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February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Jeopardy 2011: Answers and Questions

Filed under: Casual Fridays,Sports — Steve Krupa @ 2:54 pm
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SUPER BOWL JEOPARDY 2011 Answers and Questions

Okay – here we go.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!

If you want to try it without the solutions, i.e., just the answers (no questions) click here.

Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin

The Quarterbacks:

1.             A:  These two (2) starting Super Bowl quarterbacks both started their career with the same team and wore the number 10 in the Super Bowl.

Q:  Who are Fran Tarkenton (VIII, IX, XI) and Eli Manning (XLII)?

2.             A:  These three (3) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the (Baltimore/Indianapolis) Colts.

Q:  Who are Earl Morrall (III), Johnny Unitas (V), and Peyton Manning (XLI & XLIV)?

 

3.             A:  These three (3) Super Bowl winning quarterbacks played their college football at Alabama, although only two of them played for famed Alabama coach Bear Bryant.

Q:  Who are Bart Starr (Packers: I&II) (Bart did not play for Bear Bryant), Joe Namath (Jets: III) and Ken Stabler (Raiders: XI)?

 

4.             A:  This starting Super Bowl quarterback, who remains in the NFL as of the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, holds the record for the most pass attempts (39) in the Super Bowl without a touchdown pass.

Q:  Who is Kerry Collins (Giants: XXXV)?

5.             A:  This quarterback and current broadcaster holds the record for the highest single game Super Bowl passer rating (150.9).

Q:  Who is Phil Simms (Giants: XXI)?

 6.             A:  This quarterback, known for his ability to make clutch plays late in close games, among other things, also holds the record for the lowest single game Super Bowl passer rating (22.6) for a winning quarterback.

Q:  Who is Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers: XL)?

7.             A:  This quarterback not only made a recent appearance on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” but he also holds the record for most pass attempts (45) without an interception in one Super Bowl game.

Q:  Who is Kurt Warner (Rams: XXXIV)?

8.             A:  This quarterback played his college ball at Grambling State and became the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl game.

Q:  Who is Doug Williams (Redskins: XXII)?

9.             A:  These four (4) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the Washington Redskins (5 total team appearances).

Q:  Who are Billy Kilmer (VII), Joe Theismann (XVII & XVIII), Doug Williams (XXII) and Mark Rypien (XXVI)?

  10.          A:  These three (3) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the New England Patriots (6 total team appearances).

Q:  Who are Tony Eason (XX), Drew Bledsoe (XXXI) and Tom Brady (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX and XLII)?

 

 The Head Coaches:

11.          A:  The only Super Bowl head coach to attend John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

Q:  Who is Don Shula?

12.          A:  This three-time Super Bowl head coach known for his devotion to the phillosohpy of “Power Football” also played linebacker at Wichita State University.

Q:  Who is Bill Parcells?

 

13.          A:  These two (2) Super Bowl head coaches played football for Brigham Young University.

Q:  Who are Andy Reid (Eagles) and Brian Billick (Ravens)?

14.          A:  These two (2) Super Bowl head coaches played their college football at the University of Minnesota.

Q:  Who are Bud Grant (Vikings) and Tony Dungy (Colts)?

15.          A:  This legendary head coach holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances (6).

Q:  Who is Don Shula (Colts/Dolphins)?

16.          A:  These three (3) head coaches represented the (Los Angeles/St. Louis) Rams in the Super Bowl.

Q:  Who are Ray Malavasi, Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz.

17.          A:  These three (3) head coaches are winless in each of their 4 Super Bowl appearances.

Q:  Who are Bud Grant, Marv Levy and Dan Reeves?

18.          A:  These five (5) head coaches have made Super Bowl appearances with two different teams.

Q:  Who are Don Shula (Colts/Dolphins), Dan Reeves (Broncos/Falcons), Dick Vermeil (Eagles/Rams), Bill Parcells (Giants/Patriots) and Mike Holmgren (Packers/Seahawks)?

 

 

 19.          A:  These three (3) head coaches represented the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl (6 team appearances).

Q:  Who are Red Miller (XII), Dan Reeves (XXI, XXII, XXIV) and Mike Shanahan (XXXII, XXXIII)?

 

 20.          A:  These four (4) head coaches represented the (Oakland/Los Angeles) Raiders in the Super Bowl (5 team appearances).

Q:  Who are John Rauch (II), John Madden (XI), Tom Flores (XV, XVIII) and Bill Callahan (XXXII)?

 

 The MVPs

21.          A:  These three (3) players won the Super Bowl MVP award while playing for the New York Giants.

Q:  Who are Phil Simms, O.J. Anderson and Eli Manning?

  

 22.          A:  This wide-receiver and Super Bowl MVP, now with the New York Jets, made the game winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII.

Q:  Who is Santonio Holmes?

 

23.          A:  This Super Bowl MVP and controversial first round draft pick played his college football at Morehead State.

Q:  Who is Phil Simms?

24.          A:  These two brothers won sequential (first one then the other) Super Bowl MVPs.

Q:  Who are Peyton Manning (XLI) and Eli Manning (XLII).

25.          A:  This linebacker is the only Super Bowl MVP to play for a losing team.

Q:  Who is Chuck Howley? (Linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys who lost to the Colts in Super Bowl V (16-13), a game known as the Blunder Bowl for its sloppy play).

26.          A:  This player holds the record for the most Super Bowl MVP awards (3).

Q:  Who is Joe Montana of the 49ers (XVI, XIX and XXIV)?

27.          A:  This team produced the only set of Super Bowl co-MVPs.

Q:  Who are the Dallas Cowboys?

28.          A:  These two defensive lineman were the only set of Super Bowl co-MVPs.

Q:  Who are Randy White and Harvey Martin?

 

 29.          A:  This Heisman Trohpy winner is the only Kick Return specialist to win a Super Bowl MVP.

Q:  Who is Desmond Howard of the Green Bay Packers?

The Teams

30.          A:  These four (4) current NFL teams have never made a Super Bowl appearance.

Q:  Who are the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars?

 

31.          A:  These two (2) current NFL teams have not made a Super Bowl appearance since 1970.

Q:  Who are the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets?

32.          A:  These three (3) teams are tied for the most number of Super Bowl losses (4).

Q:  Who are the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills?

33.          A:  This team holds the Super Bowl record for the most points scored in a quarter.

Q:  Who are the Washington Redskins (35 pts – XXII)?

The Players

34.          A:  This Raiders lineman is the only player to appear in a Super Bowl in three separate decades.

Q:  Who is Gene Upshaw?

 

 35.          A:  This linebacker, TV commentator and former President and CEO of the Detroit Lions is the only player to earn a Super Bowl ring with 3 different teams (Raiders, 49ers and Redskins).

Q:  Who is Matt Millen?

 

36.          A:  This running back and fifth round draft pick out of Texas Tech holds the record for most rushing yards in a single Super Bowl game (204 yards).

Q:  Who is Timmy Smith (Redskins: XXII)?

37.          A:  This defensive lineman was known as the “Minister of Defense” and holds the record for most sacks in a single Super Bowl game (3).

Q:  Who is Reggie White (the “Minister of Defense” – Packers: XXXI)?

 

38.          A:  This wide-receiver and first round draft pick out of Mississippi Valley State holds the career Super Bowl record for touchdowns (7).

 Q:  Who is Jerry Rice (49ers)?

 The Venues

 39.          A:  This stadium hosted Super Bowl I.

Q:  What is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum?

 

40.          A:  This city has hosted the Super Bowl a record 10 times.

Q:  What is Miami, Florida?

41.          A:  This city is scheduled to host its first Super Bowl (XLVI) next year.

Q:  What is Indianapolis?

42.          A:  This city hosted the first Super Bowl after the commencement of Operation Desert Storm.

 Q:  What is Tampa, Florida?

 

 

 

 

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January 28, 2011

Super Bowl Jeopardy 2011

Filed under: Casual Fridays,Sports — Steve Krupa @ 5:23 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Every year Mike Francesa of WFAN (radio) in New York puts together an excellent contest featuring Super Bowl trivia.  If you can answer four of Mike’s very difficult trivia questions you can win a trip to the Super Bowl.  It’s a lot of fun to listen to, and it inspired me to create my own take on Super Bowl trivia, Super Bowl Jeopardy 2011, which is certainly less daunting than Francesa’s, but challenging nonetheless.

Since my favorite Super Bowl is XLII (Giants 17 Patriots 14), Super Bowl Jeopardy 2011 features 42 answers.  I will publish the questions next Friday before Super Bowl weekend.  Obviously you can find most of these answers on-line, but if you want to keep the wheels turning, feel free to write in for hints.

The idea is to structure your responses in the form of a question.  For example:

A:  This quarterback won the MVP award in the first two super bowls.

Q:  Who is Bart Starr (Packers)?

Ok – so that’s how it works.  Enjoy.

SUPER BOWL JEOPARDY 2011

The Quarterbacks:

1.             A:  These two (2) starting Super Bowl quarterbacks both started their career with the same team and wore the number 10 in the Super Bowl.

2.             A:  These three (3) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the (Baltimore/Indianapolis) Colts.

3.             A:  These three (3) Super Bowl winning quarterbacks played their college football at Alabama, although only two of them played for famed Alabama coach Bear Bryant.

4.             A:  This starting Super Bowl quarterback, who remains in the NFL as of the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, holds the record for the most pass attempts (39) in the Super Bowl without a touchdown pass.

5.             A:  This quarterback and current broadcaster holds the record for the highest single game Super Bowl passer rating (150.9).

6.             A:  This quarterback, known for his ability to make clutch plays late in close games, among other things, also holds the record for the lowest single game Super Bowl passer rating (22.6) for a winning quarterback.

7.             A:  This quarterback not only made a recent appearance on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars,” but he also holds the record for most pass attempts (45) without an interception in one Super Bowl game.

8.             A:  This quarterback played his college ball at Grambling State and became the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl game.

9.             A:  These four (4) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the Washington Redskins (5 total team appearances).

10.          A:  These three (3) quarterbacks started in Super Bowls for the New England Patriots (6 total team appearances).

The Head Coaches:

11.          A:  The only Super Bowl head coach to attend John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.

12.          A:  This three-time Super Bowl head coach known for his devotion to the phillosohpy of “Power Football” also played linebacker at Wichita State University.

13.          A:  These two (2) Super Bowl head coaches played football for Brigham Young University.

14.          A:  These two (2) Super Bowl head coaches played their college football at the University of Minnesota.

15.          A:  This legendary head coach holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances (6).

16.          A:  These three (3) head coaches represented the (Los Angeles/St. Louis) Rams in the Super Bowl.

17.          A:  These three (3) head coaches are winless in each of their 4 Super Bowl appearances.

18.          A:  These five (5) head coaches have made Super Bowl appearances with two different teams.

19.          A:  These three (3) head coaches represented the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl (6 team appearances).

20.          A:  These four (4) head coaches represented the (Oakland/Los Angeles) Raiders in the Super Bowl (5 team appearances).

The MVPs

21.          A:  These three (3) players won the Super Bowl MVP award while playing for the New York Giants.

22.          A:  This wide-receiver and Super Bowl MVP, now with the New York Jets, made the game winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII.

23.          A:  This Super Bowl MVP and controversial first round draft pick played his college football at Morehead State.

24.          A:  These two brothers won sequential (first one then the other) Super Bowl MVPs.

25.          A:  This linebacker is the only Super Bowl MVP to play for a losing team.

26.          A:  This player holds the record for the most Super Bowl MVP awards (3).

27.          A:  This team produced the only set of Super Bowl co-MVPs.

28.          A:  These two defensive lineman were the only set of Super Bowl co-MVPs.

29.          A:  This Heisman Trohpy winner is the only Kick Return specialist to win a Super Bowl MVP.

The Teams

30.          A:  These four (4) current NFL teams have never made a Super Bowl appearance.

31.          A:  These two (2) current NFL teams that have not made a Super Bowl appearance since 1970.

32.          A:  These three (3) teams are tied for the most number of Super Bowl losses (4).

33.          A:  This team holds the Super Bowl record for the most points scored in a quarter.

The Players

34.          A:  This Raiders lineman is the only player to appear in a Super Bowl in three separate decades.

35.          A:  This linebacker, TV commentator and former President and CEO of the Detroit Lions is the only player to earn a Super Bowl ring with 3 different teams (Raiders, 49ers and Redskins).

36.          A:  This running back and fifth round draft pick out of Texas Tech holds the record for most rushing yards in a single Super Bowl game (204 yards).

37.          A:  This defensive lineman was known as the “Minister of Defense” and holds the record for most sacks in a single Super Bowl game (3).

38.          A:  This wide-receiver and first round draft pick out of Mississippi Valley State holds the career Super Bowl record for touchdowns (7).

The Venues

39.          A:  This stadium hosted Super Bowl I.

40.          A:  This city has hosted the Super Bowl a record 10 times.

41.          A:  This city is scheduled to host its first Super Bowl (XLVI) next year.

42.          A:  This city hosted the first Super Bowl after the commencement of Operation Desert Storm.

August 6, 2010

A-Rod and the Game of Shadows

On Monday, April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron was 40 years old and returning home to Atlanta where his Braves would face the Los Angeles Dodgers.  I was 9 years old and all I could think about was baseball.  Four days prior Aaron hit career home run number 714 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, matching the mark of the legendary Babe Ruth and creating immediate anticipation of a new home run record.   The Braves were selfish, giving Aaron sparse playing time while on the road, with the hopes that he would break Ruth’s record in front of his hometown fans.

Young Hank

I was allowed to stay up late that night to watch the Braves vs. the Dodgers on NBC’s Monday Night Baseball, with announcers Curt Gowdy and Joe Garagiola.  Sure enough, in the fourth inning, with a 1-0 count, Aaron hit 715 off of Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, one of the great moments in sports history, and I got to see it.  Today, few doubt Hank Aaron’s credentials as a bona-fide sports hero, a legend.  For me it was a moment that cemented my life-long love for baseball.

Not that my love hasn’t been tested…

In the early summer of 2007 it became pretty clear that Barry Bonds was going to break Hank Aaron’s 33 year-old home run record, it was just a matter of time.  I remembered Aaron as beloved (I met him once, an autographed photo from his playing days with the Milwaukee Braves sits in the window sill of my office).  Bonds, on the other hand, seemed to be despised by everyone, save the diehard San Francisco Giant fans.  Bonds was both personally difficult and an accused doper, a focal point of a steroids scandal that was discrediting many baseball All-Stars of his era.

Barry Before and After

As Bonds honed in on the record I became more and more interested in understanding the controversy, reading an absolutely fascinating book called Game of Shadows, by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle.  The book, subtitled Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports, is unrelenting in its presentation of facts and evidence supporting Bonds’ obsessive steroid use, much of which was reportedly documented in the files of BALCO’s Victor Conte (1), the Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) kingpin, and Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson.  In 2001, the year Bonds broke Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record with 73, the book alleges that Bonds used the following PEDs: (a) “The cream and the clear,” two designer steroids distributed by BALCO; (b) Human growth hormone; (c) Insulin; (d) Testosterone decanoate; (e) Trenbolone; and (f) Stanozolol.  The value-added BALCO brought to the table was access to the goods and the knowledge of how to mix and match them in a way that would be virtually undetectable by the blood and urine tests available at the time (2).    The authors make it pretty clear that we should be suspicious of the performance of most of the top performing athletes, particularly from the period of around 1995 (post the last baseball players strike) through 2003, and particularly baseball players and track stars, areas of sporting where Conte had the greatest influence.(3) Today Bonds is scheduled to go to trial on March 11, 2011, when he will face 11 felony charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for his 2003 testimony to the grand jury that was investigating BALCO.  In that testimony Bonds claimed, among other things, that he did not know that the substances Greg Anderson injected him with were PEDs.  Meanwhile, Anderson spent a year in prison for contempt of court as a result of his refusal to testify in Bonds’ trial.

To this day Bonds refuses to admit to PED use, maintaining his claim of innocence and ignorance and making him one of the biggest overt liars of our time.

This is the tragedy of baseball, and its newest Home Run King, an anti-hero and a near-destroyer of the legitimacy of our national sport.

Game of Shadows is not the only source to the claim that PEDs marred baseball from around 1995 through at least 2004.  This position is further supported by The Mitchell Report, released on December 13, 2007, which named 89 baseball players that were believed to have taken PEDs primarily through their relationships with either Kirk Radomski or Brian McNamee, the latter being famous for his testimony in front of Congress regarding his provision of Steroids and Human Growth Hormone to Roger Clemens, one of baseball’s greatest pitchers.  Also, during the 2003 season baseball conducted anonymous PED testing of 1200 randomly selected players with the support of the Players Association.  Of the 1200 tested, 104 tested positive, a rate of nearly 9%, providing enough evidence to move major league baseball toward mandatory testing of all players beginning in 2004, with penalties for discovered violations.

Young A-Rod

Although the 2003 testing was intended to be anonymous, the names of several of the players that tested positive ultimately leaked to the press in February 2009.  One of them was the great Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod, perhaps the best all around player in baseball history, who had been, up to that point, an adamant denier of any PED use.

On August 3, 2010 (2 days ago) Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th career home run at the very young age of 35, expanding the List (see below ) to seven players that have hit over 600 career home runs, that’s 7 of the 16,000+ players in major league history, or 0.04%, quite an elite club.  Four of these players, Bonds, Griffey, Sosa and Rodriguez are from the “Steroids Era,” with only Griffey escaping accusation or admission of PED use.

Player HRs
Barry Bonds 762
Henry Aaron 755
Babe Ruth 714
Willie Mays 660
Ken Griffey Jr. 630
Sammy Sosa 609
Alex Rodriguez 600

W/r/t  A-Rod’s 600 HRs, 578 were hit over the past 14 seasons, a mean and median of about 41 HRs per year, with a standard deviation of 9, meaning A-Rod inevitably hits between 30 and 50 HRs a year, although his current 17 HRs appear to be behind pace for his reaching 30 this year(4).  Nonetheless, assuming A-Rod stays somewhat healthy through the remaining 7 years of his contract with the Yankees, he should hit close to 800, maybe more, and surpass Barry Bonds’ record of 762 HRs by the age of 40 (Bonds hit his 762nd home run in 2007 at the age of 44), somewhere around 2014-2015.

There is little doubt A-Rod will be the Next Home Run King.

But will he be the next Barry Bonds?  A hated icon perceived as a self-interested cheat?

Who among us have not sought redemption?

Unlike Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez is not adored, not even before his implication as a steroid user.  Many perceive him as selfish, being all about statistical achievements and money.

“All my years in New York have been clean.  Back then (the 2001-2003 seasons he played with the Texas Rangers), [baseball] was a different culture.  It was very loose. I was young.  I was stupid.  I was naïve. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance. And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”

That’s what Alex had to say, a pretty tough moment for him I am sure.

This summer Yankee owner George Steinbrenner died.  In the late 80’s and early 90’s many Yankee fans hated George.  He was getting into a lot of trouble and screwing up the team.  He was banned from baseball from 1990-1993 for unethical behavior.  He came back a different man.  He made amends with his detractors and went on to become loved and respected by players and fans.  And he won 5 more World Series.

Perhaps A-Rod will follow similarly.  He definitely feels different recently.

I hope the 9 year-olds that see Alex hit number 763 have the opportunity to feel the way I felt about Hank.

Baseball is truly great when the hero and the record go hand in hand.

Notes:

(1) BALCO =  Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, its legitimate business was blood and urine analysis and selling legal training supplements, most notably ZMA (Zinc monomethionine aspartate and Magnesium Aspartate) which BALCO’s founder Victor Conte claims helps increase strength levels in athletes.  Conte served four months in jail in 2007 as part of his pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids and a second count of money laundering.  Today Conte claims that he has reformulated BALCO into a legitimate sports training lab where he continues to advise professional athletes such as Marlon Byrd of the Chicago Cubs on strength training and conditioning.  Over the years Conte has turned into a major whistle-blower in PED investigations and is expected to release his own book, BALCO: The Straight Dope on Barry Bonds, Marion Jones and What We Can Do to Save Sports, in the near future.

(2) The jealousy of another doper/trainer ultimately led officials to the key to developing a test that could capture Conte’s regimen.

(3) Olympic gold medal track star and current WNBA player Marion Jones was a client of Victor Conte and eventually plead guilty to lying to federal agents.  She was ultimately stripped of her gold medals and served 6 months in federal prison in 2008.  She currently plays Guard for the WNBA Tulsa Shock.

(4) There has been all sorts of speculation as to why A-Rod’s HR pace lags this year, especially when his RBI totals are right on track.  One theory relates to the hip injury A-Rod has been suffering from since early last season.  He is expected to undergo surgery on his ailing hip this off season.

March 18, 2010

March Madness & the Art of the Best Guess

Filed under: Casual Fridays,Sports,Venture Capital — Steve Krupa @ 12:31 pm

I remember going to a meeting with one of our limited partners where I explained our reasoning for staying clear of investments in biotechnology and novel compounds.  I equated it to the early rounds of the NCAA tournament – terming it “March Madness Investing.”  It turned out that my LP completely understood my analogy, shooting back, without missing a beat, that he felt the same way about selecting venture funds…

_________________

My wife and I just submitted our NCAA brackets.  At tip-off it looks like there are 16 entries in my group, for a total pot of $320.  My wife’s got one bracket in, creating “pot odds” of 16:1.  This year I am playing two brackets, bringing my “pot odds” down to 8:1.  Of course, I have a system.

My first bracket is 100% gut-shot, a blast through the match-ups based mostly on personal feel.  I took this approach last year.  I picked a few upsets and entered the final four with a strong bracket.  My wife went to UConn, so I am a UConn fan, and I picked them to win it all last year despite my gut feeling for North Carolina.  This year UConn is out of the tournament, so my gut is pure.  I should have submitted two brackets last year.  I will not make that same mistake again.

My gut-shot spoiler is K-State.  I have them beating Syracuse and Kansas to get to the finals where they will lose to Kentucky.  It feels like Kentucky’s year to me, they have a great new coach who needs to win before he gets caught in another NCAA violation (like he did at Memphis and UMass).  Interestingly, out of the 32 first round games my gut produced 8 first round upsets (25%).  I bet that’s how many there will be, but I doubt they will be all or many of the ones I picked.  I think I am in big trouble on the gut-shot (for those interested my first round upsets are listed below).

As I was filling out my first bracket I found all sorts of interesting information on ESPN (dot.com, of course), where a horde of college hoops fans submit brackets every year.  With no real love interest in the tournament (UConn and USF are playing in the NIT), I decided to submit my second bracket based solely on ESPN’s “National Bracket,” which shows the preferences of the majority of the horde.  It turns out that the “National Bracket” is not much different than the NCAA tournament seeds.  Of the 63 potential games, the majority of the horde chose the favorite 59 times, with the only upsets coming in the first and second round (N Iowa (9) over UNLV (8), Louisville (9) over Cal (8), Texas A&M (5) over Purdue (4) and Michigan St. (5) over Maryland (4)) (Note a 9 over an 8 seed or a 5 over a 4 seed is hardly and upset, just perhaps an indication that the majority of the horde disagreed with the seeding ever so slightly).  But I know this is not the way things are going to turn out.  There has to be more upsets than that.  Perhaps I should submit a third bracket, the average of the first two.  That takes my “pot-odds” down to 4:1, I would lose alpha, returns would go down the tubes.

For the record, I claim no expertise in college basketball.  I read the box scores sometimes, and watch a game or two a week during the season, but, unlike, say the Oscars (ha!), my opinion is as much a guess, built off of the seeding, versus an expert point of view on how each team matches up against the others.

I wonder how Bobby Knight and Digger Phelps do on their bracket picks (both, which I am sure you know, b/t/w, are former college coaches and current ESPN analysts)?  The experts should beat me nearly every time.  The odds are that one of the number 1s will win the tournament.  The horde (and my second bracket) has Kansas as the winner.  The experts say they are the best by a meaningful margin.

But it’s a fairly well established notion that in order to succeed in an NCAA bracket you have to pick some upsets.  How do you do it?  Best guess?  Educated guess?  Study and know your stuff.  Understand the match-ups.  Pick the unknown underdog. Dartboard?  Or is the notion of needing upsets to create a winning bracket false?  Where’s the data?  Is it reliable?  Maybe the seeding is off? Is NCAA seeding reliable?

_________________

If you’re curious, here are my 8 first round upsets on my gut-shot:

1.    Houston (10) over Maryland (4)

2.    No. Iowa (9) over UNLV (8) (9 beats 8 – not a major upset)

3.    GaTech (10) over Oklahoma St. (7)

4.    UTEP (12) over Butler (5)

5.    Florida (10) over BYU (7) (some people like BYU to go to the final four to play in Salt Lake City – I say no way)

6.    Wake Forest (9) over Texas (8) (Texas was ranked #1 in the country earlier this year only to fall hard)

7.    Missouri (10) over Clemson (7) (I never have any luck picking Clemson)

8.   Louisville (9) over Cal (8) (again 9 beats 8, no biggie)

Of course my big upset is K-State going to the final four.  Good pick?

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