Pool Highlights for 2001
A lesson to all you hoopsters out there - signs, signs, everwhere there's signs! Pay attention to fate and it might do you right. I reserved a room for this weekend at the Hampton Inn in Miami weeks ago. I should have listened to the voices in my head and picked Hampton over Iowa State in the first round. Of all our Hoopsters, only C. Lee dialed into the psychic network and fished that one out. But, I was listening to CSN&Y's "Ohio" while filling out my West regional bracket and thus chose the Golden Flashes of Kent St. to take down the Knight-less IU Hoosiers. Your entire bracket is out there if you just read the signs.
L. Velush got off to a quick start in the tourney with an opening
round 26 including savy picks like Butler, Gonzaga, Penn St., Utah St.,
and Temple. Despite Velush's fast start, may Hoopsters remain within
easy striking distance. Four Hoopsters, including B. Spillman,
Peterson, E. Walden, and M. Robertson were perfect in
the Midwest regional bracket for the first round.
Some titans fall (um, buh-bye Tar Heels, Gators, Orangemen, and Eagles) while others are forged. Gonzaga continues a three year NCAA tournament run that should give hope to all mid-majors for years to come. The Bulldogs nipped ACC wild card Virginia in round 1 and then earned another sweet 16 berth by showing the Indiana St. Sycamores the door. Same old, same old for the 'zags.
Only two Hoopsters, C.Johnson and A. Walden, thought Penn St. had a snowball's chance in North Carolina of sneaking into the third round, but there they are, fixing to claw away at the Temple Owls to see who will go to the Elite 8. Only J. Fine figured the enigmatic Owls would step up and advance this deep into the 2001 tourney.
Usually, scores for each round decrease as upsets take their toll on our brackets. In round 2, E. Atonna, L. Schnebly, J. Spievak, and A. Walden actually earned more points in round 2 than in round 1. Like a negative split in track, increasing your round by round point total is a good sign that your bracket is on the right track.
1997 CJ Pool champ E. Atonna came from back in the pack to post
a round-high 24 in round 2. L. Schnebly is perfect thus far
in his Midwest regional bracket. Look out for Atonna and Schnebly
The pool is bearish this year I see. High-seeded favorites are slicing through the bracket like George Bush through an Environmental Impact Report and high 3rd round scores were had by those who went with the favorites. You know its a competitive third round when you need 20 points just to keep up with the pack! Five hoopsters collected 24 points in the third round, meaning they picked 6 of the 8 teams for the Elite Eight. Round 3 saw few upset picks. Not a single hoopster picked USC to make the eight, and only J. Fine knew that Temple would heimlich itself into the rarified air of the fourth round. High score for the round was 24, the low score was 8.
A competitive pool is a fun pool for everybody. Despite strong 3rd round runs by D. Ericson, J. Shedwill, J. Spievak, L. Schnebly, and 2000 CJ Pool Champ D. Peterson, 16 hoopsters are within a Final Four pick of first place. Some hoopsters made strong moves in the standings this round. D. Peterson vaulted from 20th to 9th, and J. Spievak snaked his way into 10th place after finishing the second round mired in the pack at 21st place. Like an errant shot from Penn State's backcourt though, what goes up must come down, and sometimes with a thud. Hoopster S. Johnson plummeted faster than a tech stock after a negative earnings report to fall from 5th place down to 18th.
Slow and steady may win the race. Three hoopsters continued to turn in negative splits. A. Walden (17-18-20), L. Schnebly (21-22-24), and J. Spievak (18-20-24) turned the trick again. Look for these three to be in the hunt when the dust settles. Walden finished runner-up in the 2000 CJ Pool and Schnebly is a grizzled veteran of the bracket wars. Can they outduel cagey journeyman J. Spievak for the title, or will upstarts D. Ericson, J. Shedwill, or D. Wight sneak in at the wire? And don't overlook the tortoises. Founding members of the CJ Pool, the Martys, and Russian phenom S. Milman are quietly grinding out round after consistent round, both pulling off three straight 20 point rounds. Now that's consistency!
It's too early to tell who will win, but start looking at who picked which teams to win it all. While Schnebly, Ericson, and Shedwill may sit atop the leader board today, their position is tenous. Many people picked Duke, Stanford, or Arizona to win it all, but if you picked MSU or Illinois, you're still alive. One thing's for sure though, Hoopster A. Bennett will have to wait until next year for her taste of victory. In fact, A. Bennett will have to wait until next year for her next point as she becomes the first casulty in this year's CJ Pool. Bennett may be the first contestant out, but shed no Cyclone tears for her. If Hoopster C. Lee gets just two more points in this year's pool, A. Bennett will get her entry fee back for having the lowest score. Hey, she's gonna break even on this pool and that's more than 21 of us will be able to say on April 2!
Time to get down and dirty Hoopsters. The chaff is falling by the wayside and the cream is fighting its way upstream to spawn. By my fuzzy math, only 12 Hoopsters still have a shot at some cash, and only 5 Hoopsters have a chance to win it all (DISCLAIMER: Math was not my strong subject in school, so these extrapolations are not legally binding - in fact, all Hoopsters would be well served by counting up their own points and comparing them with the results posted by the Pool Administrator. You know how that guy is!).
Here we go.
If Arizona wins it all in an Arizona - Maryland final:
In the weekend's action, only L. Schnebly figured Maryland would finally break through and earn a Final Four berth. That's why he's counting his winnings and I'm managing a database. High score for round four was 24, low score was 8. This round saw 12 Hoopsters eliminated from the money and 19 Hoopsters eliminated from ultimate victory.
As mentioned last round, Hoopster A. Bennett is the Pool's first money winner, earning her $10 entry fee back by turning in the Pool's low score. Lesson to be learned: Go for it, big time! Either you'll win it all, or you'll get your money back. Like I said, that's better than 21 of us will do this year.
Shocker of all shockers, we've got Duke and Arizona in the finals. Five Hoopsters including salty curmudgeon D. Ericson, defending champ D. Peterson, CJ Pool Cinderella L. Velush, crafty veteran Martys, and unheralded dark horse C. Smith scored a perfect round and moved themselves into a position to win some money. Only seven Hoopsters still have a shot at money.
Here's the breakdown:
If Arizona wins it all in an Arizona - Duke final:
First Place: $144 (60%)
Second Place: $72 (30%)
Third Place: $24 (10%)
Last Place: $10
Ah Hoopsters, as the sun sets on another NCAA tournament, the grim reality of defeat descends upon 21 of us. But Flag' town was representin' big time with a clean sweep of the money positions. All top three finishers are founding members of the CJ Pool and all three have strong Flagstaff, AZ ties.
D. Ericson, a forensic dendrochronologer for the firm of Cornfed and Holmes, wins his first CJ Pool money in six tries. D-rod pockets $144 and the pool bragging rights for the next year. Dewey spent 11 long years toiling in the sweatshop hell that was the NAU History department until finally earning his masters degree by default when the last remaining member of his review committee passed away last weekend in Bisbee.
The Martys, a motley collection of golf club swinging, alpine skiiing, heating system installing, foundation running, college attending left wing anarchists hunkered down in the remote northern region of the Flag' city limits, have finished in the money a couple of times but have yet to take their game to the next level. The Martys pull down $72 large for going out on a limb with Duke to win it all.
And out of nowhere, pulling down 64 of his 132 points in the last two rounds, on the outside rail, dark house C. Smith slipped into the money. "Smitty" also earned a masters degree in History from NAU and parlayed that into admittance to the Columbia River School of Broadcasting and Media Arts. Smitty will use his $24 in winnings to pay for tuition and books for next two quarters. Smitty is studying to be a Republican translator for C-SPAN. I mean, I'm as unifacatorious as the next guy, but sometimes you can't prognostidesignate what those guys are talking about. Thank you Smitty for sacrificing your intellectual potential so that we may understand where the hell Jessie Helms is coming from.
Thanks for playing everybody, let's do this again next year, same time, same place.