Twelve more bids awarded Saturday, and only four more conference tournaments to be played. It is as tight as it gets at the top of the pool.
Chris Sabatino leads with 304 points. Right behind him are Rob Biro and Steve Politi, each with 303.
Chris also leads the race for most champions picked correctly, with 11 out of 26 so far, but Ed Price, Yohan Sengamalay, Sal Sabatino and Steve Politi each have picked 10.
So how does it shake out today? Well, Rob and Steve have Duke in the ACC final, which means each gets four more points if Duke wins. Chris would suffer here for having picked his alma mater’s archrival over alma mater herself, while Steve would be rewarded for doing the same.
Rob has Tennessee winning the SEC, so if that happens he gets a leg up on the other two in the overall points race.
Chris has Purdue in the Big Ten, so he gets help if they win.
Chris, Rob and Steve all have Stephen F. Austin in the Southland, so no blood there.
So, the way I figure it:
-If Duke and Tennessee both win, Rob wins the overall points title regardless of the Big Ten result.
-If Florida State and Mississippi State both win, Chris wins the overall points title regardless of the Big Ten result.
-If Duke, Mississippi State and Purdue all win, Chris wins the overall points title.
-If Duke, Mississippi State and Ohio State all win, Rob and Steve tie for the overall points title.
-If Florida State, Tennessee and Purdue all win, Chris wins the overall points title.
-If Florida State, Tennessee and Ohio State all win, Rob wins the overall points title.
I think that’s right. If it’s not, I’m sorry. Also, I think any combination of Chris, Rob, Steve and Ed can win and/or tie for the prize for most champions picked.
As a refresher, the overall points leader wins $15. The person with the second-most overall points gets $5. And the person who picks the most champions correctly gets $10. There are no tiebreakers. If you tie, you split the money.
Now, on to the daily roundup:
The Binghamton Bearcats earned their first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament, beating UMBC 61-51 in the final of the America East tournament. Binghamton’s tournament title was correctly forecast by Dan and Steve, but Steve won the dollar with a score of 11 out of a possible 19 points. Steve is now up to $4.66 in winnings, almost the first guy to earn his entry fee back. Which is good, since he hasn’t paid it.
It’s back to the Big Dance for Morgan State, which earned the MEAC’s bid with an 83-69 victory over Norfolk State. Morgan was the predicted tournament champion of Dan, Greg, Sal, Nino, Chris, Yohan, Mark and Rob, but this was Nino’s tournament all the way. Nino scored 20 out of a possible 21 points in the MEAC bracket, missing only with Howard’s loss to Florida A&M in the 8-9 game. Congrats to Nino, king of the MEAC.
Louisville restores sanity and order to the universe, finally coming up with a way to stop Syracuse, 76-66 in the Big East tournament final. I have a hunch both of these teams will find their way into the tournament, but Louisville is now officially guaranteed. Nobody had Louisville winning, so the dollar goes to Mark Feinsand, who had the best overall Big East bracket with 21 out of a possible 37 points. Mark is the Beast of the Big East.
Another tournament in which the top seed actually wins! Utah State beats Nevada 72-62 for the WAC title and an automatic bid to the Big Dance. Sal, Nino, Chris, Yohan, Steve, Mark and Rob all had Utah State here, but Sal is the big winner with a PERFECT 19 out of 19 points!!! A perfect WAC bracket for Sal. Congrats, Sal, you are El Jefe Primo in the WAC.
Akron ends Buffalo’s dreams 65-53 in the finals of the Mid-American. Yohan was the only person to correctly pick Akron to win this tournament, and with 15 points out of a possible 22, Yohan wins the MAC’s one-dollar first prize. Yohan is…wait for it…the new Shaq of the MAC, supplanting Gary Trent.
Temple ends the Cinderella run of Duquesne with a 69-64 victory in the A-10 final, earning the league’s automatic bid. Mark and Yohan both picked Temple to win this tournament, but Yohan edged Mark by a point, 15-14, for the A-10 dollar. Had Mark picked Xavier over St. Louis in the quarterfinals, as everybody else did, he’d have won this. Instead, Yohan rules the A-10.
Utah nips San Diego State, 52-50 to earn its ticket to the dance as champion of the MWC. Mark, Rob, Nino, Yohan, Jim and Jon all had Utah here, and it’s Jim who takes home the dollar. Correctly forecasting both finalists helped Jim to a score of 16 out of a possible 19 points, and earns him the title of Lord of the Mountain West.
Missouri ends Baylor’s dream run with a 73-60 reality check in the Big 12 final. Nobody had Missouri. We all had a Kansas-Oklahoma final. The best score in the Big 12 was 7 out of a possible 22, which was posted by Ed, Sal, Jim, Greg and Jon, who each pocketed 20 cents. The Big 12 is ruled by a council.
Yes. Memphis. 64-39 over Tulsa in the foregone final. Correctly forecast by all 12 of us. But Sal, who didn’t miss a game after the first round, scored 19 out of 22 to earn the dollar and be crowned emperor of Conference USA.
Top-seeded Alabama State takes out Jackson State in the final of the SWAC and advances to the Big Dance. Only Ed and Sal correctly picked Alabama State to win this tournament, and those two also tied for the win in the SWAC bracket with 10 points out of a possible 11. They can armwrestle for supreme control of the SWAC.
Sixth-seeded USC took out fourth-seeded Arizona State 66-63 in a very surprising Pac-10 final to earn an NCAA tournament bid. Nobody had USC winning this. Jim and Steve each scored 12 out of a possible 20 points in the Pac-10 bracket and each get 50 cents. Jim and Steve form the two-headed sultan of the Pac-10.
Cal State-Northridge beat Pacific 71-66 in overtime to secure the Big West crown and advance to the NCAA Tournament. This title was correctly forecast by Chris, Ed and Steve, but Chris had the best overall Big West bracket, scoring 14 out of a possible 16 points. Chris wins the dollar as Duke of the Big West.
Florida State took out North Carolina, a result that was correctly forecast by only Dan and Steve, a self-loathing Tar Heel. Duke beat Maryland in the other semifinal, as correctly forecast by five people, including at least two Duke alumni. Duke will play Florida State today in the ACC final. Mark, Steve and Rob are tied for the pool lead with 12 out of a possible 18 points so far. But Mark had North Carolina winning this tournament, while Steve and Rob each picked Duke. So if Duke wins today, Steve and Rob will each get 50 cents. If Florida State wins, it remains a three-way tie, with Steve, Rob and Mark each getting 33 cents.
Mississippi State took out top-seeded LSU in the SEC semis, throwing many SEC brackets into chaos. Tennessee beat Auburn in the other semi and will face MSU in today’s final. Sal leads with 12 out of a possible 18 points so far, but he picked LSU to win, so his only hope is a Mississippi State victory today. If MSU wins, Sal gets the buck. But if Tennessee wins, Rob and Jim (each of whom picked Tennessee to win the tournament) will move past Sal and tie for the pool title with 14 points apiece, each getting 50 cents.
The top seed went out in the Big Ten as well, with Michigan State getting basically smoked by Ohio State in its semifinal game. Michigan State was the pick of eight of the 12 of us, and so it’s a big loss. Purdue beat Illinois in the other semifinal, which is big for Chris and Jim, each of whom had Purdue winning this tournament. Nino currently leads with 13 points, and if Mississippi State wins, Nino will get a buck. But if Purdue wins, Jim will win the dollar with a score of 15 out of a possible 22 points.
Top-seeded Stephen F. Austin takes on sixth-seeded Texas-San Antonio in this afternoon’s Southland final. Currently, seven people are tied for first place in the Southland with 5 out of a possible 8 points so far. Of those seven, five picked Stephen F. Austin to win the tournament. (The other two had Sam Houston State and Nicholls State.) So if Austin wins, Dan, Rob, Steve, Ed and Jon will split the dollar five ways. If San Antonio wins, Dan, Rob, Steve, Ed, Jon, Nino and Jim will split the dollar seven ways. Either way, Dan will finally win some money. WHOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOO!!!!
TOTAL POINTS THROUGH MARCH 14
Chris Sabatino: 304
Rob Biro: 303
Steve Politi: 303
Sal Sabatino: 292
Paul “Nino” Canino: 285
Greg Lester: 283
Yohan Sengamalay: 283
Ed Price: 279
Mark Feinsand: 279
Jim Graziano: 269
Dan Graziano: 260
Jon Graziano: 259
CHAMPIONS PICKED CORRECTLY (out of a possible 26)
Chris Sabatino: 11
Ed Price: 10
Yohan Sengamalay: 10
Sal Sabatino: 10
Steve Politi: 10
Rob Biro: 9
Paul “Nino” Canino: 9
Mark Feinsand: 8
Jon Graziano: 7
Greg Lester: 7
Dan Graziano: 4
Jim Graziano: 4
PRIZE MONEY SO FAR
Steve Politi: $4.66
Sal Sabatino: $4.36
Yohan Sengamalay: $4.16
Ed Price: $3.36
Paul “Nino” Canino: $2.66
Mark Feinsand: $2.50
Jim Graziano: $1.70
Chris Sabatino: $1.50
Greg Lester: $0.70
Jon Graziano: $0.20
Rob Biro: $0.16
Dan Graziano: NOTHING!!!!
Enjoy today’s title games, and the selection show, boys. I’ll be back tomorrow with a final recap.