points well taken.

basketball-photo-21A week ago, I was impressed with the participants in the Fourth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge — we were doing so well that I had visions of a massive pile of winners after the championship game, which is why I was begging for tie-breakers back then.

Since then? Teh suck has returned.

That’s not quite true. Most of us went with favorites, and most of us got burned when Pitt and Louisville departed early. I got the double whammy; Pitt screwed me up on one side of my bracket, and Memphis, my hunch pick to win the national title, was crushed by Missouri on the other.

The upside? We have a couple clear front-runners and a decent number of others who still have points to earn. Yer standings, along with a few notes:

1. My sister/Kewyson. Both have three points, and both have their title games and champions still in the tournament. As a reminder: both have a UConn/UNC final; E picked UConn and K picked Carolina to win it all.

2. Mystery Michelle/Carolina Boy. Two points each; title game and champ still available.

3. BurghBaby. Two points; champion is still playing.

4. Spoon/Yours Truly. We both still have points available, but our champions are out. Not much more to see here. Move along.

5. Ethel. Two points. Nowhere else to go.

6. Large/Carla. One point each, but their champions are still alive.

7. Adam/Gina and her dog. One point apiece, with a possibility for more.

8. Mrs. Crappy/Annoyed Angel/Papuga/Jack/Michael/Dahcheet/Fred/Nicole. One point. No more coming.

9. HP/Lokay/Mr. Burns/Juan. MISTER Blutarsky: Zero. Point. Zero.

I have NOT taken the time to figure out the possibilities for our front-runners; I am A) lazy and B) willing to be surprised. But there is a decent chance that we’ll know after Saturday’s semi-final games who will win the FAUCNFFC — and all its associated fabulous prizes.*

Good luck to all of yinz who still got a shot.

*Prizes not actually fabulous.



Ohio State couldn’t complete its run through the Big Ten tournament, but no matter — they’re ready to start the Big Dance, and that means it’s time for the Fourth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge.

The regulars know the drill, but I’m hopeful, as always, we’ll have some newcomers to join the fun; with them in mind, let’s take a brief stroll through the instructions, in handy list form:

  1. Find yourself a copy of the bracket. This shouldn’t be hard, but if you’re having trouble, CBS has a nice version here.
  2. Pick the four teams — one from each region — you think will win their regional championship and travel to the Final Four in Detroit.
  3. After consulting your bracket, pick the two teams you think will win the national semi-final games on April 4.
  4. Of those two two semi-final winners, pick who you think will win the championship game on April 6.
  5. Each correct pick gets a point; a correct pick in the title game gets three. The entry with the highest point total at the end is our winner.

Using this year’s bracket, here’s a completely hypothetical — and highly unlikely — example of what your entry might look like:

Final Four: Robert Morris vs. Cornell/Morgan St. vs. Binghamton
Championship: Cornell vs. Binghamton
Champion: Binghamton

As always, you’re encouraged to supplement your picks with whatever
explanations or smack you feel like tacking on. Get your picks to me by noon Thursday — when the first-round games begin — via email, comment or smoke signal, and I’ll have them all posted here Thursday afternoon for everyone to see.

The best parts? It’s free! And we’re competing for Fabulous Prizes,* hand-selected by Uncle Crappy!

And so we’re all clear on one thing — Juan, oh he of very little basketball knowledge or interest, will be entered against his will for the third year in a row, using the picks of Phil’s Mom (assuming we can find the picks of Phil’s Mom). If you don’t know about Phil’s Mom, here’s my standard explanation:

Now — what’s with this Phil’s Mom thing? Uncle Crappy’s infatuation with Monday Night Football color guy and occasional radio host Tony Kornheiser is well-documented, and the mother of Phil “The Showkiller” Ceppaglia, who served as the producer for Kornheiser’s radio show when it was on ESPN, has been a fixture during tournament time for several years. She’s usually relied upon to provide a little comic relief, because she knows absolutely nothing about basketball, but a few years ago, Phil’s Mom shocked the world by picking George Mason to win it all. GM nearly did, making it to the Final Four and making Phil’s Mom a folk hero.

If you have other questions, please feel free to get in touch. If not, get your entries to me by noon Thursday, and we’ll get the fun underway.

*Prizes not actually fabulous. Unless Uncle Crappy wins his own contest.