ok. fine.

North Carolina v Duke

The traffic on Uncle Crappy always seems to bump up a bit about the middle of March, even when I haven’t posted anything here in … let’s see … JESUS CHRIST, NOT SINCE LAST YEAR’S TOURNAMENT ENDED.


I am no longer good at this blogging thing — mostly because that part of my brain is currently occupied by newsletters — but I think I can still run a pretty decent college basketball pool.

(Note: I’m going to be a terrible college basketball bettor this year — as in, even worse than usual — because my only real interest has been in making sure Zion Williamson is healthy when the Cavs draft him in June)

So. Here is your formal announcement of the Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub), or what we’ll refer to as TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP).

If you’ve done this before you know the drill. And if you haven’t (or if you need a refresher)? I present … the drill:

  • Once the tournament is set on Sunday, find yourself a copy of the bracket. If you can’t manage that, I should probably disqualify you from the TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) right now. Print it and fill it out, using whatever method you prefer.
  • After consulting your bracket, pick the four teams — one from each region — that you think will win the regional championships and travel to the Final Four in Minneapolis.
  • After consulting your bracket again, pick the two teams you think will win the national semi-final games on April 6.
  • Consult your bracket once more, and pick the team from your semi-finalists who will win the title game April 8.
  • How do I figure out who wins? You get two points for picking a correct Final Four team, four points for a correct semi-finalist and six points for a correct national championship pick. Assuming I can add correctly (and there is no guarantee of that, boys and girls), the entry with the highest point total is our winner.
  • Yes, there is a tie-breaker and, yes, as we’ve seen several times, tiebreakers are important. When you submit your pick, please also include your projected score for the championship game. If it’s necessary, the entry whose total score is closest to the real thing will be our winner. Note: We do NOT follow the Price Is Right rule; the closest total, over or under, wins.

Still confused? I’ll be back on Monday with examples, along with a series of nagging posts to make sure I get as many entries as possible. Until then, here are a couple of other things to keep in mind:

  • One thing to make sure you don’t do: Send me money to enter. As has always been the case, TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) is free.
  • In the first four years of the contest, we were competing for cheesy trinkets and I usually included a disclaimer that our FABULOUS PRIZES weren’t actually fabulous. And then Chris at Bocktown Beer and Grill blew that out of the water by putting up a gift card to the contest’s winner. As my beloved Bocktowns have since closed — one very big factor in the decision to take a year off — I am putting up a similarly Actually Fabulous Prize — a $50 gift card at Piper’s Pub, on Pittsburgh’s Historic South Side. And I make this promise without any actual knowledge if Piper’s actually offer gift cards. Whatever. We’ll figure it out.
  • Note: If you’re an out-of-town contestant, you may opt for the equivalent cash value of the gift card, which is, uh, approximately $50.
  • The tournament’s real games (the ones that used to be called the first-round games) get underway around 12:15 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, March 21; I’m not a huge stickler, but I’ll need to have your entries by noonish that day for you to be eligible (see the Melo Rule below).
  • How do you enter? Comment. Email. Twitter. DM. Text. Facebook. Carrier pigeon. Please feel free adding whatever commentary you wish regarding how you arrived at your picks; each entry will be listed in a comprehensive post that’ll show up at some point Thursday, not unlike this example from a year ago.

And finally, the fine-printy things:

The Juan Rule: As is tradition, Juan, oh he of very little basketball knowledge, will once again be entered against his will, using either the Phil’s Mom Method or, if Phil’s mom isn’t picking this year, the Penny-Flipping Method.

The Melo Rule: Should an unforeseen thing happen with a player, a coach or a booster that might, in your opinion, have an impact on your already-completed entry, fear not. You may tinker as much as you like until I close the entries at noon on the tournament’s opening day.

The Crappy Rule: If I were to come out on top of my own contest (and believe me, boys and girls, there is very little chance of that happening), the Piper’s gift card would be awarded to the next runner up (although I retain full bragging rights, which I would exercise almost daily until next year’s contest). Mrs. Crappy, should she remember to get her entry in on time, does her own work and is therefore eligible to win the Piper’s gift card (as long as she uses it to take me to dinner).

To summarize:

  • Free.
  • Easy.
  • Deadline is noon Thursday.
  • Fifty bucks at Piper’s for the winner.

Have any questions? Let me know. Otherwise, good luck to everyone — especially me Mrs. Crappy.

missions accomplished.

nova confetti

Mission No. 1: ABM, or anybody but (that team up north).

Mission No. 2: The successful completion of Twelve-point-five-th Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub).

As previously mentioned, TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) came down to two teams … and two contestants. If Kansas moved out of the Final Four and won the title, Curl Girl Michelle would have been pregaming July’s Styx show at Post-Gazette First Niagara KeyBank Star Lake with the help of a $50 gift card from our friends at Piper’s.

The other option? A Villanova win, and Jason at Breaking Brews gets to blow that entire fifty bucks at the Piper’s Imperial Breakfast in a couple weeks.

Thanks to my friends at Piper’s for making this thing possible after a year off. Thanks to Mrs. Crappy, who is always willing to give me the time to take care of my AUCNFFC duties. And especially, thanks to you guys for coming back after a hiatus and making this as much fun as it always has been.

And now? Let’s all weep for Jason’s liver as we watch One Shining Moment:

See yinz guys next year.

not terrible. but not great.


I will say this after calculating the first points in the Twelve-point-five-th Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub): It’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

I was expecting a figurative bloodbath. What I got instead is a majority of TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) contestants scoring at least a couple points. And I even got two contestants who correctly picked three of the four actual Final Four teams, a thing that I’m going to go ahead and call miraculous this year.

Oh. And there are a few who are ready to receive this year’s first awards. Including me.

But let’s get to the points first.

If you’re on this list, I have good news and bad news. The good news? You scored two points, a remarkable achievement this season. The bad news? You didn’t pick your correct Final Four team to advance, so you’re done.

  • Sports Chump
  • Slappy White
  • Kewyson
  • Dish
  • Clumberkid
  • The Coochie Doctor
  • Matlock
  • AJ
  • Gina and her dog
  • Scooter
  • President Obama

This one-person list is for those who correctly picked two Final Four teams but had them both losing in the semis. And that one person is:

  • Lorenzo

Next up — contestants who picked just one Final Four team correctly, but can earn another four points in the semis. You’re not going to win, but you should be proud of your effort:

  • Redbuppy
  • Daria
  • Pghrugbyref
  • Calipanthergrl

And then we have contestants who picked just one Final Four team correctly, but can earn another six points if that team wins the title, as they have predicted. An exception effort, but this group can’t catch up with the leaders, even if their points are maxed out.

  • Otimemore
  • Carla
  • JD

One more one-person list, for the guy who picked two Final Four teams but can get just four more points:

  • Father Spoon

And here’s where it gets interesting. This group picked two Final Four teams correctly, and their picks to win the title are both alive. The bad news: their respective championship picks match those who still have more points, meaning even winning out isn’t going to get them caught up.

  • Pghrugbyangel
  • Yay Toast

And then there are two more. These guys are already winners in my book, because picking three of the Final Four teams this year qualifies you as a freaking college basketball savant. And if either Kansas or Villanova wins, I’m pretty sure one of these two will be your TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) champion.

  • Curl Girl Michelle, who picked Kansas
  • Breaking Brews, who picked Villanova

And if Michigan or Loyola wins? Good lord, I have no idea. We’ll find out this weekend.

That accounts for all of our distinguished TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) contestants. And, of course, we’re left with the not-so-distinguished TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) contestants, those whose futility was so magnificent that they deserve awards all their own. Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present this year’s Blutarsky Award Winners:

  • Uncle Crappy
  • Momsbrain
  • Susan
  • HP
  • Diane the Beer Lady
  • Juan

For those of you who are still alive, get ready for a crazy weekend ahead. And for those who are not, thank you for playing — I hope, as always, you got your money’s worth.

that’s not good.


It is as much of an AUCNFFC tradition as the long-ass entries post or the Blutarskys — the post-first weekend post where I lament how terrible our brackets are looking.

And that’s where Twelve-point-five-th Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub) is special.

As in especially bad.

We’ve already noted the historic 16-over-1 upset from Friday night, but honestly, the upsets never really let up. UNC? Gone. Arizona? Gone. Michigan State? Gone. Xavier? Gone.

Remember, TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) contestants don’t start getting points until teams start making the Final Four. Even so, we can still get a pretty good sense of who’s doing OK and who is struggling (a whoooooole bunch of us). Here’s a look, using categories we’ve used in the past:

Holy crap: All. Four. Teams. In. (Team Statistical Anomaly)

  • Beer lady Diane

Title game, champion and third team in (Big point totals could still be in the future)

  • Uh, yeah, no

Three teams and champion still in (They didn’t pick the title game correctly, but could still rack up some big points)

  • Curl Girl Michelle
  • Breaking Brews
  • Matlock

Three teams in, champion out (If things go to hell, could still score enough to win)

  • Sports Chump

Title game and champion in (Gotta be perfect to have a chance)

  • Otimemore
  • PghRugbyRef

Two teams and champion in (Not ruling them out, but it’s looking tough)

  • Redbuppy
  • PghrugbyrefTwo Final Four teams, one in title game, champ
  • Otimeore
  • Susan
  • AAA
  • YayToast
  • Coochie Doctor
  • AJ

One in Final Four, one in title game, and the champ

  • Carla
  • HP
  • JD

The remaining entries have lost teams ranging from their champion pick to nearly everyone … otherwise known as our 2018 Blutarsky nominees. Listed in order of increasing futility, as in from almost sort of respectible to, uh, not at all. Thank you for playing.

  • Kewyson
  • Daria
  • Clumberkid
  • Father Spoon
  • Calipanthergrl
  • Lorenzo
  • Dish
  • Gina and her dog
  • President Obama
  • Uncle Crappy
  • Momsbrain
  • Scooter
  • Juan (and Phil’s mom)

Good luck this weekend, everyone. We’ll be back next week with points and probably quite a few Blutarskys.

well, then.


Sixteen of your Twelve-point-five-th Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub) contestants had them in the final four.

Seven of us — including yours truly — picked them to win the whole thing.

No, I’m not talking about the UMBC Retrievers — no one had those guys making the Final Four. I’m talking about Virgina, which is now the only No. 1 seed in the history of the men’s tournament to lose to a No. 16.

I mean, it was fun to watch … and then we all remembered what it would do to our brackets.


I guess it’s not too early to start thinking about Blutarsky candidates, huh?



Here we go — our nearly annual rundown of your entries in this year’s hoops contest: the Twelve-point-five-th Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub).

As is tradition, we begin with my entry:

Virginia vs. Xavier / West Virginia vs. Michigan State

Virginia vs. Michigan State

The best team of the year wins the title: Virgina, 77-71

Otimeore has higher hopes for Ohio State than I do:

Villanova, Clemson , Virginia Ohio St

Nova, OSU



Sports Chump:

Virginia, Gonzaga, Villanova, Duke
Virginia over Duke in the final game by a score of 74-64

Slappy White, whom you may also know as Fred:

Bar-racket in the year of our unix 1514764800 – 1546300799
125 and 2/3

Momsbrain, whom you may also know as Ethel:

Ohio State, Cincinnati, Purdue, Michigan State


Champion: Michigan State

Score 141

I get the sense that Kewyson isn’t really trying:

In honor of 3/14; I also computed an irrational pick, using the first 36 digits of Pi.

Georgia State v. Houston
St. Bonaventure v. TCU

Houston v. St. Bonaventure, with Houseton winning.

Score: 88

If this doesn’t Blutarsky, I’d be shocked

Or wait — maybe he is (Clarification: I’m using this one as his official entry):

Arizona (Wildcats) v. UNC (Tar Heels – Rameses)
Villanova (Wildcats) v. Doooke (Blue Devils)

Animals with horns always beat feline opponents.

UNC v. Doooke; with UNC repeating, because that’s the way it should be down here in Carolina (as a neighbor told me, he’s lived his whole live in NC, except for the 3 years he went to Duke Law).

Total score – 151 – bc that is a very flammable rum

My friend Susan who I finally met in person last year:

Cincy, UNC, Purdue, Duke
UNC, Purdue

Guess which state Lorenzo comes from:

Virginia Michigan / Villanova Michigan St.

Virginia Michigan St.

Virginia 71-65.

Since he doesn’t have a Pittsburgh team to cheer for, Redbuppy went in an entirely different direction:

Kentucky over Xavier. Villanova over TCU. Kentucky over Villanova, 73-68.

Daria, all the way from Boston:

Virginia/NC, Villanova/Duke -> Virginia/Villanova -> Virginia 78-76

Pghrugbyref, who speaks for all of us:

Thank you Mindy!

Final Four: Arizona Gonzaga Villanova Oklahoma

Final: Villanova Gonzaga

Champ: Gonzaga Total score: 146

And Pghrugbyangel, whom you may also know as AAA:

Tennessee vs North Carolina / Villanova vs Kansas

Tennessee vs Kansas

Kansas, 88-72

Carla, whose MTSU Blue Raiders kinda got jobbed:

OK, here goes nothing …

Virginia/UNC, Villanova/Michigan St.


Villanova, 151

HP on the North Shore (the one in Ohio):

I have just enough knowledge of college b-ball to be seriously…….well, not much of a threat. However, here are my picks:

TN vs Texas A&M
SF Austin vs Duke

TN vs Duke

Duke, Final Score: 76-64

My only hope is that I can beat Juan, oh he of even less basketball knowledge.

Curl Girl Michelle:

Final Four: Virginia vs Michigan; Villanova vs Kansas

Championship game: Virginia vs Kansas

Champion: Kansas 77-68

Thank you so much for bringing this back!!!!

YAY for Yay Toast:

Final Four: Arizona vs. Xavier, Villanova vs. Kansas
Championship: Arizona and Villanova
Champion: Villanova 72-69

Every Yay Toast needs a Dish:

Glad to see you’re doing this again, Mike! I think I’ve only
successfully picked 1 Final Four team per year, maybe this is the year
I turn it around.

Cincinnati over Gonzaga, Michigan State over Villanova.

Cincinnati over Michigan State, 67-61.

Clumberkid, perhaps our youngest contestant ever, who was only partially influenced by his mom:



Virginia 75-69

(As you can see, my efforts to brainwash the child have been only partially successful.)

My brother in Booze Media, Breaking Brews:

Basketball thing, aka predictions sure to go wrong:

FINAL FOUR – Nova, Kansas, Michigan, Virginia – Nova beats Kansas, Virginia beats Michigan in the semis.

Nova wins it all. Tie breaker 153

The Coochie Doctor:

UVA, Ohio State, Kansas, WVU

WVU beats UVA, 77-71

And Matlock (an actual WVU grad):

UVA, Xavier, Kansas, WVU

WVU beats Xavier 89-84

Previous AUCNFFC champ Father Spoon:

Final 4: Villanova, Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas Final: North Carolina vs Villanova Champion: North Carolina Score: 70-60

Previous (actually, defending, now that I think about it) AUCNFFC champ AJ:

Xavier, Miami FL, Purdue, Kansas

Purdue, Xavier. Purdue champion. 132 points.

Boiler up.

Gina, and her dog, one of several who have helped her with her picks:

OK. Made my picks, then let the dog decide the final four on.
Virginia, Gonzaga, Villanova, Auburn
Virginia, Auburn
Virgina 78-66

Scooter (From the Land of Caucasian Shooting Guards):

Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan State, Villanova

Virginia, Michigan State

Michigan State


Calipanthergrl, who doesn’t have Pitt or Louisville to cheer for this year:

Houston Virginia Kansas Texas Tech


UVA – 123 points

Diane the beer lady:

Kentucky vs Gonzaga
Texas Tech vs Duke

Kentucky vs Duke

Duke 90 over Kentucky 85

My former colleague JD:

Arizona v. Xavier, Nova vs. Mich St.; Arizona vs. Nova; Nova, 83-80

One special guest entry: It recently came to my attention — thanks to Slappy White up there — that Barack Obama is following Uncle Crappy on Twitter. Given our new friendship, I thought I’d invite him to participate in TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) … and that I’d use the picks he posted on Twitter Wednesday to make his entry. If he wins? I mean, how cool would it be to have sausage rolls and Scotch eggs at Piper’s with a former president?

Virginia vs. North Carolina / Villanova vs. Michigan State

Sparty beats the Hoos. We’ll see if we can get a tiebreaker out of him soon.

And finally, we come to Juan, oh he of very little basketball knowledge. Juan’s picks are courtesy of Phil’s Mom once again:

Nevada vs. Xavier / Arkansas vs. Auburn

Xavier beats Auburn.

I suspect we won’t need a tiebreaker for this one.

And there we go, folks. If I missed you or otherwise screwed up your entry — which, as we all know, is not just possible but probably likely, given how busy I am today — just let me know and I’ll get it fixed right away.

Thanks to each of you for participating. Thanks to our friends at Piper’s for playing along. And good luck to everyone … especially me.