2002 PRE-NCAA CONTEST NEWSLETTER 2
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
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|Name||Score||Conf Champs||Wild Card||Champion|
|BRETT CONNELLY||202||17||Kent St||Kansas|
|Al Alberts||196||17||Texas Tech||Kansas|
|Russell Karpp||196||18||Mississippi St||Duke|
|Curt Whiteside||194||16||Western Ky||Kentucky|
|David Kedson||193||17||Western Ky||Duke|
|Bob Peloso||193||17||Western Ky||Kansas|
|Kevin Biebel||187||14||Michigan St||Duke|
|Kevin Kasprzak||186||13||Notre Dame||Maryland|
|RCNatalini/ Amy Wendel||185||13||Connecticut||Kansas|
|Coach Doc||185||13||Texas Tech||Duke|
|David Simon||185||16||Western Ky||Duke|
|BC Jaynes||184||14||Western Ky||Duke|
|Kelly Wanger||184||14||Texas Tech||Maryland|
|William Acchione||183||15||Western Ky||Maryland|
|GEORGE BRINDISI||183||15||Syracuse||Ohio State|
|Jim Fenstermacher||183||12||Kent St||Kansas|
|Brian Corrin||181||15||Mississippi St||Maryland|
|Maggie Peloso||181||14||Texas Tech||Duke|
|Amy Acchione||179||13||Western Ky||Maryland|
|Greg Craig||179||13||Texas Tech||Maryland|
|Dee Jenna||179||13||Texas Tech||Arizona|
|Arnold Selig||179||13||Texas Tech||Duke|
|Laura Harlan||178||14||Texas Tech||Duke|
|Jackson Quarles||176||13||Michigan St||Duke|
|Mike Wilson||175||12||Mississippi St||Duke|
|Grandpa Kedson||173||10||Texas Tech||Maryland|
|Will Simpson 2||173||16||American||Duke|
|Will Simpson 3||173||16||American||Duke|
|Joe Sixpack||173||13||Texas Tech||Kansas|
|Brian Jagoda||170||10||Kent St||Kansas|
|Butch Acchione||168||12||Western Ky||Cincinnati|
|Jeff Clark||168||12||Western Ky||Duke|
|Jamie Smith||166||11||Western Ky||Duke|
|Ed Humen||165||12||Southern Ill||Duke|
|Bob Shaw||165||12||Texas Tech||Kansas|
|Jake Acchione||163||11||Western Ky||Kansas|
|Joe McAtee||162||12||Tennessee Tech||Kansas|
|Rick Simon||162||9||Michigan St||Duke|
|Frank Conte||152||10||Western Ky||Duke|
|JOHN FORREST||148||11||Texas Tech||Maryland|