2003 pool highlights
Yes, it's true. Due to corporate downsizing and restructuring, and a generally soft economy, CJ's, in response to a corporate directive from the TruthMaker himself, was forced to eliminate its coverage of the Final Four round this year. The Board of Directors is currently holding an inquiry to see if there is any way they can restructure the TruthMaker's huge annual bonus package to apply some of that cash to corporate operations. We'll see.
As far as basketball and the Pool goes, we had a CJ's classic. It's always great when nobody picks the overall winner, because that means everybody has a chance. For example, FrankenKlein, kicked in the teeth on Day 1 and left for dead with the likes of Pearl Washington, Mark Macon, and Jay Bilas, made it all the way back to 15th place. The tournament belonged to CJ Pool rookies though as rooks Beck C and JoeLazy went 1-2 in the standings. Though the winning scores were some of the lowest in recent memory, the stellar play of the rookies serves as a great marketing tool for the Amalgamated Marcomm team. For some reason, first-timers always seem to do well in the CJ Pool, and you can be damned sure the Amalgamted PR wonks are already preparing their recruiting copy for next year's Poolies.
On the other side of the court, the TruthMaker went wire-to-wire in last place to capture his first Pullin' the Trailer title. Nice work TruthMaker, I'm sure you're very proud.
In the Hakeem-Ewing final, two coaches who've been sniffing around the big prize for years went head-to-head, meaning one those good old boys had to go home with the hardware. On the one hand, you've got Jim Boeheim, who got jobbed by Keith Smart in 1987; on the other hand, Roy Williams, who, try as he might, cannot overcome the curse of Larry Brown.
Using CJ Pool Rule #2 as a guideline, Hoopsters should have known that Syracuse would come out on top. Rule #2 is still in full effect. Usually the CJ Pool calls out coaches when a team habitually pulls up lame in big games (see Kelvin Sampson in 2002), but this time, it wasn't Roy Williams' fault. His players flat out choked. They shot something like 4-17 from the free throw line and lost by three points.
For the record:
1. Beck C (100 pts) $200
2. JoeLazy (97 pts) $100
3. JennBenn (86 pts) $40
35. TruthMaker (42 pts) $10
Thanks a bunch Hoopsters. The clowns at Amalgamated TruthMaker Enterprises 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:
One more time! Thhhe wheels on the bus coming flying off, flying off, flying off, thhhhe wheels on the bus coming flying off at 120 mph. Things are getting squirrelly now, and with Kentucky and Arizona doing their best Kansas and well, Arizona impersonations in the Elite 8, 86 percent of the Hoopsters are looking like Tom Daschle on November 5, 2002. For these woebeggotten Hoopsters, the end is here. In the Amalgamated corporate environment though, the glass is never half empty. Well, actually it is perpetually half empty, but this is an intentional feature built into the functional expectations of all Amalgamated projects, services, and products, allowing for perpetual psychological scalability. Thus, in the case of the Funkin' 8 Ball of Hoop, the misfortune of many Hoopsters can be the window of opportunity for others.
With three number one seeds joining the bracket scap heap, defending champion Grob J is eliminated. This means that the Tractor Pull cup is going to have a new name on it this year. In the history of the CJ Pool, there has never been a repeat champion, let alone a back-to-back champion.
Numerous brackets were completely shut down this weekend, but some Hoopsters still managed to add a little Absinthe to their half-empty challices. CJ Pool rookie Beck C threw down a cornhole-kickin' 24, as did perpetual dark horse Smitty, and WB-raisin' Bonzai. Smitty is the only Hoopster to record a neutral/negative split, posting rounds of 20-20-20-24, while Bonzai lept from 27th place to 7th place. On the other side of the glass, 18 Hoopsters took the big shalaylee, leaving only 12 Hoopsters with a chance for additional points in the Pool.
Rolling into the Final Four weekend, Al MacGuire conjuring JennBenn, Beck C, CJ Pool rookie JoeLazy, and Bonzai are the only Hoopsters with a chance for the ultimate glory; 7 hoopsters still have a shot at some money. Using QuantiFy, a proprietary, leading-edge bracket computing application from Amalgamated TruthMaker Enterprise, CJ's is projecting the following winners for the following scenarios:*
Marquette vs. Syracuse, Marquette
Good pool, very good pool. Strung out like Wynona Ryder at a Pat Boone show, Hoopsters were all over the map in this round, ranging from the lowly depths of the 8 points notched by roundball rackin' FlabbyBoy and emeraldian Wallin J to the soaring heights of CJ Pool rookie Zaklin F's 28. That's 28! That's 7 for 8 in the third round. That's playin' some brackets, baby! Zaklin F, now's the time to throw down your smack talk--you gots to do it when you're up.
Lots of Hoopsters scooped up points for the Orangemen's ex-'Cuse me stumble into the Eight, and a handful counted coup for their Marquette picks, but only downtown Brown T and Zaklin F got Messenian about things and picked the Spartans to shell the MDs. And while many Hoopsters profited from their Wildcat pickings to the tune of 20 and 24 points, several Hoopster scores are graphing like Krusty's 401K accounts right now. FlabbyBoy and Kalmi K proved themselves pretenders to the throne of Master Incompetent by going low in Round 3 and blowing most of their brackets, but picking Kentucky to win it all. Rookies. Still mired in last place, the TruthMaker is locked in a dull battle of wits with Wallin J as they both vie for the coveted ceramic mermaid ashtray from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida circa 1964 that is the CJ Pool last-place trophy.
It really is a great pool though, because every convievable combination of picks is still in play. Michigan State and Syracuse are the only teams still alive that were not chosen to win it all by a Hoopster. This means that a lot of Hoopsters are still in it and if MSU or Syracuse wins it all, just about everybody over 60 points has a shot. In any event, it's too early to start projecting winners, because a vacumn tube blew out in the Bendix 950 subframe caldoprocessor that CJ's Funkin' 8 Ball of Hoop has been using as a splice between Amalgamated's Griffin-24X punchcard-driven 1959 IBM B-Series mainframe and it's mated, zero-redundancy, dual-latency Aldberon VII's while Amalgamated developers finalize the hybrid FORTRAN-COBOL system that will increase computing capacity enterprisewide by over 4 percent.
In a sign of the times, the TruthMaker received some interesting press from CNN's obscure Domestic Complacency bureau.
Oh ho ho-ho HO! Hoopsters, we almost had ourselves a pool there on Saturday. The Bulldogs were one nip away from sending Arizona and 14 Hoopsters back to watching the New Star Search, but, like a credible Republican justification for war or a clearly definable Democratic issue position, the Zags upset bid just didn't materialize. Elsewhere, some minor upsets kept the Pool interesting as the Fightin' Irish outscrapped the Fightin' Illinois (How come peaceable schools like the KFCU Fastin' Gandhis and the Rumsfeld State Conscientious Objectors didn't make the field of 65 this year?), Butler cleaned up after the Cardinals, and Auburn left the Demon Deacons floundering in their wake. Hill-climbin' madman Bonzai and crunch-time shotmaker Shedwill J each picked up a nifty deuce with their St. Patty's day picks, while CJ Pool rookie Beck C and hyphenated Hoopster Pack-Brown picked up some points on the field by picking les Tigres to outclaw the goofy bald guy with the big nose and top hat. But the pick of the round goes to the Pullman picker Robertson M, who stuck with Butler into the 16.
A big TruthMaker huzzah goes out to hackneyed jibester VanJoqui, who put together a 16-16 day on Saturday en route to a stage-winning total of 26 points for Round 2. Not to be outdone, former CJ Pool champion Walden A put together a solid weekend and also posted a very impressive 26 points for Round 2. After only two rounds, VanJoqui and Walden A are the only two Hoopsters in the Pool who have turned in negative splits. Not coincidentally, they also sit alone in first place atop the CJ's Funkin' 8 Ball of Hoop leaderboard. Like winning a stage in the Tour de Franc-, er, the uh Tour de Freedom, winning a round of the CJ Pool is victory enough for some Hoopsters.
Elsewhere in the Pool, Final 4 picks are starting to drop like propaganda leaflets in the Iraqi desert as early exits by Louisville and Florida have dealt some body blows to more than a few Hoopsters. And Stanford landed Wallin J in the recyclables bin with FrankenKlein as they got mushed by UConn. Actually, FrankenKlein and Wallin J aren't alone, because like the pool of Democratic presidential candidates, a puddle of losers is starting to form at the bottom of the CJ Pool standings. Pengillian Kalmi K is making a strong bid to reclaim his $10 entry fee with Final Four picks of Creighton and (Creighton? Hey, the TruthMaker admires your style Kalmi K) and Florida going down, but for the second consecutive round, the TruthMaker captured sole possession of last place.
As we roll towards the 8, it's time to start looking ahead on the brackets Hoopsters. If you picked either Kentucky or Arizona, EVERY point is crucial right now, and you should start looking ahead in the brackets for differentiator picks. For example, every single Hoopster in the Pool got two points for picking Kentucky on Sunday, so while you may have gotten the points, you didn't pick up any ground on anybody. Check out your bracket and figure out which picks are the ones that are going to separate you from the rest of the daredevils that went with either pack of Wildcats. If you are one of the Bravehearts who went with a long shot, all youse gots to worry about is that team. Even if your bracket sheet is as comforting as listening to Donald Rumsfeld read you a bedtime story, you still have a chance if that Vegas nightmare Butler-Michigan St, Notre Dame-Wisconsin Final Four materializes. If your pick to win it all is still there, you're OK, if your Final Four is still intact, you're OK, if you can still get some points in all four regions, you're OK. If not, see Butler-Michigan St, Notre Dame-Wisconsin.
Day 1 turned out to be bracket-pucker Thursday, as no less than five Hoopsters saw their choice to win it all (Marquette, Kansas, Duke, Stanford, and Dayton) extended to the final seconds of the game. Only determined Ohioan FrankenKlein, who took a Flyer on Dayton, saw his 32 points swept away in a Golden Hurricane. Now, like an infected vein running from his calf to his groin, FrankenKlein's bracket sheet has a trail of blood leading from the badlands of Spokane, Washington all the way to New Orleans. But there is room for FrankenKlein to rise from the dead, because the Hoopsters were not very daring in their championship picks this year. Piling on like Krusty at KFC's "All You Can Eat" Fried Chinchilla bar, most Hoopsters chose either Kentucky or Arizona. With Florida, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, and Illinois left unclaimed, FrankenKlein and others at the bottom of the standings still have hope. For more statistical information about this year's pool, see Notices, Stats, and Metrix.
Several savvy Hoopsters including Queen of the Universe Simo M, wireless multimedia scribe Wallin J, and CJ Pool rookie Zaklin M picked up a nice first round skin with their Central Michigan pick. Hackneyed jibester VanJoqui, Jeopardy! veteran Walden A, and left-handed gun Velush L all scored nicely with their Tulsa picks, and CJ Pool rookie FlabbyBoy, Pullman picker Roberston M, and NFL pool shark Zeeman scored with Butler. Super Bowl stud Gilbert J set a blistering pace on Day 1 with a nifty 15-16 run, only to have this feat matched on Day 2 by Krusty, hackin' Lumberjack Brown T, and Flagstaff poolie Walden E. But the round ultimately belonged to TruthMaker protege DaSuze, who leads everybody with 27 points heading into Round 2.
As the sun sets on Round 1, some Hoopsters are flying high while others are wondering why entire quadrants of their brackets are red. Nobody is hurtin' more than the TruthMaker, who laid a Ralph Sampson sized egg on Friday with just 8 points. At press time, the TruthMaker was unavailable for comment, and was last seen sulking out in the Amalgamated parking lot in his 1976 Chrysler Cordoba, chain smoking Jakartas and blasting Aztec Camera on his Kragen 3-way speakers.
A few notes to Hoopsters as we head on to Round 2. First, be
and double-check your scores. The dot.com castoffs the TruthMaker has
to terminals in the basement of the Amalgamated Tower have been known
lose focus from time to time. If you notice a mistake, please bring it
to our attention and the TruthMaker or Krusty will discuss it with the
offending CJ associate. Second, next year (cuz' it's too late now), be
sure to double-check your brackets before sending them in. Several
have lost points because they forgot to pick every game. Finally, as
TruthMaker lurches steadily towards a bad weave or at least a Bill
style combover, now more than ever, the NCAA tournament is about hair.
It was good to see Gene Keady and his greasemat of a rug back in the
this year, but beyond gorgeous Gene and a few Vitale-like chrome domes,
the coach hair just isn't what it used to be. Coming to the rescue this
year is Kurt Hinrich of Kansas. If the hair of the Little Dutch Boy and
Mr. Spock had a child, that child would be Hinrich's hair. Hey, it
Denny Crum, but it's something to make the TruthMaker feel better about
his own follicle follies.
*In preparation for Operation Iraqi France, the
States Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CIA
a FOA version of QuantiFy to model troop counts, body counts, and
counts while developing its battle plan. Though they were satisfied
the statistics returned, these are the same organizations that
pay $800 for toilet seats, so Amalgamated accepts no responsibility for
false returns or inaccurate projections. You are well advised to review
your bracket sheet personally. Amalgamated is currently working on
different computing software applications including
and TruthMaker's International Coinage Exchanger©.