2002 pool highlights
This year, Duke was supposed to repeat, easily; Gonzaga was supposed to make it to the Final Four; Bobby Knight was supposed to show his coaching genius by taking Tech deep into the Tourney; and Blackie was supposed to get off the schneid. Didn't none of it happen. As it turns out, the best team in college basketball this year did win the NCAA Championship. It would have been nice to see Indiana win, but Maryland deserved it. Shells off to the Terps!
And how about a big Hoo-Rah for rookie hoopster J Grob who snatched victory from the jaws of Blackie's bitter defeat. With Maryland's victory, J Grob coasted to victory while hoopsters E Zanotto and A Walden went to the tie-breaker. However, like Davis Love III buckling under the pressure of a playoff hole, A Walden could not muster the game to beat out smoke jumpin' E Zanotto for second. Bringing up the rear but smiling all the way to the bank, W Krafft secured the unpole position early and never looked back, er forward. Finally, the September 30th Kansas City Royals vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays Game Award for Irrelevance goes to software guru M Simo who came closest to guessing the point total for the final game; M Simo picked 115 points, just one point off the actual total.
For the record:
2002 - 50 hoopsters/$500
1. J. Grob - Flagstaff, AZ (129 pts) $300
2. E. Zanotto - Flagstaff, AZ (120 pts) $125
3. A. Walden - Flagstaff, AZ (120 pts) $65
50. W. Krafft - Hollister, CA (26 pts) $10
Thanks a bunch hoopsters. The clowns at CJ Enterprises and CKI had a great time this year and hope to see y'all again next year. Until next time, remember these sacred truths about the Pool:
And then there were two. After Indiana bulldozed the left side of the bracket like Rick Majerus heading for the buffet line, only perennial leader-board denizen Martys and ABD but soon-to-be Ph.D. J Grob have a chance at holding aloft the fabled 64-ounce plastic tumbler that is the CJ Pool Cup. After TruthMaker had about 10 martinis to soothe his savage beast following the Oklahoma-Indiana game, he realized that this is exactly what the Pool should be every year--some hoopsters picked a team playing in the final game and could win it all if that team wins; some hoopsters picked neither team in the final but still have a chance to win because Fortuna is smiling warmly upon them.
Here's where they stand going into Monday night:
Maryland vs. Indiana, Indiana
On the other side of the coin we have Kelvin Sampson. A couple more high-profile chokes like the game on Saturday and Kelvin could be pushing Roy Williams for the Marty Schottenheimer Award for poor post-season coaching. Featuring one of the best defenses in the country and an incredibly athletic roster that matched up extremely well man-to-man with the smaller, slower, shallower Hoosiers, Sampson for some reason decided to tinker with froo-froo match-up zone defenses for 35 minutes of the 40-minute game. The result was confusion among his players and missed assignments that made stars out of bench players like Jeff Newton and George Leach. That is a playoff coaching choke. Stick with the system that got you there, don't play around with fancy gimmick schemes and plays in the Final Four! Sampson better watch out because the TruthMaker, who hails from the Oklahoma oil fields, has many friends on the OU Board of Regents. Don't be surprised if Sampson gets a Vote of Confidence from the OU Chancellor and starts extolling the virtues of the head coaching position at William and Mary.
In the second game, well, Roy Williams still can't get it done. It's hard to win a national championship, no doubt. It took Coach K, Jim Calhoun, Lute Olsen, and other great coaches several tries in the Final Four before they prevailed. But Roy, baby, you've had two or three teams in the last ten years that should have won titles. Something ain't working. On the other hand, Gary Williams has been inching ever closer to the title each year for about the past 15 years. Learning from past mistakes and experiences, G. Williams has returned better results every year, while R. Williams, well he just keeps returning every year.
OK, here we go, down the home stretch. This weekend, 11 more hoopsters were forced off the road to the Final Four and now lie upside down like upended beetles, wheels spinning futilely, in the sandy bottom of an ephemeral wash somewhere between Baker and Barstow. Meanwhile, others fly by, hell bent for first place and the international acclaim that comes with a CJ Pool title. In the Pool, as in life, Blackie's got the pedal to metal and is lookin' to do some serious distance on the rest of the field. For the third straight round, Blackie turned in the highest score for the round and has sole possession of first place. Holy Big Smokey Roadblock though Blackie, don't go countin' your rock-chalks yet--skulking about the grounds of the next highway rest area are some shady characters waiting for their chance to 'jack your cash.
Turns out that in addition to Blackie, J Shedwill, J Grob, TruthMaker, and the Martys also have a chance for the ultimate glory, and 10 hoopsters still have a shot at some money. After putting everybody's picks and scores into the CKI punch-card mainframe, we are projecting the following winners for the following scenarios:*
Kansas vs. Indiana, Kansas
Oh yeah, oohh-yeaah. Now this is what the Pool is all about. The smell of burning brackets permeates the air. Hoopsters lie broken and sobbing on their rumpus room floors. Twenty-five hoopsters return to the village empty-handed today, while the other twenty-five manage just four small minnows apiece. Twenty hoopsters have blood splashed across their brackets all the way to Atlanta, and many hoopsters are completely closed out in the South and West regions. Goliath is slain, the Minotaur is down, Douglas defeats Tyson--Duke is done.
While 20 hoopsters saw their pick to win it all go down today, hoopsters that picked Kansas, Maryland, and Oregon are still feeling good. Likewise fringe-pickin' freaks A Wong (UConn) and TruthMaker (Oklahoma) still have a decent chance. The rest of the field must hope that Kent St. and Southern Illinois can keep everyone else from getting any more points.
In today's action, CJ Pool Founder's Circle member Smitty pulled down four large for pulling Missou out of his . . . hat, and CJ Pool rookie P Krafft and CJ Pool veteran and soon to be groom to be L Velush cashed in some Golden Flashes for a four-point payoff.
See, with the pendulum of fate always swinging around, you can never relax. You dodge it this time, and it hits the hoopsters next to you, dragging them into the depths of Pool Moria like the evil tendrils of some basketball Balrog. But while you're high-fivin' yourself and grabbing your shorts for a breather, here it comes again and whaps you upside the head, vaporizing your pick to win it all, and two of your Final Four. That's the Pool hoopsters, that's the Madness. Yesterday, you were trying to handle the disappointment by throwing your picksheet away in an outwardly casual act of indifference, while today, after possibly running the table, you're rummaging through grapefruit rines and tuna cans trying to find your sheet and crawl back into this thing.
Many hoopsters saw their stock rise significantly in this round as the standings saw more movement than Krusty at the annual Northern Arizona Bran Festival. Nobody is sitting prettier than Blackie though. Blackie ends the round in sole possession of first place for the second round in a row. Blackie also had the highest score in the round for the second consectutive round. Several hoopsters got George and 'Ouisie Jefferson about it and went movin' on up the standings, including B Peterson (24th to 5th), Martys (29th to 7th), V Makam (38th to 11th), and P Krafft (43rd to 17th). Not a single hoopster has posted a true negative-split bracket to this point, however, V Makam (18-18-20) and the consistent J Fine (16-16-16) have come the closest. The high score for round 2 was 20 points and the low was 4.
Day 2 of round 1 saw W Krafft wrap up the first cash prize
the 2002 CJ Pool. Kraffty is going to walk away with a cool $10 for
this year's low score. Kraffty has a real shot at beating the all-time
CJ Pool low score of 33 if she can get Oregon to take a dive against
on Sunday. Interestingly enough, today also saw the first hoopster shut
out of the rest of the Pool. Pengillian K Kalmi cannot get
point in the Pool, but has too many points to drop behind Kraffty. I
Kraffty's motto of "Go big or don't go at all" paid off for her
this time. Nice work Kraffty.
OK, I'm going to say it--this pool needs some sizzle, right now. Yeah, you got your Kent State and your Missouri, but those are hardly major upsets. Numerous hoopsters picked both teams to make Molly Ringwald's party. Hoopsters who picked Duke and Oregon to win it all are still trying to pry open their butt cheeks after Notre Dame and Wake Forest almost, but didn't quite. I mean, if Duke goes down in the second round, we got ourselves a tournament. But no, Duke survives, Kansas crushes (thanks for showing up Stanford, collect your souvenir squirt bottle, your $50 per diem, and your "memories to last a lifetime" and exit stage right please. Oh yeah, while you're collecting your things, you might as well get your jock too--it's nailed to the floor, the same place it was all night), Arizona moves on, yadda-yadda. There's not even any good coach hair to make fun of (Denny, Billy T, Gene, come back, I'm sorry I roasted your hair last year, but now I see the light).
In the pool, hoopsters are still jockeying for position. Like a journeyman utility infielder who goes 5-13 in the opening series of the year and finds himself leading the league with a .400 average, many hoopsters can expect to move up or down many positions over the course of the weekend. Everybody is still in it, but Duke and Kansas pickers (right now, I'm really wishing Nose St. had made the tourney this year) need to start looking ahead and seeing if they can catch the other Duke and Kansas pickers in front of them. Many hoopsters currently at the bottom of the standings could very well be sitting pretty by the end of next weekend if their black stallions deliver. Cal, Cincinnati, and Arizona could give some currently downtrodden hoopster the last laugh come April.
In day 1 of round 2, several hoopsters shared the high score of 12. The low score for the day was 2.
On the surface, day 2 of round 2 didn't seem to have much to offer, but when the dust had settled, some hoopsters found themselves well positioned for the home stretch while other hoopsters found themselves in a pile of confetti that used to be their bracket. Those who picked Cal and Cincinnati to win it all can start waiting for next year right now. A surprising number of hoopsters knew of Huggy-bear's second round jinx and went with Jiffy Lube hair product spokesman Steve Lavin's UCLA team. In the entire CJ Pool realm, only one hoopster, flag-football phenom C Damon, correctly picked Southern Illinois into the sweet 16. Hoopster Blackie, a member of the CJ Pool Founder's Circle, recorded the round's best score with a blistering 24. Low score for the round was 6.
Some hoopsters have been mathematically eliminated and others are on life support. Everybody can still get points, so last place is still up for grabs. The next round of games will really separate the chaff from the wheat, so start looking ahead in your brackets--if you have at least six of your final eight and all of your final four teams still alive, you are in great shape. If you have more than 40 points, you're still in good shape. If you've got more than 40 points and still have your entire final four, well, I'll guess you'll still be paying attention come next weekend. TruthMaker finally made it out of the first weekend, so he's giving everybody the next three days off and inviting us up to help clear brush on his palacial estate in Gaviota. See you on Thursday!
Once again the Pool shows it's all about listening to your inner voice. This voice gives you confidence, intuition, and occasionally a nice 13-4 upset in the first round. Of course, just like Magnum shaking loose the cobwebs in a Honolulu back alley after his little voice failed to warn him about the two knuckle crushers waiting awkwardly for him behind the dumpster, the little voice can also leave ya' hanging.
Veteran hoopster M. Simo was dialed in on Day 1 with 14 wins after professing earlier in the week that she felt this could be her year. It's a long way to go, but it never hurts to put up a 14-spot on the first day. This year's opening day scores were much lower than last year's record numbers. Last year four hoopsters had perfect 16-16 opening frames. This year, flameouts by USC and Gonzaga tattooed almost everybody with at least two losses. Ah, but hoopsters V. Makam and W. Brown applied their knowledge of Greek mythology and computer virus transmission methods to the bracket, spied an Achilles' Heel, and correctly predicted that UNC-Wilmington would surprise overconfident USC. Down in the bare-knuckles West region, rookie hoopster A. Wong defied the common wisdom of the Pool and picked up some ground in the standings by picking Wyoming as one of the real upset gems of the day and probably the tournament. But somehow, some-freakin'-how, Pool rookie W. Krafft carried the day. Kraffty picked both UNC-Wilmington and Wyoming! We bow down in the presence of your clairvoyance Kraffty.
Day 2 was relatively uneventful in CJ Pool land. Florida took a powder, the good UCLA team showed up, and Brian Dennehy wasn't able to lead his team past the Salukies, but CJ Pool hoopsters are a shrewd bunch and several hoopsters took Creighton and Southern Illinois. Hoopster Jenn Bennett picked both of these 2nd-tier underdogs en route to a share of the first round lead with determined hoopster M. Simo.
So far, this pool is developing slowly. No pool-shattering upsets yet. Yeah sure, a couple of hoopsters took serious body blows when Gonzaga, Florida, and USC went down, but everybody is still alive. One hoopster, who shall remain nameless and is currently in a tie for third place, is already at the top of the list of candidates for the annual Glass Brick Award. This award, named after a common basketball shot among weekend duffers wherein the doughy, middle-aged hacker lofts a wobbly set-shot style chest pass towards the hoop from about 35 feet, and feeling that he might have caught the shot a little fat, hurriedly calls "Glass" just before the ball cleanly swishes through the net. Well, there's no way to walk away from this one--the shot counts but you've lot all your court juice. Anyway, this hoopster is already telling me that he is out of it, but nobody is out of this yet. However, hoopsters that picked Duke and Kansas but did poorly in the first round better turn it around quickly. At least 29 hoopsters picked either Duke or Kansas this year and that's a lot of hoopsters to leapfrog from 10 or 15 points back. In fact a lot of hoopsters are in the simplified position of needing to follow only one team. Hoopsters that picked Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Arizona, UConn, and even Maryland can put all their eggs in one basket and hope their team does well. If their team wins, likely they'll win or at least be in the money. Of course, the opposite can happen when a hoopster picks a team like Gonzaga to go all the way. You have better odds of getting the winner right if you pick Duke or Kansas, but your chances of winning the pool are as good or better if you go with the underdog. Plus, it's a lot more satisfying to strut around the water cooler after your NC State, Villanova, Kansas, or Arizona underdog pick wins the pool for you. Ah, sweet bragging rights.
*In the controversial 2000 Presidential election, CJ
using data generated by CKI, was the first to publically announce that,
"this election is going to be close." CKI is currently working on
different computing software applications including
and TruthMaker's International Coinage Exchanger©. Despite such an
impressive record, CJ Enterprises accepts no responsibility for the
of these numbers at this point in the Pool.