Now that spring is here, the commissioners would like to pay homage to the magnificence of nature, and the natural order of things. In our finite and mortal existence, it is a great comfort to know that the sun will rise tomorrow in the east, and that if you hold a stone in the air and drop it, it will fall to the ground. So while aberrations may occur, like a bitter cold March morning, we can all rest assured that the warmth and beauty of spring will eventually prevail. And perhaps even more of a surety is the comforting knowledge that, even if our contestants appear, early in the tournament, to be doing well with their predictions, like the falling stone they will eventually come back to earth with a resounding thud.

In a year in which five of the Final 8 were #1 or #2 seeds, only 13 out of 123 entrants could correctly guess more than half of the Final 8 teams (Mash Leach, Kane, Barnes, Jodi Hastings, Hanson, Craig M, McGarrigel, Kohart, Cowboy, Corrin, F.Walker, Tiger, and AJOB). Fifty entrants got only three out of eight, eighteen entrants got just two out of eight, and an amazing five entrants correctly chose just one Final 8 team correctly (Dresden, R.Walker, Gladstein, Grande, and Fulmer).

Even more astonishing, with three #1 seeds in the Final 4, nearly 60% of our contestants (73 out of 123) correctly selected either one or zero Final 4 teams. Nine entrants accurately chose zero (yes, 0) Final 4 teams (Bobbie Shaid, Dresden, Gladstein, D.Kedson, Leeds, Golick, Shapiro, Gold, and Post), while only five entrants managed to get as many as three out of four (Mash Leach, Kane, Pappasergi, M.Einbinder-Schatz, and J.Einbinder-Schatz).

Three quarters of us (75%) chose national champions that didn’t make it out of the round of 16.

In light of the above, the commissioners have considered whether we should perform a public service for the NCAA and its member institutions, by reporting to them our contestants’ predictions. Consider the plight of Kansas. Had the team members known that our entrants had unanimously chosen their team into the Final 8, that 117 out of 123 of us had picked them into the Final 4, and that over half of us had chosen them as champion, they might have worked harder, armed with the foreknowledge that an upset was brewing. On the other hand, this type of thing could be a double-edged sword. If the team had known that Salus chose Kansas as national champion, the players might have realized that their doom was inevitable, and simply given up in despair (although you don’t have to tell us that it is, perhaps, superfluous to sally forth on the silliness of spurious choices by the atrabilious, supercilious Salus).

Needless to say (although we’ll still say it), defending champion Brady’s year old record for most points is quite safe (although Brady, himself, is also safely ensconced in 92nd place).

But in the midst of all the darkness reported above, there is one ray of light (or of something, we’re not sure what). In perhaps the most remarkable comeback since the Allies landed at Normandy, Mash Leach has won the pool. We’ll repeat that (although if you have a weak heart, perhaps you shouldn’t read it twice): Mash Leach has won the pool. The monster Mash was the only contestant to select accurately more than five of the Final 8, correctly guessing seven of the Final 8 (including his Wild Card Providence). He also chose three of the Final 4. To comprehend fully the enormity of this accomplishment, one must consider Mash’s history in the pool: before this year, he had entered five of our pools and had finished in the bottom ten in four of the five years, including last, second to last and fifth to last. During the past three pools, Mash had finished 80th, 81st, and 98th. He held the all-time record for fewest points. And now, as we have already said twice, Mash Leach has won the pool. Kind of inspiring, isn’t it?

All prize winners, depending on national champion, are as follows:

Arizona PtsKentucky PtsMinnesota PtsUNC Pts
Mash Leach 316 Mash Leach 356 Mash Leach 316 Mash Leach 316
Troy Kane 312 Troy Kane 352 Troy Kane 312 Troy Kane 312
Marshall Linton 276 R.C. Natalini 315 Cowboy 298 Bill McGarrigel304

In any event, we hope that Mash Leach’s feel-good tale will inspire other of our entrants with the belief that anything is possible, especially Bobbie Shaid, who has broken Mash’s all-time record for futility, garnering only 140 points. Who knows, maybe next year she’ll be saying, "show me the money" (then again, maybe not). Rounding out the bottom five are Salus (162 points), Dresden (170), Gladstein (177), and R.Walker (183).

Wild Card points were received by 31 entrants (16 St. Jos., 7 Providence, 6 Texas (Young; Coach Doc; Shaffer; Gladstein; Wamser; Byrnes), and 2 California (Golick; Kleiman)). Seven people got 25 Wild Card points for choosing Providence (Joyce, Potoczak, P.Hastings, Camposano, Ann Mc, Nee, Mash Leach).

Our overall average was 234.77 points, down almost 12 points from last year. Not surprisingly, females (avg. 237.21) have widened their lead over males (234.44), but perhaps showing that the pool is child’s play, children (245.50) lead both type of adults by a wide margin.

The battle among the species has taken a bit of a quirky turn, as humans (235.68) have scratched and clawed their way ahead of felines (233.75), and the mutants (246.25) have oozed their way ahead of both. Must be all their genetic engineering, we guess. But as we said at the outset of this newsletter, the natural order of things usually prevails: lawyers (223.50) have remained in their natural position - the bottom - lagging more than 10 points behind the next lowest of the species.

In the Tag Team tussle, the Hastings (267.33) topped out over the Natalinis (249.25), followed by the Nova Gang (241.57), who narrowly defeated the Leach Clan (241.00) in their annual grudge match, the Bridge Players Association (238.50), the Mc’s (224.67), and the Kedsons (223.00) . The Friends of Amy (210.80) and the Shaid Group (201.50) distantly trail the pack, although the extended Friends of Amy (229.00) continue to show that Amy apparently associates with a higher class of friend than the Leaches, having edged the extended Leach Clan (228.43) (perhaps now that Mash Leach is such a hotshot, he can afford a better quality friend).

In our geographical challenge, there still seems to be a general northerly trend, although Delaware (255.00) surged ahead of Connecticut (252.75) and New Hampshire (250.00) at the top, and Maryland (243.00) finished above New York (241.20), New Jersey (234.64), and Pennsylvania (233.40). The south, represented by Washington D.C. (210.80) and Tennessee (204.00) did not shine. Within Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia suburbanites (234.71) beat the Philadelphia urban dwellers (222.35) handily, but lost by an even larger margin to Western Pennsylvanians (252.83). Those living in South Jersey (245.17) nixed their North Jersey neighbors (228.80).

Among Pennsylvania area codes, 412 (248.60) beat out 215 (236.02) and 610 (227.24). In New Jersey, 609 (249.25) was better than both 908 (242.00) and 201 (220.00). In Maryland, 410 (246.50) defeated 301 (236.00) (and also DC area code 202 (210.80)). In the New York/Connecticut area, 212 (254.80) edged 203 (252.75) and thrashed 423 (204.00).

In the name game (3 or more to qualify), the hottest name around was Susan (263.67), by a wide margin, over Peter (250.00), Joe (248.83), Marc/Mark (238.20), Jeff (236.00), John/Jon (234.50), Brian (233.00), Bill (227.00), Bob (226.67), Mike (222.33), and David (222.00). And if my name were Rick (an embarrassing 198.25), I’d still be changing it, fast.

Sales people (243.50) talked their way ahead of Retired persons (242.17) and Engineers (240.61). (But what’s new about that?) Contrary to our last report, Students (236.00) apparently know a lot more than Teachers (220.17). And in an upset almost as big as the Mash Leach debacle, practicing Attorneys (228.10) finished ahead of Computer people (227.25), Teachers, and Accountants (220.14). (But don’t worry, the Attorneys were still well below the pool average.) Coaches (264.00) crushed former NCAA (Div. I) players (230.50).

Among employers (also 3 or more to qualify), Joe Hand Promotions (245.33) took the top spot, over Robinson-Humphrey (242.67), and PaDOT (241.71). Well below the leaders, Vibroplating (229.67) nevertheless had the thinnest of margins over Urban Engineering (229.55) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey (229.25), and an only slightly wider one over Conrail (226.67). The rumors are that Delaware Management Company (217.86) and the Hearst Elementary School (208.33) are considering early retirement. Government workers (220.00) improved over time (and when’s the last time you heard that?).

As always, the commissioners have (for reasons that are best left unexplained) taken (wasted?) the time to name a Tournament All-Name Team. This year, we have organized it into three "teams," along with a few special categories:

All-Alliterative Team All-Authority Team All-Animal Team
Jackson Julson (Cincinnati) Brian Earl (Princeton) Brian Cardinal (Purdue)
Dmitri Domani (St. Joseph’s) Kyle Commodore (Fairfield) Rob Gibbons (Illinois State)
Ndongo N’Diaye (Providence) Jermel President (Charleston) Shea Seals (Tulsa)
Ya-Ya Dia (Georgetown) Julian King (Coppin State) J.R. Camel (Montana)
Duany Duany (Wisconsin) (Captain)God Shammgod (Providence) (Captain)Randy Duck (California) (Captain)

Special All-Name mention:

Would be on a Team if he weren’t an Academy Award winner: Cuba Gooding, Jr. (named after parent’s favorite missile crisis)
Would be on a Team if he weren’t a minor league baseball player: Wonderful Terrific Monds III (Atlanta Braves)
Would be on a Team if he weren’t a Heel: Ademola Okulaja (UNC, via Germany)
Provided best opportunity for an announcer during the Tournament: Matt Picinic (LIU)
(When he scored against Villanova, the announcer proclaimed, "That was a Picinic basket.")


Even more inexplicable than the commissioners’ penchant for All-Name Teams is their taste for mascot trivia. This year’s questions are:

(1) Name all teams in the tournament with nicknames that neither include a color nor end in ‘s’ (3 teams, 20 points total)
(2) Name the teams that considered themselves "Golden" before the Tournament began (4 teams, 5 points each)
(3) Name the most popular nickname (most teams) in the NCAA Tournament field (5 points)
(4) Among Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Bears, name which has had the most success (winning pct) in this year’s Tournament, and which has had the least success (5 points each)
(5) Name the five nicknames that appear more than once in the field (some latitude allowed), and of these, which has the highest and which has the lowest winning percentage (2 points for each correct answer)
(6) Name the teams that fit into each of the following categories (1 point for each correct answer):
(a) Felines (10 teams)
(b) Canines (4 teams)
(c) Ursines (3 teams)
(d) Birds (10 teams)
(e) Herd Animals (4 teams)
(f) Burrowing and Tree Dwelling Mammals (3 teams)
(g) Religious and/or Authority Figures (3 teams)
(h) Anti-Religious and/or Anti-Authority Figures (4 teams)
(i) Simultaneously Both of the Above (2 teams)
(j) Skirmishers (6 teams)
(k) Pertaining to Feet and/or Faces (3 teams)
(l) Automobiles (2 teams)
(m) A Lot of Wind (2 teams)
(n) Recently Changed their Nickname, or Should do so in the Near Future (3 teams)
(o) Turtles, Golddiggers, Cocktails, People from Scotland, and Prophylactic Devices (5 teams)
(p) First Round Losers from Big Conferences with Stupid Nicknames Beginning with ‘H’ (2 teams)

Note: We counted three teams twice. In addition, because the commissioners continue to disagree on whether the Stanford Cardinal is a color or an individual bird, "Stanford" will not be considered a correct answer to any question, ever.



(1) Massachusetts Minutemen, Navy Midshipmen, Illinois Fighting Illini
(2) California Golden Bears, Marquette Golden Eagles, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Tulsa Golden Hurricane
(3) Tigers (Jackson St., Princeton, Clemson, Pacific)
(4) Bears lead (5-3, .625) slightly over Cats (12-8, .600), but two Cats are in the Final 4. Dogs (1-4, .200) are dead last, while Birds (10-10, .500) are fluttering in the middle.
(5) Tigers (4 - Jackson St., Princeton, Clemson, Pacific; 2-4, .333); Wildcats (3 - Arizona, Villanova, Kentucky; 9-1, .900); Eagles (3 - Coppin St., Marquette (Golden Eagles), BC; 2-3, .400); Bulldogs (2 - Georgia, Butler; 0-2, .000); Hawks (St. Joseph’s, Kansas (Jayhawks); 4-2, .667). Obviously, from the above, Wildcats are first, with .900 winning pct., and Bulldogs are last, with .000 winning pct.
(a) Jackson St. Tigers, Princeton Tigers, Clemson Tigers, Pacific Tigers, Villanova Wildcats, Arizona Wildcats, Kentucky Wildcats, Charleston Cougars, South Alabama Jaguars, SW Texas St. Bobcats
(b) Georgia Bulldogs, Butler Bulldogs, New Mexico Lobos, Boston U. Terriers
(c) California Golden Bears, UCLA Bruins, Montana Grizzlies
(d) Boston College Eagles, Coppin St. Eagles, Marquette Golden Eagles, Kansas Jayhawks, St. Joseph’s Hawks, South Carolina Gamecocks, Louisville Cardinals, Temple Owls, Illinois St. Redbirds, LIU Blackbirds
(e) Colorado Buffaloes, Texas Longhorns, Fairfield Stags, Rhode Island Rams
(f) Minnesota Golden Gophers, Wisconsin Badgers, Cincinnati Bearcats
(g) Old Dominion Monarchs, Vanderbilt Commodores, Providence Friars
(h) Duke Blue Devils, Mississippi Rebels, Charleston Southern Buccaneers, Oklahoma Sooners
(i) Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Valparaiso Crusaders
(j) Massachusetts Minutemen, Xavier Musketeers, Virginia Cavaliers, Navy Midshipmen, Illinois Fighting Illini, Kansas Jayhawks
(k) UTC Mocs, North Carolina Tar Heels, Iowa Hawkeyes
(l) Murray St. Racers, South Alabama Jaguars
(m) Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Iowa St. Cyclones
(n) Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs (changed this year from Moccasins because it was "politically incorrect"), Miami (Ohio) Redskins, Utah Utes
(o) Maryland Terrapins, UNCC 49ers, Purdue Boilermakers, St. Mary’s Gaels, USC Trojans
(p) Indiana Hoosiers, Georgetown Hoyas

SCORING: Don’t even bother. If you played, you lost.

Standings As of 3/24/97
Back to Top

NameScoreConf ChampsWild CardChampionFinal 8Final 4
Mash Leach31612ProvidenceKentucky63
Troy Kane31220IndianaKentucky53
Marshall Linton27620GeorgiaKansas42
Oliver Brooks27518St. Joseph'sKansas52
Robert C. Natalini27520SyracuseKentucky32
John Donadio27418St. Joseph'sKansas42
Bruno Pappasergi27418IndianaKansas43
Jodi Hastings27318IndianaKentucky52
Susan Shaid27220St. Joseph'sKansas42
Susan Hanson26916IndianaKansas52
Polly Shaffer26917TexasKansas42
Gene Camposano26814ProvidenceKentucky42
Craig M.26715Rhode IslandKansas52
Peter Hastings26615ProvidenceKentucky32
Bill McGarrigel26415TempleNorth Carolina52
Joe Hastings26319St. Joseph'sWake Forest32
Audrey Kohart26320IndianaKentucky51
Jeff Clark26216TempleKentucky42
Peter O'Brien26121IndianaKentucky41
Joe S. (& Job Z)26117TulsaKansas42
Al Alberts25715VanderbiltKentucky42
Adam Mintz25718IndianaKansas42
Peter Homsher I25618IowaKansas32
Joe Glowacki25514GeorgetownKansas42
David J. Josephs25520St. Joseph'sKentucky41
Mark Piccirillo II25514SyracuseKansas42
Bob Shaw25514IndianaKansas42
Brian Corrin25417IndianaUCLA51
Joshua Einbinder-Schatz25411IndianaMinnesota43
Jason Joyce25416ProvidenceWake Forest31
Marc Kleiman25317CaliforniaKansas32
Susan Abrams25017St. Joseph'sDuke32
S. Potoczak25014ProvidenceKansas31
Frank Walker25018IndianaKansas51
Claude24917St. Joseph'sKansas41
Michael Einbinder-Schatz24813TempleKentucky33
Joe Rogers24816IndianaKansas41
Jim Gibb24718St. Joseph'sKansas31
Joe Lunardi24716St. Joseph'sKansas41
Mark Tiger24514IndianaWake Forest51
A Capella24417GeorgiaWake Forest41
Frank Conte24212GeorgiaMinnesota42
Curt Whiteside24218IndianaKentucky31
Lou C24016Southwest MO St.Kansas32
Bob D'Zuro23916GeorgiaSouth Carolina41
Brian Leahy23914TempleKansas32
Norm Rosen23916IndianaKansas41
Len Kedson23816TulsaKansas31
Sarah Adams23717GeorgiaKansas31
Arnold E Selig23715GeorgetownKansas41
Liz Aldridge23612TulsaKansas42
Laura Harlan23614IndianaKansas32
Peter Homsher II23618SyracuseKentucky31
Ron Melnik23618IndianaKansas31
Jon Broder23517TempleKentucky22
Coach Doc23515TexasKansas31
Hank Fila23515GeorgiaKansas32
Mark Piccirillo23521IndianaKentucky21
Bill Acchione23318Boston CollegeKentucky31
Jack Henderson23314IndianaKansas32
Pat O'Brien23215Boston CollegeKentucky32
GRED23115IndianaWake Forest41
Heather Howlett23115Rhode IslandKansas41
Ann Mc23114ProvidenceKansas21
Amy/Peter Natalini/Wendell23117GeorgiaKansas31
Rick Green22912TempleKansas32
Domino Leach22916GeorgiaDuke31
Peter Young22915TexasKansas31
Chris Sheeler22817IndianaKansas31
Bill Byrnes22712TexasWake Forest22
John Josephs22715TulsaWake Forest31
Manute22712Fresno St.Kansas42
R. Larson22416IndianaKansas41
Jeffrey Nee22412ProvidenceKansas21
David F. Post22417Boston CollegeKansas40
Jeff Pokrass22214Boston CollegeMinnesota31
Robert A. Peloso22115TempleWake Forest31
Edward Leach21914TulsaKansas31
Joe Mc21914TulsaKansas31
Rick Schlegel21913St. Joseph'sWake Forest31
Paul M. Brady21812IndianaKentucky31
Todd Anderson21716MassachusettsKansas31
George Brindisi21713GeorgiaKansas31
Tim Salvatore21713TempleKansas31
Ken Gold21418St. Joseph'sWake Forest20
Barney Spitz (in absentia)21312TempleMinnesota22
Alan Schwartz21215MassachusettsKansas31
Ken Fulmer21117New OrleansKansas11
Miguel Perez21113TempleKansas31
Tom S., Jr.21013St. Joseph'sKansas31
Brett Connelly20913St. Joseph'sMinnesota21
Mike Baer20815TempleWake Forest21
Jerry Ostru20813TempleKansas31
Glenn Shapiro20715TempleKansas30
Brian Golick20615CaliforniaVillanova30
Tom Wamser20611TexasKansas31
Andy Kennedy20412MassachusettsKansas22
Bill Rourke20412MassachusettsWake Forest22
Marc Reisenfeld20314New OrleansKansas21
Johnny Bravo20213IndianaWake Forest31
Kevin Grande20114St. Joseph'sKansas11
Perry Leach20011UNC CharlotteSouth Carolina21
Ed Leeds19912GeorgiaWake Forest40
Bill Shaid19114TempleDuke21
David Kedson18713TulsaDuke20
Rick Walker18312GeorgiaCincinnati11
Barry Gladstein17712TexasKansas10
Karen Dresden17013St. Joseph'sKansas10
Rick Salus16210St. Joseph'sKansas31
Bobbie Shaid1406DrexelDuke20