Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bracket Challenge Update 3/21

Scroll down, or click here, if you missed my last post about asking Saratoga County supervisors to fill out a bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament. With the Sweet Sixteen set to tip off March 22, it's time for an update.

I thought it'd be a fun way to foster some friendly competition, but this undertaking is proving to be significantly more difficult than I anticipated.

Keeping track of a dozen brackets is challenging in itself, but it's even more challenging when the brackets just aren't filled out properly. I'll give you some examples.

One supervisor said the winner of the Round of 64 UNLV/Colorado game would be Baylor, which played South Darkota in the first round. That same supervisor picked South Dakota over Baylor, but then marked Baylor as beating South Dakota to advance into the Round of 32.

Another supervisor left some of his first round choices blank. One's Final Four contains three teams. Two picked National Championship match-ups that were impossible, as the teams that they picked for the championship game were on the same side of the bracket.

The most egregious error was a supervisor circling the names of the teams in the first round, then filling out the bracket one round in advance. I basically had to guess what that supervisor was trying to do.

Malta Supervisor Paul Sausville admitted that he'd never filled out a bracket prior to last week, but I'm slowly beginning to think that he's not the only one.

Those errors aside, some of the supervisors are actually doing quite well. After the jump, the complete list of standings, plus some highlights from each of bracket.

Scoring: 1st Round = 1 point; 2nd Round = 2 points; Sweet 16 = 4 points; Elite Eight = 8 points; Final Four = 16 points; National Championship = 32 points.

Here we go:

1. Thomas N. Wood III, Saratoga
Score: 46 (First round 20, Second round 13)

Thirteen of Wood's teams are alive and well, but the horizon isn't looking good for the chairman of the board. His Final Four includes Duke, which has been eliminated, Ohio, which he may have confused with Ohio State, and Syracuse, of which I can't say anything critical. He didn't pick a fourth. That's going to hurt.

2. Michael Cignoli, The Saratogian
Score: 42 (22, 10)

Anyone who has ever been bowling with me knows this is my M.O. I start off well – really well, in this case, as no one correctly selected more first-round picks than me – but I quickly trail off. This round, for example, I've got Alabama over Michigan. All four of my Final Four teams – Kentucky, Marquette, Ohio State and Kansas – are alive and well, though. Knock on wood.

3. Art Johnson, Wilton
Score: 41 (21, 10)

Johnson is the chair of the County's Personnel Committee, which has got its work cut out for it this year as supervisors try and contain healthcare costs for county employees. Johnson got off to a good start and his prospects look even better. Seven of his Elite Eight teams (Duke) are still alive in the tournament. He's got Kentucky over North Carolina in the final.

T-4. Alan Grattidge, Charlton
Score: 39 (21, 9)

Grattidge, the Law and Finance Committee chairman, was a perfect 8-for-8 in the tournament's early going. He was the only supervisor to have that distinction, making him the odds-on early favorite. But he fell off quickly when two of his Final Four picks – Duke and Missouri – were eliminated in the first round.

T-4. Mary Ann Johnson, Day
Score: 39 (19, 10)

The most important element of Johnson's bracket is that she's got 10 teams still alive, including seven of her Elite Eight picks. It's entirely possible that Johnson & Johnson could finish 1-2 in this contest. Does anyone have baby shampoo?

6. Spencer Hellwig, County Administrator
Score: 38 (20, 9)

Hellwig has a very likely title match in Kentucky and Kansas, but his other two Final Four teams have been eliminated. With Florida State and Missouri out of the equation, he's going to need some help. A lot of supervisors picked Syracuse to go far, but Hellwig had the Orange losing to Kansas State. That obviously didn't happen, but the quicker Syracuse loses, the better Hellwig does.

7. Jack Lawler, Waterford
Score: 37 (17, 10)

Lawler, who is also the Chairman of the Saratoga County Water Authority, picked UCONN to win the tournament. With the Huskies bowing out in the first round, have his chances of winning washed away? Not necessarily. His other three Final Four teams – Louisville, Kansas and Wisconsin – give the chairman a chance at redemption.

8. Phil Barrett, Clifton Park
Score: 36 (20, 8)

Barrett is winning the Battle of Clifton Park, but you have to wonder how long that might continue with his national champion, Duke, exiting in the first round. Michigan State, UNC, and the also-eliminated Florida round out Barrett's Final Four.

9. Anita Daly, Clifton Park
Score: 34 (16, 9)

With a championship pick of Kentucky over Syracuse, Daly, the county's Economic Development Chair, has the potential to make a comeback. But Sweet Sixteen picks of San Diego State over Kansas and BYU over Missouri are hindering more than helping.

T-10. Matthew Veitch, Saratoga Springs
Score: 31 (19, 6)

Veitch got off to a very good start, then trailed off very quickly. Only six of the Technology Committee chairman's Sweet Sixteen teams are still alive and he's got three of those – Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State – losing this round. He's going to need Syracuse, North Carolina and Marquette to carry his bracket.

T-10. Jean Raymond, Edinburg
Score: 31 (19, 6)

Raymond is one of three supervisors who have seen their national championship picks eliminated. She went with Texas, who got bounced in the first round. She had an otherwise stellar first round, correcly selecting 19 of the 32 winners. But with her other Final Four picks including Alabama, Duke and Florida, things aren't looking good.

12. Paul Sausville, Malta
Score: 27 (17, 5)

I can't say anything bad about Sausville, because he freely admitted he had never filled out a bracket before. He probably didn't know that a 16-seed has never beaten a 1-seed, which is why he picked Vermont over North Carolina and LIU Brooklyn over Michigan State. Kentucky, Syracuse and Kansas can still help him get out of the cellar.

How are your brackets doing? Leave a comment and let me know.

Until next time,

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