Well, Ohio State's probation has sent shockwaves through the world of the pool. Instead of future penalties, the NCAA chose to make the Buckeyes give back past NCAA glory and tournament revenues, and has stricken the school's name from the record books of the 1999 through 2002 tournaments. Immediately after the NCAA's decision was announced, bitter entrants flocked to the commissioner's domicile, demanding we re-allocate funds now that Ohio State didn't really make the tournament all those years. Despite the eloquence of these petitioners, however, we have declined to follow their suggestions. Nevertheless, we agree that some penalty is in order, so in the spirit of the NCAA decision we hereby decree that Marsala (1999), J Donadio, Jr. (2000), B Kedson (2001), and Bland (2002) must remove their Pool Champion banners from the rafters of their rec rooms. Cheaters never prosper.

Which is why we feel it's our duty to publicize the names of those underhanded individuals who try to get around the rules. In years past we have had to discipline many, but this year the sole object of our wrath is Butscher, who chose illegal wild card Georgetown. It will not avail you.

This year, 78 enterprising souls have entered the Pre-NCAA Contest. (We haven't yet tallied up how many of these are paying entrants. Sorry, we'll get to it by the next newsletter.) Our current leader, and the winner of the $100 prize for leading after selection of the field (with a total of 210 points), is D Josephs, whose son, M Josephs (188 points) is a past pool champion. We're sure the prospect of beating his progeny (who undoubtedly has been ragging the old man since 1998) is worth much more to D Josephs than the money.

But the Battle of the Josephses is not the only familial grudge match going on. In fact several entrants have said in no uncertain terms that their ONLY goal in the pool is beating some friend or family member. Booth (197 points), for example, has her sights set on brother-in-law Whiteside (206 points), and while we hate to be the bearer of bad tidings (well, OK, you caught us, we don't really mind at all -- in fact, we kind of like it), so far she's falling short. K Sullivan (195 pts), as always, served up some pretty strong words about B Peloso (188 pts), but at least she's backing it up. Her husband D'Zuro (196 pts) is letting his selections do the talking, and currently holds a 1 point edge over his wife (although he is only tied with his deceased mother, Haklar (196 pts)). B Peloso, although behind his bitter rival, at least has a comfortable lead over his daughter, M Peloso (171 pts).

The Donadio family tree appears to be upside-down, as youthful entrants N Donadio (198) and L Donadio (198) are showing their parents (M Donadio (187) and J Donadio (185)) a thing or two. Last year's co-champion, K Wanger (193 pts) continues to claim that the money means nothing and her sole goal is to embarrass her father (R Wanger (198)) but, so far at least, it's "father knows best." The same sentiment prevails in the Kleiman and Broder households. (M Kleiman (198) over B Kleiman (190) and J Broder (193) over R Broder (189)). Alas for patriarchs everywhere, Coach Doc (196 points) can't say the same (daughter S Adams remains tied with him at 196). Commissioner D Kedson (204) so far retains bragging rights over his parents (M Kedson (196) and G Kedson (181)). And two-time champion Rosen (207) has a comfortable lead over his wife (Abrams (181)).

We are deeply concerned about the goings-on at the Leach household. It's one thing for grandpa E Leach (192) to be thrashing his son P Leach (183). But poor little toddlers Madison Leach (163) and Samantha Leach (141) undoubtedly trusted their daddy and grandpa, and look where it got them? It's enough to make one shake his or her head.

Poor little Samantha (141) brings up the rear, with 141 points, followed by Packman (144), Paston (155), Perez (159) and Madison (163). As we said earlier, D Josephs (210) is in first, followed by Claude (208), Rosen (207), and Whiteside (206). The pool average is 185.91 points.

Have we mentioned that the pool is 17 years old this year? Well, it is. If it were a person it would be graduating high school this spring. Which is more than we can say for most of our contestants, if basketball acumen was included in the core curriculum. When it comes to choosing conference champions, only eight entrants had as many as 60% correct: D Josephs, Rosen, D Kedson (each with 21 correct); Koiki, Claude (both with 20); and Booth, Whiteside, Harlan (each with 19). Not that any of them were better than 68%; in this pool even best get a solid "D."

At least a majority of us were correct in choosing 17 of the conference winners. But fewer than ten of us had a clue in the Sun Belt (South Alabama, picked only by Booth, Dodger, L Donadio, N Donadio, B Kleiman, M Kleiman, M Leach, K Wanger); the Big 12 (Kansas, picked by Crowther, M Donadio, Huffnagle, D Kedson, S Leach, Leeds, N Sullivan); the Big 10 (Iowa, picked by Acchione, George B, L Donadio, Mahalko, Paston); the MVC (Southern Illinois, picked by Koiki, Mahalko, Pogach); the MEAC (Hampton, picked by Booth, Kovolski); the Northeast (Monmouth, picked only by N Sullivan); the Atlantic 10 (Xavier, picked only by D Kedson); and the Big East (Syracuse, picked by nobody).

As always, individual entrants tried to get some quick points by picking conference upsets. And we're alarmed to say that for the first time in 17 years some of us seem to be getting the hang of it. Well, that is if you discount the Leach girls. Samantha Leach successfully predicted Florida and Kansas, but also chose: Jackson St, Pitt, Samford, BC, Charleston Southern, Arizona, Western Michigan, Valparaiso, UAB, New Mexico St, Bethune-Cookman, and Gardner-Webb. Fellow befuddled babe, Madison Leach cleverly chose UNC-Wilmington, San Diego St, and South Alabama, but followed that up with: Coppin State, Miami-Ohio, Georgetown, Alabama State, Oklahoma, UMKC, Tennessee Tech, Holy Cross, Eastern Washington, Hartford, and Marist. Not in the same league as the girls, but impressive in his own right was George B, who was right with Iowa and Davidson, but very wrong with BYU, Miami-Ohio, Old Dominion, Alabama State, Bradley, and Coppin State.

But, as we said, a few of us seem to be getting better. For example, perennial long-shot artist N Sullivan broke even, choosing unlikely winners Kansas, Florida, UNC-Wilmington, and Monmouth, along with likely losers Miami-Ohio, Georgetown, Jackson St, and (our personal favorite) Kennesaw State. Mahalko was just down one, hitting paydirt with Southern Illinois and Iowa, while getting mud on his face from Pitt, Arkansas, and Robert Morris. And some actually did well. Booth looked darned good on Hampton, South Alabama, Montana, Belmont, and Davidson, while only feeling foolish about Austin Peay. D Kedson, picked up points on San Diego St, Belmont, UNC-Wilmington, Kansas, and Xavier, while only blowing it on California and Coppin State. And the Donadio family must know something the rest of us don't. M Donadio chose good winners Kansas, UNC-Wilmington, and Florida, but picked no bad losers. N Donadio won well with Florida, South Alabama, and Montana, while only losing poorly on Grambling and Marist. And the pride of the family, L Donadio, kicked some butt with Iowa, South Alabama, UNC-Wilmington, Montana, and Belmont, and only got kicked back by Oklahoma.

Special kudos to Fitch, M Perez, Ripley, and G Kedson, all of whom chose Florida Atlantic, a team eliminated before the pool was due. And Packman wins the "video game character we'd love to invite to our poker game" award for picking Northern Illinois, Virginia Tech, Valparaiso, Georgia, Buffalo, Wake Forest, and SMU all at large! Nice.

The most popular wild card was Marquette (chosen by 25), followed by Arkansas (12), Nevada (10), Wisconsin (9), and a smattering of others: Kentucky (3), Arizona (2), Air Force (2), Northern Iowa (2), Wichita St (2), Alabama (1), California (1), UAB (1), Syracuse (1), and Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1). Five soon-to-be-embarrassed contestants chose wild cards that weren't invited to play: Harlan (Missouri St), M Peloso (Missouri St), Kasprzak (Missouri St), Hurrell (Florida St), and Packman (Virginia Tech).

We displayed little originality in our choices for champion. UConn was our most popular selection (chosen by 41), and Duke (21) was the only other team with more than 5 votes. Only 16 entrants chose champions other then the big two: Villanova (5), Texas (4), Memphis (3), Gonzaga (3), and North Carolina (1).

Some things are not what they seem. For example, males (185.95) currently lead females (184.77) by a comfortable margin. BUT, if you take out tragic figures Madison and Samantha Leach (who, after all, misplaced their trust in their older male relatives), then females average 190.73, almost five points higher than the inferior males. And although Lawyers (186.20) lead Humans (185.89) in the battle of the species, practicing attorneys (181.75) trail all other occupations. Of the more important species, felines (208.00) lead scaly anteaters (196.00).

On the other hand, some things are exactly what they seem. For instance, whether you count the unfortunate toddlers or not, the Leach Gang (170.00 with, 179.00 without) are rock bottom in the Tag Team competition. Above them, Arnie's Army of Bridge Players (185.00) are slightly ahead of the Koufax Group (184.00). And at the top, the Kedsons (196.00), the D'Zuros (195.75), Natalini and friends (193.50), and the Donadios (192.00) are in a virtual dead heat. And speaking of dead, deceased entrants (202.00) are waaaaaay beyond the living (185.28).

Maryland was the wisest state from which to choose the pool (average score of 199.00), followed by New Jersey (192.00), Illinois (189), New York (188.67), Virginia (188.00), Pennsylvania (185.95), Arizona (185.33), Florida (177.00), and North Carolina (171.00). Within Pennsylvania, Western PA (189.00) is ahead of both suburban (185.95) and urban (184.30) Philadelphia.

Among employers, Conrail (194.50) is narrowly ahead of "Self" (194.25), while PennDOT (187.50) has a significant edge over Urban Engineering (175.83). The best occupation for pool selection is Computer professional (200.00), followed by Medical professional (194.00), Financial Manager (194.00), Accountant (193.50), and Salesperson (190.00). Students (187.69) seem to know a lot more than Teachers (182.00). You'd think Retired people (183.67) would have the leisure to figure out the winners, but maybe it's not worth it if you're not taking time away from work. And while Attorneys (181.75) have the excuse of being, well, you know, attorneys, we can't think of any way to justify Engineers (183.38).

In the name game, you definitely do NOT want to be like Mike (179.00). Or Rick (180.80), for that matter. Nope, chalk this one up as the Year of the Dave (200.33). Why, that moniker has not seen such a proud day since that Kevin Kline movie in 1993. Better than Mike but not nearly as good as Dave are Bob (188.25), John/Jon (188.00), Chris (186.67), and Mark/Marc (186.00).

Next newsletter will include the All Name Team and Mascot Trivia. We hope Pool Central will be up and running soon on the web site. Standings are below.

Through Selection of the Field

Back to Top
NameScoreConf ChampsWild CardChampion
David Josephs21021Northern IowaConnecticut
Norman Rosen20721ArkansasDuke
Curt Whiteside20619MarquetteMemphis
David Kedson20421ArizonaDuke
Laura Harlan20319Missouri StDuke
Peter O'Brien19917MarquetteVillanova
Neil Baumgarten19818ArkansasConnecticut
Lucia Donadio19818WisconsinDuke
Nicholas Donadio19818NevadaConnecticut
Marc Kleiman19818MarquetteConnecticut
Randy Wanger19818MarquetteConnecticut
Nancy Booth19719UABGonzaga
Sarah Adams19617MarquetteConnecticut
Coach Doc19617ArkansasConnecticut
Jason DeMaso19617MarquetteVillanova
Bob D'Zuro19617ArkansasTexas
Colin Fitch19617MarquetteConnecticut
Mom and Pop Kedson19617ArkansasConnecticut
Pangolin Palace19617MarquetteDuke
Todd Pappasergi19617MarquetteConnecticut
Bill Acchione19518WisconsinVillanova
wayne crowther19518MarquetteDuke
Kate Sullivan19518MarquetteConnecticut
Jon Broder19317WisconsinConnecticut
Steve Smith19317MarquetteConnecticut
Kelly Wanger19317MarquetteDuke
Mark Dodger19218NevadaConnecticut
Ed Leach19218MarquetteDuke
Bret Kleiman19017NevadaTexas
Chris Nowakowski19017WisconsinGonzaga
Kevin Biebel18918ArkansasConnecticut
Rachel Broder18918MarquetteConnecticut
Jeff Butscher18816GeorgetownConnecticut
Matt Josephs18816KentuckyConnecticut
John Marshall (2)18816NevadaConnecticut
Bob Peloso18816Northern IowaConnecticut
MaryEllen Donadio18717MarquetteConnecticut
Chris Kovolski18717KentuckyConnecticut
Dave Mahalko18717ArkansasConnecticut
John Marshall18615NevadaConnecticut
Mike Peterson18615WisconsinConnecticut
John Donadio18516MarquetteDuke
troy kane18516MarquetteMemphis
Brett Collson18315Wis-MilwaukeeConnecticut
Chris Hurrell18315Florida StTexas
Perry Leach18315Wichita StConnecticut
Mike McAtee18315KentuckyDuke
Paul Ripley18315MarquetteConnecticut
Mark Cowboy18216NevadaDuke
Michael Paston18216NevadaConnecticut
Manual Pogach18216MarquetteConnecticut
Susan Abrams18114WisconsinConnecticut
Al Alberts18114MarquetteDuke
Grandpa and Grandma Kedson18114ArkansasDuke
Rick Simon18015AlabamaDuke
Lawrence Mussio17913MarquetteConnecticut
Mark Koufax17814NevadaMemphis
Nick Mahalko17817MarquetteConnecticut
Arnold Selig17715WisconsinDuke
Joe Mc17616ArkansasDuke
Neil Sullivan17616Air ForceDuke
Frank Conte17415MarquetteNorth Carolina
Kevin Kasprzak17415Missouri StConnecticut
Robert Huffnagle17313ArkansasConnecticut
Maggie Peloso17112Missouri StDuke
Mike Wetherell16818SyracuseDuke
GEORGE B16413Air ForceVillanova
Edward Leeds16413WisconsinConnecticut
Madison Leach16311ArizonaTexas
Miguel Perez15912NevadaConnecticut
Matt Paston15513Wichita StGonzaga
Packman14412Virginia TechConnecticut
Samantha Leach1416NevadaVillanova