Urban Engineering (172.40) and Conrail (165.00) slug it out at the bottom. Students (174.78) have once again shown that they have something to learn from Educators (181.50). Occupationally, if you want pool success, we suggest you try becoming a Landscaper (196.00), or perhaps go around and analyze things, as a Financial analyst (192.00), an Accountant (188.60), or an otherwise unspecified Analyst (188.00). A career in Sales (182.00), Computers (180.33), or Engineering (177.10) is less recommended. Once you retire (179.60) your wits may go, but if you're retired who cares? If you wish to join the Legal profession (and why would you?) try being a Paralegal (180.50) before you consider a career as an Attorney (176.67). And whatever you do, don't become a Journalist (175.00) or an Architect (172.50).

Detailed breakdowns of everybody’s picks may be found at “Pool Central,” http://www.DKNoFish.com/PoolCentral.htm. Standings are below. The next newsletter will of course include Mascot Trivia and All-Name teams, as well as updated Tag Team totals.

Standings As of March 18, 2002
Back to Top

NameScoreConf ChampsWild CardChampion
Junior Donadio21018ConnecticutDuke
John Donadio20418ConnecticutDuke
BRETT CONNELLY20217Kent StKansas
Mike Haub20217ConnecticutKansas
Audrey Kohart20019ConnecticutDuke
John Marshall20016ConnecticutMaryland
Al Alberts19617Texas TechKansas
Russell Karpp19618Mississippi StDuke
MaryEllen Donadio19417CaliforniaDuke
edward leeds19416ConnecticutMaryland
Curt Whiteside19416Western KyKentucky
David Kedson19317Western KyDuke
Bob Peloso19317Western KyKansas
Stanley Williams19314ConnecticutOregon
colin fitch19216CaliforniaDuke
Haklar19215Western KyDuke
Dad Koufax19215ConnecticutMaryland
Kate Sullivan19215ConnecticutKansas
Bill B19116ConnecticutDuke
Matt Josephs19113ConnecticutFlorida
Neil Baumgarten19015CaliforniaDuke
Bob D'Zuro19014ConnecticutDuke
Christopher Hurrell19017Duke
Gibson's Neighbor19014ConnecticutKansas
Chris Nowakowski18916WisconsinOklahoma
Todd Pappasergi18915ConnecticutKansas
Bruno Pappasergi18915TexasMaryland
Rick Schlegel18912ConnecticutMaryland
PETER YOUNG18918MinnesotaKansas
Chaudhuri18813Kent StDuke
Peter Hastings18813PepperdineMaryland
Grandma Kedson18816HawaiiKansas
Kevin Biebel18714Michigan StDuke
David Josephs18714UtahMaryland
Marc Kleiman18715CaliforniaKansas
paul brady18615ButlerMaryland
Kevin Kasprzak18613Notre DameMaryland
Andy Kennedy18612ConnecticutDuke
RCNatalini/ Amy Wendel18513ConnecticutKansas
Coach Doc18513Texas TechDuke
Jon Gibson18513ConnecticutKansas
POLLY SHAFFER18514CaliforniaDuke
David Simon18516Western KyDuke
BC Jaynes18414Western KyDuke
Kelly Wanger18414Texas TechMaryland
William Acchione18315Western KyMaryland
Sarah Adams18312ConnecticutDuke
GEORGE BRINDISI18315SyracuseOhio State
Mark Elliot18313CaliforniaCincinnati
Jim Fenstermacher18312Kent StKansas
Bob Huffnagle18312ConnecticutMaryland
Dan McGraw18315Kansas
Peter O'Brien18213ConnecticutMaryland
Brian Corrin18115Mississippi StMaryland
Jon Landrum18114Duke
Matt Mazeffa18114ConnecticutMaryland
Maggie Peloso18114Texas TechDuke
Rich Warmbier18115CaliforniaMaryland
claude gatto18013XavierDuke
Marshall Linton18013CaliforniaMaryland
Sappenin', dude?18013CaliforniaAlabama
Randy Wanger18013CaliforniaDuke
Amy Acchione17913Western KyMaryland
Greg Craig17913Texas TechMaryland
Dee Jenna17913Texas TechArizona
Arnold Selig17913Texas TechDuke
Laura Harlan17814Texas TechDuke
Joe Glowacki17715UtahKansas
Adam Littlefield17713CaliforniaMaryland
Michael Mc17713XavierDuke
Eric Wagner17715Maryland
Jackson Quarles17613Michigan StDuke
Nick Mahalko17512XavierMaryland
SeligOstroBrooks SOB17511MissouriDuke
Mike Wilson17512Mississippi StDuke
DS Harvie17413CaliforniaKansas
Dave Johnston17412MemphisDuke
Grandpa Kedson17310Texas TechMaryland
Piper Landrum17313Kansas
Will Simpson17316AmericanDuke
Will Simpson 217316AmericanDuke
Will Simpson 317316AmericanDuke
Joe Sixpack17313Texas TechKansas
Lucia Donadio17110CaliforniaCincinnati
Edward Leach17112ButlerDuke
Jim Lee17112MissouriDuke
Brian Jagoda17010Kent StKansas
Patsy Riner17013Duke
Richard Haynes16914
John Shadle16911Duke
Butch Acchione16812Western KyCincinnati
Jeff Clark16812Western KyDuke
jeff gore16812Duke
Craig Weinberg16812Duke
Julie Reeve16614VirginiaDuke
Chris Ridolphi16611CharlotteKansas
Jamie Smith16611Western KyDuke
Ed Humen16512Southern IllDuke
Bob Shaw16512Texas TechKansas
Chris Beane16413Duke
Adam Scott16413Duke
Jake Acchione16311Western KyKansas
Joe McAtee16212Tennessee TechKansas
Michael Meredith16212VirginiaDuke
Rick Simon1629Michigan StDuke
Perry Leach16011Duke
Karen Hutchinson15510Duke
Frank Conte15210Western KyDuke
John Clyde1518
Rachel Broder15012TempleDuke
JOHN FORREST14811Texas TechMaryland
ellen gordon14313TempleDuke
Jon Broder14010TempleDuke