not so big.

As you can probably gather from the impressive on-court surrender cobra, not even everyone’s favorite #BasketballSchool could save the Big Ten this March — and from top to bottom, that’s pretty pathetic.

The news isn’t as bad for this year’s players in the Fourteenth Kind Of Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub*) — in fact, this is one of the better performances in recent memory.

But. No. We’re not Blutarsky-free. We’ll get to that in a minute.

As you’re aware, now that we have a Final Four, we can begin awarding FKOAUCNFFC (BTYBPP*) points and taking a look at how we all stack up. There are, of course, more games to come and more points to be awarded, so these things — it’s not really accurate to call them “standings” — are my own weird mishmash of actual points and semi-wild conjecture. Do not fear — I’ll explain as we go.

Two and done — these players got one FF pick correct, but have no more points coming their way:

  • Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
  • Aunt Annoyed Angel
  • Calipanthergrl
  • Spoon
  • Kewyson

Two and some — two points, more possible, but pick for champion is out:

  • Mrs. Crappy
  • Lianne

Two and Oooo — two points, champ is still alive:

  • Strang
  • Socialist Joe
  • Red Buppy
  • Dudders
  • Dish

Four but no more — two correct FF picks but no more points to come:

  • Styx 4 Curl Girl

Four and a few more — four points with the possibility of more, but champ is eliminated:

  • Uncle Crappy
  • Carla

Four and much more — two correct picks and champ still in play:

  • Mister G

Four and even more — two FF picks, title game and champ still in play:

  • North Coast Matt
  • Sports Chump
  • JCK158
  • Scooter

You’d think those guys in the last two lists were in pretty good shape, right? Wrong. Because we have one last category.

Six and sitting pretty — that’s three correct FF picks, title game participants and champ in play:

  • Miss C
  • Chachi

So here are the possibilities. If you’re not listed in the last three categories, thank you very much for playing. If Gonzaga beats Baylor in the title game, it’ll come down to the tiebreakers from Miss C and Chachi — and there’s only a three-point difference in those. There is also this outlier — no one has Baylor winning the whole thing … except for Scooter. If that’s what happens, no one can catch him.

And if someone other than Gonzaga or Baylor wins the whole thing? Ugh. My math-averse brain doesn’t even want to deal with that at the moment.

Wait. Did I say there was only one more category left? That’s not quite correct.

As I stated earlier, I was pretty pleased with the performance of our FKOAUCNFFC (BTYBPP*) participants this time around. But, as always, there are few who manage to distinguish themselves in a different way, by amassing exactly zero points when the scoring begins.

Or, rather, zero point zero points.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Blutarsky Award winners for the Fourteenth Kind Of Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub*):

  • Cleveland Kelsey
  • Pgh Rugby Ref
  • MFulk
  • TraiLion

It’s a badge of honor, guys. Wear it proudly.


Sister Jean says it’s go time. And we never argue with Sister Jean.

Because you never argue with a Chicago nun.

But we don’t need to be afraid of Sister Jean — or of rogue yardsticks: There is championship basketball on our screens and the Fourteenth Kind Of Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub*) is underway.

As I do every year, this is the post where our picks are revealed and we all begin the painful public shame and humiliation of sports prognostication — and for one lucky contestant, never-ending glory and $50 for drinks and food at the legendary Piper’s Pub. So — who ya got?

As is tradition, we begin with Yours Truly:

Gonzaga and Michigan on one side of the bracket and Houston and … wait for it … Ohio State on the other. Title game is the Zags and my Buckeyes. And the champion? Gonzaga is this season’s Team Of Destiny — but the Buckeyes are winning the title. And they’ll win by a score of 74-68.

Next we have the contestant I’m rooting for: Mrs. Crappy:

Gonzaga vs. Alabama, Purdue vs. Illinois. Illinois beats the Zags for the championship, 82-79.

And now, the rest of yinz guys, pretty much in no particular order:

Strang, who isn’t rolling with her hometown Bonnies:

Final Four: Houston, Texas, Iowa, Ohio State. Championship Game: Houston vs. Texas Winner: Houston (80-77)

Morgantown Socialist Joe:

Final Four: Gonzaga, BYU, Arkansas, West Virginia National Championship: Gonzaga, West Virginia Winner: Gonzaga Tiebreaker: 136

Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl, Esq.:

My FKOAUCNFFC (BTYBPP*) picks as selected by pulling my sweet sixteen selections out of a hat: Final Four: Baylor v. WVU, Kansas v. Texas Semi-finals: Kansas v. WVU National Champion: WVU

Aunt Annoyed Angel, who’s been doing this for as long as I have:

Ok, here goes. Final 4: Gonzaga/Alabama, Ohio State/Tennessee. Final 2: Alabama v Ohio State. Winner: Alabama. 73-68I’m well aware that one side of my bracket is very family & personal preference influenced… I just couldn’t get past it no matter how I tried. 😂

And this is a first in the long and storied history of AUCNFFC: Entries from an entire family: AAA’s sister Lianne and the kids who bestowed upon AAA that first A: C and G Haviland.


Ok- here is my info- Final four- Oregon, Baylor, Alabama, Illinois Champ game: Illinois vs Baylor Champion: Illinois (75-68)

Miss C:

final four: Gonzaga, Baylor, Colorado, Houston. Champ game- Gonzaga vs Baylor. Champion- Gonzaga (83-79).

Mister G:

final four- Gonzaga, Baylor, LSU, TN. Champ game: TN vs Gonzaga. Champion- Gonazaga (87-82)

My question for AAA and Lianne: Do the kids have to take you guys out for dinner if one of them wins?

Next up: Cleveland Kelsey, who is as much of a homer as your Uncle Crappy:

FKOAUCNFFC (BTYBPP*)! Final Four: Ohio State, M!ch!g@n, Iowa, West Virginia. OSU/scUM in the championship. OSU wins 72-71

Red Buppy:

Gonzaga over Michigan. West Virginia over Villanova. Gonzaga 71, West Virginia 63. (If this looks like I haven’t paid any attention to college basketball this season, it’s because I haven’t.)

Kewyson, who apparently discovered brevity somewhere between 2019 and 2021:

With Covid rules in play, one never knows – but I stuck with the tried and true (and no Duke Blue) –
M*ch*gan / Iowa – with the Team up North prevailing
Illinois / Baylor – with Illinois coming through with the win
Final victor goes to Illinois – 87 – 83

Styx 4 Curl Girl, another contestant who’s been doing this for a very long time:

Final four: Gonzaga vs. Alabama, Ohio St. vs. Houston
Championship: Alabama vs. Ohio St.
Champion: Alabama
Tie Breaker: 78-72

Good luck everyone!

What does Chachi say? Chachi Says:

Gonzaga v Texas
Houston v Baylor

Gonzaga v Baylor

Gonzaga 86-79

No Cardinals and no Panthers? No problem for Calipanthergrl:

I have watched like 20 minutes of MCBB this entire season. But I’m in! Here are my entirely laughable picks: USC/Michigan & Syracuse/Purdue. Michigan/Purdue. Michigan (84-73)

My #CnCShow partner Carla knows college football. Does she know college hoops as well?

Gonzaga / Alabama Baylor / Illinois Gonzaga / Illinois Illinois wins 82-78

And, for the record, I have Ohio in the Sweet 16.

Hey, me too!

Next up is Dudders, the baddest woman in all of Pittsburgh:

I would like to join that basketball event you host each year! I like to randomly pick teams and not do any research. Final Four: Purdue, WVU, Gonzaga, Alabama. Final Two: Gonzaga and Purdue. Gonzaga❤️

She added in a subsequent message that her tiebreaker is 91-88.

My former colleague North Coast Matt:

Final Four:
Gonzaga, Alabama, Houston, Illinois
Gonzaga vs. Houston
total combined score: 157

Your defending AUCNFFC champ, the Sports Chump:

Against my better judgment, I’m going chalk. Give me all number one seeds in the Final Four.

Illinois, Gonzaga, Baylor and Michigan with Gonzaga beating Baylor in the final game 82-67.

But what do I know?

Pgh Rugby Ref has taken over Kewyson’s claim to the most-verbose contestant each year:

The day the brackets came out I completed one quickly, without any research or thought (other than no number 1s in the Final Four). After I looked at my selections, I figured there was no chance of winning (hell, I might even Blutarsky). All week I had the intention of putting in some effort for a real bracket (I’m sure you know about intentions and what road it paves). It’s a little more than an hour before deadline, and no extra work has gone into selections, so you get my original choices:
Virginia over Colorado
West Virginia over Arkansas
Final score total 124

A blast from the past: M Fulk:

Hey, why not?

Final Four: Kansas vs. Alabama, Purdue vs. West Virginia
Championship: Alabama vs. Purdue
Champion: Alabama
Tie Breaker: 80-85

Spoon, on behalf of his basketball-playing boys:

Kids picked this one. I’ll think about getting them Piper’s if we win.

Final Four: Gonzaga vs. Alabama, Ohio St. vs. Clemson
Championship: Alabama vs. Ohio St.
Champion: Ohio St.
Tie Breaker: 77-75

Susan, who did, in fact, get in just under the wire:

Hopefully getting in under the wire: Iowa, Michigan, Ohio St, Ilinois. Michigan/Ohio St. Michigan. 151. Please do not reject based on my winner.

Dish, who is an actual person and not a restaurant on the South Side:

Gonzaga over Alabama, Illinois over Arkansas. Gonzaga over Illinois, 83-77. I did at least 90 seconds of research for this!

My Penn State friends are partial to hockey and football, but TraiLion paid more attention to the Lions’ hoops season this year than she would probably admit. Her picks:

Ohio State over Illinois, Iowa over Michigan, Iowa over Ohio State (sorry). 112 points.

The lion’s spouse JCK158:

Gonzaga over FSU, Baylor over Illinois, Gonzaga over Baylor, 158.

It’s excellent when you guys provide me with your own nicknames. Right, Scooter (38 seconds from being defending champions)?

Gonzaga, Alabama, Baylor and Illinois
Gonzaga and Baylor
F the Mutant Twins

As to Scooter’s final comment: If you know, you know.

And finally, we have Juan, oh he of little basketball knowledge. He is entered each and every year against his will (or, at least, without his awareness); I couldn’t find picks from Phil’s Mom, so we’re going with the virtual version of the Penny-Flipping Method — ESPN’s random bracket generator. And while it’s not going to win him a damn thing, I’m going to be pulling for these picks anyway:

To be clear, this is my Bobcats vs. Texas Southern on one side and Purdue vs. Liberty on the other. And in what would be a championship matchup for the ages, Purdue will beat OU in the title game. And no, I’m not picking a tiebreaker. C’mon now.

And there you go, boys and girls. I have to say that I’m disappointed that I didn’t get any TikTok entries; that might be a thing we’ll work on for 2022. As is always the case, if I missed your entry, it’s nothing personal — I’m just an idiot. Let me know and I’ll add you to the list. Let’s all enjoy the hell out of the hoopage. And good luck to everyone. Especially me Mrs. Crappy.

let’s get started.

My Bobcats are dancing. My Buckeyes — who are at this moment erasing a 17-point deficit against Illinois in the B1G title game — will be dancing as well. I don’t know what will happen with that game, but I know this: Not too long after it’s over, we’re going get our first look at the NCAA tournament field.

And that, boys and girls, means I’ll be ready to accept your entries for the Fourteenth Kind Of Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub*).

But Uncle Crappy, you ask, I’m not totally clear on how FKOAUCNFFC (BTYBPP*) works, especially since you haven’t managed to hold these in consecutive years since like 2015.

OK, smartass. Here’s how it’s done.

Find yourself a copy of the bracket. If you can’t manage that, I should probably disqualify you from the FKOAUCNFFC (BTYBPP*) right now. Fill it out.

You don’t need to submit to me the entire thing; in fact, I’d rather you didn’t. What I do need is your picks for the Final Four, the championship game and the eventual champion. Here’s a purely hypothetical example of what an entry from this year’s bracket could look like (Note 1: This is NOT my entry. Note 2: These are among the lowest seeds in the tournament; if you want to make this your entry, feel free, but do so understanding the risk of being Blutarskied):

Final Four: Cleveland State vs. Appalachian State; Loyola-Chicago vs. Iona

Championship game: Cleveland State vs. Iona

Champion: Cleveland State (71-65)

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.

And 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.

And the usual reminders:

  • There is no entry fee.
  • I need your picks (via Twitter, FB, text, email or any other communication method available) by noon Friday.
  • We’re playing for a $50 gift card from Piper’s Pub (or, if you’re out of town, plain old fifty American dollars).
  • This is the easiest hoops pool you’ll enter all year.

My Buckeyes are making it a game. We’ll know the tournament field in about an hour from right now, And. Officially. FKOAUCNFFC (BTYBPP*) entries are open. I hope to hear from you soon.

one hour.

When the big hand AND the little hand are on 12, I need to have your entries for Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub) in hand.

As I said yesterday, our In Real Life activities will prevent me from posting our entries until tomorrow, so I’ll post my choices now, in the interest of transparency.

Sparty beats Florida State, and UNC beats Virginia. And in the title game, the Izzoheads beat Roy’s boys, 74-70.

So let’s hear from you, kids. Remember: free, easy and $50 in goodies at Piper’s Pub for the winner.

birthday surprise. also, meat.

In the midst of what was an internet-light day — it was, after all, Mrs. Crappy’s birthday, and we spent the whole day kicking around town, doing fun birthday stuff — we came across something kind of cool.

We had already finished a yoga class this morning, her first at the beautiful BYS Yoga studio on Carson Street. We had also finished a kickass breakfast at Waffles Incaffeinated down the street (where we watched noted Stiller DeAngelo Williams have breakfast with his daughter [we think]).


After changing clothes, we headed to Shadyside, where we found ourselves in need of a little coffee. And while checking our phones there, Mrs. Crappy noticed the tweet from Podcamp Pittsburgh:

blog o the week

That’s really cool, I thought. Also, I should probably write something, given that I’m the Podcamp Pittsburgh Blogger of the Week and I haven’t posted anything in eight days.

Like, say, this example: I was shooting for a beer show a few weeks back, at an event held at Wigle Whiskey for local bloggers. Seven or eight years ago, I would have known nearly everyone in the room, just because I was also a Pittsburgh blogger, and there weren’t that many of us; on this night, though, I didn’t recognize a single person who was there to blog about whiskey. And that’s a pretty cool thing when you think about how long we’ve been hearing about the death of blogging. It’s not going anywhere, boys and girls; in fact, it’s still growing.

But as I said before, today was Mrs. Crappy’s birthday, so I’m going to go ahead and do what I’ve always done — and, presumably, what has over the years earned me this honor: Here is the rest of our day.

There were presents:

She's wanted a chainsaw for years. And I am the greatest husband ever.
She’s wanted a chainsaw for years. And I am the greatest husband ever.

Tibetan turquoise setting and prayer box.
Tibetan turquoise setting and prayer box.

And there was food, in this case our first meal at Gaucho Parrilla Argentina.

Giant. Plates. Of meat.
Giant. Plates. Of meat.

We then returned home; I made a Manhattan and watched the Republican debate, while the birthday girl poured herself a beer and sat down with a book about cats and Taoism.

I may be blogger of the week. But Mrs. Crappy will always be smarter than me.