chump? not so much.

uva

After watching Texas Tech absolutely lock down Michigan State in Saturday’s semifinal, Sports Chump — if he had been following the possible outcomes of the Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub) — was probably sweating.

Mr. Chump picked a high score in the final, so if it came down to the tiebreaker, his pick was looking a little rough.

The Chump and Scooter From The Land of  Suburban Shooting Guards both finished with six points, on the strength of UVA making it to the title game. Scooter’s tiebreaker total was 136 points — a feasible guess as it turned out, given Tech’s defensive strength. Chump’s tiebreaker total was 164 points, which, as previously mentioned, would require more offense than Tech generally allows.

And here’s the interesting thing. At the end of regulation, the score was tied at 68 — or a combined total of 136 points.

Scooter? I’m sorry. You were so close.

But the 26 points scored in overtime gave this year’s TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) title to Sports Chump. I know Mr. Chump is named Chris, and that he lives in the Tampa, Florida, area — Jackets in seven, by the way — but we’ve never met in person. Mr. Chump, the choice is yours — if you’re going to be in Pittsburgh anytime soon, I’ll be happy to offer you tips on spending $50 at Piper’s Pub; if you have a local pub or brewery where fifty bucks might come in handy, I can PayPal you or send you a check — if that’s the case,
email me the pertinent details.

I wasn’t going to do AUCNFFC this year. But once again, it made the tournament more fun than it would be if I were just watching my office brackets go down in flames. Will I do it again next year? Uh. Maybe?

(Will I post anything on Uncle Crappy between now and then? C’mon, guys — let’s not get too crazy here.)

Regardless of what happens here in March 2020, I appreciate your participation, your support, and your lousy basketball picks — I mean, I almost won this thing myself.

Thanks, yinz.

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riding — and asking — again.

cobert

I shouldn’t be surprised that we’re here again.

“Here” is waiting to see whether the just announced intention by the current White House to kill the Affordable Care Act is going to pick up any steam. “Here” is wondering whether type II diabetes will be classified as a pre-existing condition somewhere down the line. “Here” questioning what I’d do if my insurance provider, suddenly unburdened by the regulations of Obamacare, would subject me to coverage limits.

And, ultimately, “here” is me on my bike later this year, riding in the Pittsburgh edition of the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure and raising money so all of the other “heres” won’t matter.

I’ve talked to you guys about this stuff before, when I did the same ride up near Butler two years ago. At that point, we were in the first year of the Trump presidency and the future of Obamacare was uncertain, to say the least.

That part calmed down a bit — until very recently, anyway — but those worries were replaced by new ones … like the cost of the drugs people with diabetes rely on to manage the disease and, you know, keep us alive.

Back then, I was using injections of Lantus — a brand of insulin — each day as the primary treatment for the disease. I’m now using daily shots of Victoza to do the same thing. It helps — my latest A1C reading was 6.5, which is close to half of what it was when I was diagnosed — but it comes at a cost.

I am so fortunate — for me, that cost is largely borne by my insurance provider. If you’re underinsured, or if you have no insurance at all, you could find yourself on the hook for the full price of a three-pen box of Victoza — and that, boys and girls, costs just under $1,000. And you’d need 12 of those boxes to get you through a full year. Plain old insulin is a bargain by comparison, at $400 per box or roughly $1,200 a year.

Add to that the potential for losing insurance if the ACA goes away. Or being told by your insurance company that your rates are going to double because of your pre-existing condition. Or that we’re going to give you a thousand bucks a year to manage your diabetes, but you’re responsible for everything else after that. If that happens, even people who have good insurance could be in trouble.

The solution is the same now as it is then: Let’s not wait to see what happens in Washington. Let’s get the American Diabetes Association the money it needs to fund research and find a cure. Follow this link to my Tour de Cure page, where I will dazzle you with even more facts and, not coincidentally, you can make a donation. I’m hoping to raise $1,000, and anything you can give — ANYTHING — will be a huge help.

TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) has tipped off.

ct-spt-ncaa-tournament-tom-izzo-yelling-michigan-state-20190322

The tournament has begun, and things are … intense. Right, coach?

I appreciate your patience while Mrs. Crappy and I took in a Jeff Tweedy show in Indianapolis earlier this week. Without further ado, let’s get into all of the entries for Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub). Note that you will see that some teams in our picks have already been eliminiated; on Monday, I’ll go through the list and assess where we all stand.

As is tradition we begin, as usual, with me:

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

And then, the rest of yinz guys, in no particular order. First up is noted Morgantown Democratic Socialist Joe:

Final Four: Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Kentucky

National Championship: Michigan State, Kentucky National

Champion: Kentucky Tiebreaker: 133

Faithful AUCNFFC participant Otimemore, who still occasionally lives in Pittsburgh:

Final Four
Duke vs Gonzaga; North Carolina vs Tennessee

Final
Duke vs UNC

Winner
Duke 75-68

First-timer (I think) Expatpghgirl:

Final 4 – Duke, Syracuse, Villanova, North Carolina

Championship Game – Duke, North Carolina

Champion – North Carolina (79-74).

OG AUCNFFC player AAA:

Duke – Gonzaga
Tennessee – North Carolina
Final – Duke & Tennessee
Winner Tennessee, 86-61

Here’s an old Twitter nickname — Dr. Scooter:

F4: Mich St/Nevada, Purdue/UNC

Title: Mich St/UNC

Champ: UNC 92-84

Kewyson‘s annual opus references my Globetrotters question:

Although with a lifetime record of 26,000+ wins to 6 losses, I didn’t even see the Globetrotters in the #16 play in games. So I will stay local to my abode (play the odds) – I have Duke playing Purdue (both Virginia and Tennessee will fall) and North Carolina playing M*ch#g!n.

In the final I have the 4th Battle of the Blues of the year – Duke vs. UNC. With Coby’s electrifying pink shoes helping UNC to beat Duke and Zion’s reinforced Nikes. UNC 84 / Duke 81.

Quick summary for your ease:
Duke vs. Purdue; M*ch#g!n vs. UNC
Duke vs. UNC; UNC 84, Duke 81

I know for a fact that Redbuppy would make good use of a $50 Piper’s Pub gift card:

Let’s go with Gonzaga and Villanova losing in the semifinals, and Duke beating Kentucky, 81-73, in the final.

I didn’t ask defending AUCNFFC champ Breaking Brews if he used all $50 at last year’s Imperial Breakfast. But he’s still alive, so I’m guessing he’s smarter than that.

Are you ready? Here’s how it’s done: Michigan State vs. FSU Tennessee vs. North Carolina. Michigan State vs. North Carolina. North Carolina. Screw Duke!!!!!!

Lorenzo:

Duke Michigan Virginia Kentucky. Duke Kentucky. Duke. 77-74.

The Sports Chump is back:

Duke over Michigan, Virginia over Houston.

Let’s go with Duke over Virginia by a score of 88-76 in the Final game.

Happy March, everyone!

Curl Girl Michelle has been doing this forever (and nearly won last year):

Final Four: LSU v Texas Tech, Virginia v. Kentucky

Championship game: LSU v Kentucky

Champion: Kentucky, 77-60

PghRugbyRef is channeling his inner Kewyson with his two-part entry. Here’s part one:

This post inspired me to start my predictions, as Sweet Georgia Brown (Teddy Riley Remix) played in the background I looked at the bracket and started selecting teams. As the song ended, I got to my Final Four:

Virginia Tech v Michigan
Wisconsin v Houston

And part two:

Ok, I have some time to work on this:

Michigan v Houston

Houston 133 total points

Thank you (and Piper’s Pub) for doing this again. I look forward to it every year.

HP from Lakewood, with the first-ever AUCNFFC photographic entry:

57486033587__b3c7346b-acdf-4d03-9e4a-cf71fc1c1737.jpg

Ethel, probably from her shiny new kitchen:

Final Four: Michigan State, Syracuse, Cincinnati, North Carolina
Final: Michigan State vs. North Carolina
Winner: North Carolina
Points: 122

Ohio State and Browns/Cavs/Tribe fan Kelsey:

I like . That said, I think the final 4 will be a battle of the mitten (UM vs MSU) and Wisconsin vs Kansas. I predict Sparty will beat Kansas 74-68!

Scooter from the Land of Suburban Shooting Guards:

Duke, the Rats from the North, UNC, UVA

Duke beats the Rats; UVA beats UNC

Duke 71, UVA 65

F Burris

(Editor’s note: Huh. I wonder what he means by that last thing?)

Sara Without An H:

Final Four
Duke vs Gonzaga; North Carolina vs Tennessee

Final
Gonzaga vs UNC

Winner
Gonzaga 82-79

Lunchbox Birdshit‘s basetball entry:

Duke/Gonzaga and Wisconsin/UNC

Gonzaga beats UNC, 88-85

Finally, we have Juan, oh he of little basektball knowledge. He is entered each and every year against his will (or, at least, without his approval); I couldn’t find picks from Phil’s Mom, so we’re going with the Penny-Flipping Method.

IMG_3565

And so we all understand my absolutely shameful handwriting:

LSU/Arizona State and Iowa/Georgia State

Arizona State beats Georgia State in the title game. I don’t think we’re going to worry about a tiebreaker.

And that’s what I have, boys and girls. 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. Hope you’ve enjoyed the games so far. And good luck to everyone. Especially me.

because i can’t say it any better.

The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same-sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Were that not so, ours would still be a racially segregated nation according to the now rightfully discarded doctrine of “separate but equal.” In the 60 years since (Brown v. Board of Education) was decided, “separate” has thankfully faded into history, and only “equal” remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.

We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history. An appropriate Order shall issue.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, May 20, 2014.