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.


cuse12068759-standardYinz guys have about two and a half hours to make your picks and get signed up for Twelve-point-five-th Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub).

Instructions and rules? They’re here.

Prizes? One big one — a $50 gift card to Piper’s Pub, in addition to a lifetime of bragging rights.

How do I enter? Use one of the 57,994,847 ways the internet provides to get in touch with me. Do it by noon today. Boom, you’re in.


one day. fifty bucks.


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.”

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.