one day. fifty bucks.

March-2018-Calendar-Green

The one glaring omission on this lovely March 2018 calendar: Noon on Thursday, March 15.

What’s up at Noon on Thursday, March 15? That’s your deadline to submit an entry for TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) — Twelve-point-five-th Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub*).

A full rundown of the rules is here, but it’s basically just this: Tell me your Final Four, your championship game participants and the team that will take the title, along with a score for the championship game. It’s free to enter, and the winner gets a $50 gift card at Piper’s Pub. As as I type this, I have exactly three entries … so the odds of you winning look pretty good at the moment.

So, here’s what that calendar should actually look like:

March-2018-Calendar-Green edit

Get your entries in soon, boys and girls.

*Note the name change. Everyone say, “Thank you, Mindy.”

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by popular demand.

daum doom
I am already having nightmares about South Dakota State’s Mike Daum, who apparently shoots like Larry freaking Bird.

OK. Fine. We’ll do it.

After a one-year absence, I am pleased to welcome everyone back to what we’re going to call TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBM) — Twelve-point-five-th Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Me). And we’re back thanks to a quick vote on Twitter and Facebook today that overwhelmingly revealed that most of you still have no idea what AUCNFFC is.

In other words:

With the off year in 2017, it’s likely that we’re all rusty on the ins and outs of AUCNFFC. Here’s how it works:

  • Find yourself a copy of the bracket. If you can’t manage that, I should probably disqualify you from the TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBM) right now. But I’m feeling generous, so here’s a decent one. 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 Indy.
  • After consulting your bracket again, pick the two teams you think will win the national semi-final games on April 2.
  • Consult your bracket once more, and pick the team from your semi-finalists who will win the title game April 4
  • 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? Given that I’m writing this in a hurry I’m mostly copying and pasting I’m totally copying and pasting from past AUCNFFC intros, that’s entirely possible. 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: UMBC vs. Lipscomb, Radford vs. Iona

Championship game: UMBC vs Radford

Champion: UMBC, 82-74

Simple, right? As you begin to mull your picks, 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, TPFAUCNFFC (BTYBM) 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 Thursday; 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 2016.

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.

one down. one to go.

IMG_8746
That’s me. At Piper’s. I’m not hard to find.

A thing I should have done last night: Take a photo of the wings-and-beer spread we brought over to AJ’s house. It was … impressive. And delicious.

I don’t think four dozen wings will be part of the second AUCNFFC payoff Thursday night, but it could be fun regardless. As a reminder: Two seasons ago, winner Kewyson opted to donate his winnings to a night out for Pittsburgh AUCNFFC players … and we’re going to make good on that Thursday.

As I said before, if you’ve ever been an AUCNFFC contestant, show up at Piper’s Pub Thursday night — I’ll be there around 7:45 or 8 — and I’ll buy you a beer. I can’t imagine we’ll get there, but I’ll buy one beer per person until I hit $50 … or until it’s time for me to go home.

And if you want to stay for another, and maybe watch some basketball … or not … please do. I hope I see you there.

Hoops ain’t happening.

uksurrender

It would start sometime around now.

This week would normally be when the first posts about my annual college hoops contest — this year would have been the Twelfth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown) — would start showing up on the blog.

For several years now, that last part — the BTYBB part — has become pretty important to the annual shindig. The support of Chris Dilla, the owner of Bocktown, has make the AUCNFFC pools a lot more fun for me … and, I’m sure, for you guys too.

Bocktown closed earlier this year. I’m still bummed about it. And that, combined with an insanely busy schedule this spring, means I’m going to skip doing the pool this year.

My intention is to bring this back after a one-year break … but no promises, boys and girls. We’ll see how things are going next March.

The other thing I need to take care of: the winners of the past two AUCNFFCs. To last year’s winner, AJ: I’ll give you a $50 gift certificate to the bar/restaurant of your choice. Or I will buy $50 worth of wings and beer and Mrs. Crappy and I will show up for dinner at your place. You pick.

And as you may recall, Kewyson, our 2015 winner, graciously donated his $50 winnings to be shared communally by whatever AUCNFFC participants could make a date of our choosing. I’m going to make good on that promise on Thursday, March 23. If you’ve ever been an AUCNFFC contestant, come to Piper’s Pub that evening and I’ll buy the beers until my $50 tab runs out.

I hope to see you there. And I hope to see you back here for TwAUCNFFC (Brought To You By Something Else) next spring.

dagger.

villanova-unc

It took a last-second three-pointer for Villanova to get past the Tar Heels and win college basketball’s 2015-16 national championship.

AJ didn’t need any last second histrionics to win the Eleventh Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown). And he didn’t actually need anything in particular to happen in Monday’s championship game; he had already built an insurmountable lead. He was the only one in this year’s AUCNFFC who correctly picked the championship game participants, and by then, it didn’t matter that he picked UNC as the champ; his lead was already too much for anyone else to overcome.

And for that, AJ truly deserves his One Shining Moment (and his $50 Bocktown gift card, which I’ll pick up soon):

As for the rest of us? First — thank you so much for playing. And this year’s tournament seemed to be especially trying (although I seem to complain about it every season), so there’s no shame in a rough performance. You’ve got eleven months to study, boys and girls, and we’ll see you back here next March.

blutarskies, with distinction.

deflated

It seems that I write at least one post every year explaining just how ugly that season’s AUCNFFC (BTYBB) has turned out.

But this year, the Eleventh Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown) seems to be, uh, extra special.

How special? Only one of us — one, of the 28 who entered — has a chance of picking the correct title game. Twenty of us have earned all the points we’re going to earn.

And 12 of us — 42 percent, by the way — who make up this year’s class of Blutarsky Award winners.

Your standings, with current point totals and potential for additional points next weekend:

Four points (and many more):

  • AJ

Four points (plus four):

  • Curl Girl Michelle
  • Fred
  • The Wee Lad
  • Scooter
  • Noted Television Personality Jim Lokay

Two points (plus four):

  • Uncle Crappy
  • Juan

Four points (and done):

  • Joe Cernelli
  • Dana Bee
  • JD
  • The Bitch Desk
  • Susan

Two points (and done):

  • Mr. Burns
  • Starts With Dish
  • Carla

And now, the moment we all await each March: The naming (and shaming) of our Blutarsky Award Winners.

  • Jenn Strang
  • Sara
  • Enzo
  • Otimemore
  • HP
  • The Sports Chump
  • Ethel
  • Tedwards
  • PghRugbyRef
  • Father Spoon
  • Work Kelly
  • Birdshit

For those still alive, I’ll take a look at the possibilities for future scoring and post something later this week. And for the rest of you: thanks for playing. I hope you got your money’s worth.