making a point.

No stinkin' Badgers. Unless I've picked them to win.

No stinkin’ Badgers. Unless I’ve picked them to win.

We have a Final Four — and that means we also have the first set of official standings in the Tenth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought to you by Bocktown).

At this point, those of us who have made correct Final Four picks get two points per team, and that’s most of what’s behind the initial standings. But I’ve also taken the liberty to look ahead, because some of us are in much better shape than others.

Six points:

With full championship game in play:

  • Bluzdude
  • Jaci
  • Kewyson (Of this group, Kewyson was the only one to pick Duke. If they Blue Devils win, Kewyson cannot be touched.
  • Scooter

With champion pick in play:

  • Jim Hollenbeck
  • Jenny Lee
  • Neilson

Four points:

With full championship game in play:

  • Father Spoon
  • Curl Girl Michelle
  • SportsChump

With champion pick in play:

  • Uncle Crappy
  • Adam
  • AAA
  • Joe Cernelli
  • Michael Fulk
  • Jason Cercone
  • Jenn Strang

No further points possible:

  • Birdshit

Two points:

With champion pick in play:

  • Work Kelly
  • Casey
  • Hoyle13
  • Burgh Baby
  • Matt Noonan
  • Tom Bickert
  • Enzo82
  • Otimemore
  • Daria
  • Saylor
  • Carla

No further points possible:

  • Fred
  • Hellohahanarf
  • Dana Bee
  • Starts with Dish
  • PghRugbyRef
  • Calipanthergrl
  • AJ

There is one more group of contestants, mercifully small this year. I’ve been a member of this group more than once, and I think you can look at inclusion in one of two ways: 1) your performance was so pathetic that it deserves to be singled out, or 2) you get to relax and enjoy the last three games without worrying about contests or brackets.

We are, of course, talking about our annual Blutarsky Award winners. And in the immortal words of Faber College Dean Vernon Wormer:

  • Ethel
  • Abby
  • Juan

Enjoy the final weekend, boys and girls.

battered brackets.

I put a spell on you...

I put a spell on you…

We’re a few hours away from the resumption of the NCAA tournament, so now would be a good time to take a quick look at how we’re all faring in the Tenth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought to you by Bocktown).

We can’t do official standings, because we don’t start awarding points until we have a Final Four, but we can take a look at we’re all faring in general — and how many of us are screwed by the collapse of the upper seeds in the East and South regions (thanks for nothing, Virginia and Iowa State).

All four picks remain (Yinz are sittin’ pretty):

  • Father Spoon
  • Bluzdude
  • Calipanthergrl
  • Saylor

Three teams left, plus intact title games and champions (Definitely still alive):

  • Uncle Crappy
  • AAA
  • Curl Girl Michelle
  • SportsChump
  • Jaci Dean
  • Burgh Baby
  • Kewyson
  • PghRugbyRef
  • Tom Bickert
  • Abby
  • OTimemore
  • Scooter

Three teams plus your champions remain (Not time to panic):

  • Work Kelly
  • Starts with Dish
  • Jim H.
  • Joe
  • Michael Fulk
  • Jenny Lee
  • Neilson
  • Jason Cercone
  • Jenn Strang
  • Birdshit

Both title-game teams plus champion remain (Probably not a winner, but not a loser either):

  • Ethel
  • Adam

animalhousebelushi

It’s hard to know for sure, but the folks that remain are in danger of receiving the dreaded Blutarsky Award.

Two teams plus pick for champion:

  • Fred
  • Dana
  • Casey
  • Hoyle
  • Matt
  • Enzo82

Two teams left, but no title game participants:

  • Hellohahanarf
  • AJ
  • Juan

The team you picked to win it all is all that’s left:

  • Daria

The games get started again in a little while. Good luck, yinz guys.

fourteen years.

baby milesThis photograph was enough to convince Mrs. Crappy and me to drive from Butler to the Humane Society shelter in Indiana County on Thanksgiving weekend in 2000, with the notion that we’d have a cat in our home for the first time since Cash died a year before. And as it turned out, that one tiny picture turned out to be a perfect representation of the personality of Miles, the cat who would join us for the next 14 years.

IMG_0798

This photograph was taken 14 years and four months later, Thursday night, specifically. Miles is as annoyed as he looks; he was never a fan of having a camera or an iPhone pointed at him, and I was interrupting one of his favorite games: tapping at the ice cubes I had just placed in his water dish.

box ears

Most of you already know that I took Miles to the vet the following morning and had him put to sleep. That’s such a difficult decision, but it was much harder to watch and understand how quickly he was declining. It was the right time — navigating the stairs in our house was painful enough for him that he stopped trying, for example — and I’m grateful that we were in a position to end the pain he was feeling.

standontable

Gratitude is the overarching theme for this post, for sure. The two businesses we dealt with on Friday — Penn Animal Hospital and OakCrest Pet Crematorium — were both professional and efficient while being sensitive to what we were experiencing. Even better: both places have followed up with sympathy cards. When the time comes again — and it will — we will go back to both.

foot

You guys. We’ve heard from hundreds of you — literally — starting on Friday. We’ve received cards. One friend made a donation in Miles’ name to Animal Friends. We are lucky to have friends and family like you.

nanner

And then there’s this guy. We shared his life for 14 years. We gave him food and shelter. We scratched his tummy, pretty much on demand. And as he got older, we did our best to accommodate his increasingly creaky body.

miles chair

Even with all that, he gave us much, much more. And I’m grateful for every minute.

taucnffc (btybb) tipoff.

Another year, more happy Dayton people.

Another year, more happy Dayton people.

On or about this date every March I post what is inevitably the longest post of the year. And that is this one: the one where we go through each and every entry in the Tenth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought to you by Bocktown).

(Except for the ones that I miss. But we’ll get to that in a little bit.)

So. Let’s start with me:

Generally, I don’t need no stinkin’ Badgers, but in this case, I think the B1G champs are one of a select few that has a reasonable shot at beating Kentucky. Thusly:

Wisconsin beats Kentucky, Gonzaga beats Virginia. And Wisky downs the Dogs in the final, 68-65.

My immediate family members are sitting out TAUCNFFC, but Fred and Ethel are like family, so they’re up next.

Ethel:

Butler v. UNC, Louisville v. Iowa State

Final: UNC v. Louisville

Winner: UNC

Total points: 137

(Banking on UNC winning it all in honor/memory of Dean Smith)

Fred:

Final Four: UK v. Arizona, UVA v. Iowa St.

Final: Arizona v. UVA

Winner: Arizona

Total Points: 96

And now, the rest of yinz guys, in no particular order.

Hellohahanarf (NOTE: BECKY’S ENTRY HAS BEEN CORRECTED BECAUSE UNCLE CRAPPY CAN’T READ):

Kentucky beats Arizona, Iowa State beats Northern Iowa, and the Cyclones beat Kentucky in the final; tiebreaker is 142.

Dana Bee:

ok, let’s do this

Final Four:
Kentucky
Arizona
Villanova
Iowa State

Showdown:
Villanova
Arizona

Winner:
Arizona

Tiebreaker: 143

Adam:

Final Four: Butler vs. Wisconsin, Michigan State vs. Gonzaga
Championship game: Wisconsin vs. Gonzaga
Champion: Wisconsin
Tiebreaker: 123 (64-59)

AAA:

Final four: Kentucky, Duke, Arkansas and Louisville. Final two? Kentucky and Louisville. Winner KY. Points? 134.

Father Spoon:

Final Four – Kentucky, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Robert Morr… I mean Duke
Championship Game – Kentucky vs Duke
Champion – Kentucky
Tie Breaker – 132

While I still have a broken heart over Ashley Judd not taking me up on my offer to stay at my place for the NIT a few years back, I still have to pull for her team.

Work Kelly:

Wisconsin beats Notre Dame, Iowa State beats Louisville.

Wisconsin beats Iowa State, 72-65.

Starts with Dish:

Final Four: Arizona over Kentucky, Virginia over Utah
Championship: Arizona over Virginia
Tiebreaker: 121

The traditional annual Duke upset will be Utah over Duke, with America united in support for a thrilling Utah squad defending America’s honor against those evil blue devils. U-S-A!!!

CFenton23:

FINAL FOUR:
Kentucky (Midwest)
Arizona (West)
Virginia (East)
Iowa State (South)

FINALS
Kentucky over Virginia
139 Total Score

Bonus upset pick for everyone: #14 Eastern Washington over #4 Georgetown and #14 Georgia State over #4 Baylor

Curl Girl Michelle:

Final Four: Kentucky, Arizona, Villanova, Duke

Finals: Kentucky vs. Duke

Winner: Kentucky

Tiebreaker: 132

Chris Humpherys, AKA SportsChump:

Kentucky over Arizona, Duke over Virginia, Kentucky over the Dukies. Combined final score in the big game = 149

Newcomer Jim Hollenbeck (welcome!), who should know that $50 would get him a lot of excellent food at Bocktown even without a single beer (but the choice is his, of course).

OK Unc. Here some picks as good as a teacher’s key…
Final Four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Villanova, Duke
Semi: Kentucky vs Villanova
Wiener: Kentucky
I’m a recovering alcoholic… So I won’t be going to Bocktown…send me a PB&J sandwich instead.

Fellow former Ohioan Bluzdude:

Here’s my buzzer-beater…
Final Four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Louisville, Duke
Semi: Kentucky , Duke
Winner Kentucky
game = 124

Fellow Pittsburgh Buckeye Jaci Dean:

Here’s mine:
Final four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Villanova, Duke
Finals: Kentucky, Duke
Champ: Kentucky
Score: 145

Joe Cernelli:

Final Four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Virginia, Gonzaga
Championship Game: Kentucky, Virginia
Champion: Kentucky
Tiebreaker: 125

Michael Fulk:

Final Four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Virginia, Gonzaga
Championship Game: Kentucky, Virginia
Champion: Kentucky
Tiebreaker: 125

Jenny Lee:

Final Four: Kentucky vs. Wisconsin; Duke vs. Villanova

Championship game: Wisconsin vs. Villanova

Champion: Wisconsin

Tiebreaker: 147

Hoyle13:

Kentucky
Arizona
Virginia
Iowa St.

Kentucky
Iowa St

Kentucky

Tiebreaker: 130 points

Burghbaby:

Final Four: Kentucky vs Arizona, Villanova vs. Gonzaga
Then it’s Kentucky vs Gonzaga
Champs: Kentucky
Tiebreaker: 136

Matt Noonan, whose East Coast, anti-college-athletics bias is showing:

Final Four: Kentucky vs. Arizona, Iowa State vs. Villanova
Championship game: Kentucky vs. Iowa State
Champion: Kentucky
Tiebreaker: 142

A team of NBA prospects beats a team with an NBA style offense to prove the uselessness of the college basketball.

Kewyson!

short on time – no commentary –
Kentucky / Wisconsin w the Badgers prevailing
Duke / Villanova w the Blue Devils winning
Duke over Wisconsin 162

A confident Tom Bickert:

I’m going to go with Kentucky vs. Arizona (sort of Yinzer coaching competition) on the left side of the bracket, and Villanova vs. Gonzanga on the right side (because Gonzanga is the only school I see in the tourney with a Z in the name.) From there, I look for Kentucky to take on Gonzanga in the finals. Kentucky will win with a combined final score of 141. I think that covers everything. Let me know when I can pick up the gift card.

PghRugbyRef:

So I had a bracket all set and then you post the link to fivethirtyeight and I fell down that rabbit hole. At least I was at home and didn’t waste any company time. (And I didn’t change my original choices)

Final Four: Maryland, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Gonzaga

Final: Wisconsin, Gonzaga

Champ: Gonzaga, 176 points.

Thanks again to you and Bocktown!

Calipanthergrl:

this is the first I’ve reviewed a bracket and I gave it 2 min of consideration, but here we go: KY, AZ, OK and Gonzaga. AZ vs OK in final. AZ wins. 122 final combined.

I think Abby has created a new verb:

ok, I’m gonna sports now: Indiana, N Carolina, Oklahoma, Gonzaga … OK over NC. 73-64.

AJ:

Kansas, Duke, UVA, Baylor. Kansas and UVA championship. UVA champion. 135 tiebreaker.

Enzo82:

I need in on this. Kentucky, Arizona, N Iowa, Iowa St. Kentucky, Iowa St. Kentucky. 127

Neilson:

UK, WIS, VILL, DUKE
UK, VILL
UK
131

Jason Cercone:

UK, Wisc, VA, Gonzaga / UK, VA / UK. 151. Chalk me up on the big board, Mr. Costanza!

Otimemore:

Kentucky Ariz Okla Iowa St.
Kentucky Okla
Kentucky
127

Daria:

Butler/Baylor/Villanova/Duke, Duke over Butler 78-77

Saylor:

Figured i’ll throw my hat in the TAUCNFFC ring. Kentucky, Arizona, Louisville, Gonzaga. Kentucky over Louisville 89-84

Carla, whose picks might possibly include an unwritten upset of Dook by Robert Morris:

I’m in.

Kentucky-Arizona, Virginia-Iowa State
Kentucky-Iowa State
Kentucky
132

Scooter:

Let’s go chalk….

Kentucky v. Wisconsin, UVA-Duke

Kentucky-Duke

Kentucky

145

Jenn Strang:

Final Four: Wisconsin vs. Kentucky, Gonzaga e vs. Virginia

Championship game: Kentucky vs. Virginia

Champion: Kentucky

Tiebreaker: 131

Will, aka Lunchbox, aka Birdshit:

Final Four: Kentucky vs. Arkansas and Michigan St vs Gonzaga
Championship game: Arkansas vs Gonzaga
Champion: Gonzaga
Tiebreaker: 107

This information is based on almost nothing aside from the fact I like the name Gonzaga. I had the cast of Mamas Family in the Final Four before I realized what basketball was.
I CAME TO PLAY.

And as we always do, we close with Juan, oh he of very little basketball knowledge. I was able to track down the picks of Phil’s Mom this year … and they don’t completely suck:

Providence beats Gonzaga, Xavier beats Butler, and Providence beats Xavier in the final.

(No, there’s no tie-breaker. Juan will lose big or win big, and no one else will be close in either case.)

And that’s everyone’s picks, yinz guys. Standard caveat: I almost always overlook someone’s picks in the rush to get this posted; if you have suffered this indignity, let me know and I’ll correct the problem right away.

Thanks to Chris and Bocktown for their participation once again – it’s always nice to be able to offer fabulous prizes that are actually fabulous. And most of all, thanks to you guys, for entering, for reading and for enabling me to continue this thing (AUCNFFC) for 10 years and this other thing (Uncle Crappy the blog) for even longer. Good luck to all – especially me.

twenty four.

24-Complete-Series-Box-Art

That’s about how many hours you have left to enter the Tenth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought to you by Bocktown).

I’m starting to see a trickle of entries, but when compared with this point in past years, we’re looking at a pretty sparse field. I mean, someone’s going to win a $50 Bocktown gift card — it might as well be you.

(Or Mrs. Crappy. That would be OK too.)

Here’s the standard summary: It’s free. It’s easy. And there’s $50 in food and drink for the winner. You’ll find all the rules right here.

No, Kiefer Sutherland won’t hunt you down if you fail to enter. But fifty bucks buys a lot of beer cheese-and-bacon fries, boys and girls.

numbers don’t lie.

crumpled

I gather from the dearth of Tenth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought to you by Bocktown) entries that we’re having trouble coming up with the kind of quality picks that would warrant a $50 Bocktown gift card.

The pressure’s on. I get it. And I’m also here to help.

In one of my professional capacities, I spend a little bit of time each week checking out fivethirtyeight.com, the stats blog run by Nate Silver and his staff of fellow geniuses. Sure, when it comes down to it, these folks are simply calculating probabilities of everything from presidential politics to this year’s snowfall in Boston. But they do so with stunning levels of consistency and accuracy, so when they release a bracket that shows the probability of victory for each team in the tournament, it’s maybe worth taking a look at what they have to say about March Madness.

And once you’re done with your analysis, get your TAUCNFFC entry ready to go. Remember: It’s free, it’s easy and the winner gets a $50 Bocktown gift card.