2003 PRE-NCAA CONTEST NEWSLETTER 1
With the announcements that both Fresno State and Georgia had declared themselves ineligible AFTER the pool was due, the Commissioners sensed a crisis of confidence among concerned gamblers. Feeling righteous, we went right to the top. We understand the President was strongly in favor of regime change in Athens, Georgia, but the French threatened to veto any measure authorizing the use of military force. White House spokesperson Andy Katz released a statement explaining the President feels that, in contrast to Georgia, the Fresno State situation could be dealt with diplomatically, despite rumors that Jerry Tarkanian's "retirement" was really a smoke screen to hide his efforts to construct a nuclear weapon aimed directly at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.
In other news, Todd Pappasergi contacted the Commissioners to explain that he didn't really enter the contest three times, it only looks that way.
For the first time in pool history, nobody chose the same team twice, nobody forgot to choose a wildcard, nobody forgot to pick a conference champion, nobody chose the wrong number of at-large teams, and nobody even committed a spelling error! This, of course, was because the web entry form made it impossible to do any of those things. Perhaps as a protest against our limiting entrants' options to take, shall we say, "unorthodox" approaches, this year we had the lowest turnout since 1995. Only 94 people entered the contest (92 if you just count T Pappasergi once). In the next newsletter, we'll divulge how many of those were paying entries.
Of course, you can't please everybody. S Adams threatened lawsuit against the Commissioners for their inability to prevent her proxy from properly distinguishing between "Utah" (her supposed wildcard selection) and "Wagner" (her actual wildcard selection) on the entry form. And several folks expressed or implied displeasure at the Commissioners enforcing the rule that the wildcard must not be in the AP Top 25 linked from the entry form (enforced against them, at least; we doubt they really care if we enforce it against everybody else). We always delight in naming those who have unsuccessfully attempted to slip one by us, and this year is no exception: A Scott (St. Joseph's, #25 in the Feb. 10, AP Top 25); R Kornfeld (UConn, #23); M Ruben (UConn); C Hurrell (Missouri, #21); B Friedfeld (Xavier, #18); and this year's "Wildcard of the year" award winner, D Silverman (Duke, #8).
Currently leading the pack are Baumgarten -- who once led the pool after selection of the field before he fell back into mediocrity -- and Peloso, both with 55 points, including an impressive (at least for us) 11 of 16 Conference champions. Close enough to steal one of the vowels from their names is Kasprzak with 53 points. S Adams is one of twelve players tied for fourth, with 50 points (and just think how well she'd be doing if she'd properly selected her wildcard). Among those tied with S Adams are Claude, who reportedly prides himself on being the first contestant to complete his entry (and therefore having the least amount of information on which to base his guesses; Claude also prides himself on being a non-paying entry, so draw your own conclusions), and Leach Gang patriarch, E Leach.
For those who miss Mash and Domino Leach, we are happy to announce that this year Ed and Perry are joined by a new Leach, Madison. Upholding the fine family tradition, Madison Leach is currently tied for 85th place. Co-leader Peloso's arch-nemesis, Sullivan is only two points ahead of M Leach, but at least she's got a comfortable lead over her husband, D'Zuro, who is tied with ME Donadio for 90th place, with only 30 points. Bringing up the rear are JJ Joseph with 25 points, Connelly with 23 points, and Athey with a mere 18 points, thanks to his accurately predicting only three (yes, 3) out of the 16 Conference champions decided so far.
As a group, we were befuddled by conference losers: Gonzaga (chosen by 90 of 94); Arizona (90); Valparaiso (88); Winthrop (84); College of Charleston (79) and Utah (72), and by the aforementioned self-imposed penalties at Fresno State (72 chose as conference champ, 3 as at-large) and Georgia (5 as conference champ, 83 as at-large). In fact, everyone chose Georgia except the following clairvoyant individuals, who must be close personal friends of Tony Cole: R Broder; R Kornfield; D Kornfeld; J McAtee; A Scott; and Terhune.
There are upsets and then there are upsets, and this year we've been collectively fooled by: UNCA (only M Leach; Pogach picked them); IUPUI (nobody); ETSU (only M Leach; Shapiro); USC (nobody); and UNLV (only Huffnagle; D Josephs; M Josephs; Koiki; Rybaltowski). And lest you think it's an "initial school" issue, how about: Colorado State (nobody); Oregon (nobody); San Diego (only Glowacki; Koiki; P Leach; Marshall); Nevada (only Booth; Jaynes; Kohart; R Starbuck); Vermont (only 12 people); and Tulsa (only 12 people)? And if they win their final on Saturday, we can add: Temple (only M Josephs; Silverman); Cal-Poly (nobody); UAB (nobody); Alcorn State (only P Leach); and UConn (only 10 people).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
If you bothered to read the names in the above paragraph, you'll see some repeat "brilliance." As a rule, however, you won't find these hotshots near the top of the standings. Today's installment of "Inside the Numbers" will focus on this phenomenon, and as our primary example, we can think of no better entrant than Madison Leach (who we expect resembles Mash Leach in a skirt). At first glance, the main difference between Madison and Mash seems to be that Madison can "pick 'em," as evidenced by her astute selections of surprise conference winners ETSU and UNCA, and surprise SEC finalist Mississippi State. A closer look at her picks, however, shows that she also selected: Binghamton; Seton Hall; VCU; Iona; Delaware St; Wichita St; Monmouth; Murray State; and Purdue. Similarly, Koiki wisely chose San Diego, UNLV, and Vermont, but poorly picked: DePaul; Indiana; Cal-Santa Barbara; Illinois-Chicago; Monmouth; California; Davidson; Georgia; and Hawaii. Glowacki struck gold with San Diego, Vermont, and maybe Connecticut, but wasted his investment on: Belmont; Drexel; Iona; Wyoming; Central Connecticut; Lehigh; and Davidson.
On the other hand, the methods of the above troika are infinitely better than those employed by the likes of JJ Joseph (got no surprise winners, but plenty of losers: Eastern Washington; Drexel; Miami OH; Central Connecticut; Appalachian St; Alabama St; Oklahoma St; and Purdue) and D Kedson (nothing good, but a whole lot of: Colorado; Liberty; Cal-Santa Barbara; Wyoming; Monmouth; Tennessee Tech; Michigan St; and Tulsa (at least that last one might pay off)).
Perhaps even odder is the case of Connelly, who didn't go overboard like the others at the bottom of the standings. Frankly, he didn't really take any chances at all -- he just guessed wrong. And we're talking wrong -- in 12 out of 16 conferences (so far).
STRATEGY OF THE WEEK
Every year, several entrants who have difficulty choosing their conference champions decide to solve their problem by picking their second choice at-large -- that way they'll at least get three points. In small doses, this may well be a winning strategy. Unfortunately, most who opt for it tend to go a tad overboard. Like R Broder, who chose: Appalachian State; Austin Peay; Birmingham Southern; Fairfield; Hampton; Hawaii; Holy Cross; Illinois-Chicago; Iona; New Mexico State; Oral Roberts; Princeton; San Diego; Southern Illinois; Stephen F Austin; UC-Irvine; VCU; Vermont; Wagner; Weber State; and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, all AT-LARGE!!! In her defense, seven of those teams did, in fact, win their conference championships. On the other hand... at-large??? YOWSA!!!
R Broder also led a star-studded cast of those who felt compelled to choose ineligible Michigan (the one team that declared itself ineligible before the pool was due). In defense of R Broder, as well as Clark and D Kornfeld, Michigan was allowed to play in their conference tournament, and that might have been confusing. We can't think of a defense for: R Kornfeld; J McAtee; A Scott; or Terhune, who all selected Michigan at-large. They must have thought the "x-" next to Michigan's name on the entry form meant "x-tremely smart pick."
Only two teams got more than six votes for National Champion, Arizona (41) and Kentucky (28), and with our record for "success," both sets of Wildcats should be concerned. Other champions include: Oklahoma (6: Haklar; M Josephs; Kleiman; M Leach; Bracketology; Wagner); Kansas (5: Claude; Conte; D Kedson; McMoose; A Scott); Duke (4: D Kornfeld; Selig; Shaffer; Warmbier); Louisville (3: J Broder; R Broder; R Starbuck); Texas (2: Clark; Koiki); Syracuse (2: George B; Hand); Pittsburgh (2: Nowakowski; M Ruben); and Notre Dame (Terhune).
Utah was our most popular Wildcard (just ask S Adams), with 25 votes. Also receiving wildcard action were: Dayton (12); Memphis (10); Wisconsin (9); Cincinnati (5: Arrowman; Booth; P Kedson; Kent; P Leach); Alabama (4: Huffnagle; M Josephs; B Pappasergi; Pogach); Butler (2: Littlefield; Yantosh); Manhattan (2: Sokol; Terhune); Oregon (2: Mahalko; Warmbier); Purdue (2: Marshall; Seidel); Hawaii (D Kornfeld); Arizona State (R Starbuck); Auburn (Glowacki); Weber State (Hand); Wagner (S Adams); Virginia (Weinberg); Michigan State (Kohart); Georgia Tech (McAtee); Indiana (Koiki); Villanova (Altomonte -- now that's something to phone home about); Texas Tech (Rybaltowski); Tennessee (B Kedson); St. John's (Spitz); Penn (R Broder); and (oops) Fresno State (Hutchinson).
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 through games of March 14, 2003
Back to Top
|Name||Score||Conf Champs||Wild Card||Champion|
|Kyla Terhune||50||10||Manhattan||Notre Dame|
|Karen Hutchinson||48||9||Fresno St||Arizona|
|Joe McAtee||48||9||Georgia Tech||Arizona|
|Bob Hand||45||9||Weber St||Syracuse|
|Todd Pappasergi 1||43||8||Utah||Kentucky|
|Todd Pappasergi 2||43||8||Utah||Kentucky|
|Todd Pappasergi 3||43||8||Utah||Kentucky|
|Richard Starbuck||43||8||Arizona St||Louisville|
|Barbara Spitz||40||8||St. John's||Arizona|
|Audrey Kohart||35||7||Michigan St||Arizona|
|matt rybaltowski||35||7||Texas Tech||Arizona|