Monday, March 26, 2007

It's too bad I didn't discover it until after the Elite Eight, but the New Republic has an NCAA Tournament blog that's pretty good.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Natalie Nelson, thou art avenged !!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

For those of you who plan to drop off the face of the planet the next four days, in deep immersion in college basketball, here's a bit of arcana for you: John McCain's personal brackets. His Final Four are the four Number One seeds, and he picks the higher seed in almost every game. For a conventional pool, that's not a bad strategy, since it assures the player of consistent results throughout the NCAA's, with an almost absolute certainty that at least one of your teams will get to the Final Four. It discounts the first round, when most of the upsets occur, to almost complete insignificance, while boosting the later rounds, when form begins to reassert itself, and number one and two seeds tally the lion's share of points.

In a small pool, then, McCain stands a good chance of finishing in the money, although there has never been a tournament in which all four Number One seeds made it to the Final Four. Even in the sort of mega-pool he's engaging in, he will likely finish in the top half, although with many thousands of people participating, the odds that at least one player will correctly pick all four Final Four teams are almost certain. Some "maverick."

Which is one of the reasons why most sophisticated pools don't operate in that fashion; in order to reflect the wild, random nature of March Madness, a player who picks only the favorites shouldn't be allowed to reap the benefits over those who seek out the upsets that make the event so unique. In the pool which I participate, the first round is apportioned by seeding, not by the number of correct guesses. If you pick a 12-seed to beat a 5, you get 12 points. If you think Kansas is going to squeak by Niagra on Friday, you get one. People who correctly pick upsets benefit, although the real key is nailing the 8-9 and 7-10 games. After the first round, the scoring is proportional and based on successful guess, which is S.O.P. in most pools.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The 65: Kansas State and Syracuse were schools that I had assumed were in the field, so their omission this afternoon was shocking. But it's really hard to feel sorry for any at-large team. The only teams that really deserve to be in the tournament are the automatic qualifiers; they are the ones that took care of business when it mattered. Next most deserving are the conference regular season champs, since they proved they're merit over the course of the season. When you get down to whether a fourth or fifth place team in one conference should go over the third place team in another, you really are splitting hairs. If the Orange want to play in the Big Dance, they should do what they did last year, and win the Big East Tourney.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Charter Schooling: Those who call for privatizing our public educational system might well examine four model schools from back east:

The N.C.A.A. announced Monday that it would no longer accept transcripts from two schools that had sent dozens of talented athletes to high-profile college athletics programs.

Kevin Lennon, the N.C.A.A. vice president for membership services, said that Lutheran Christian Academy in Philadelphia and Prince Avenue Prep in Pickens, S.C., which use curriculum from Accelerated Christian Education, did not have a high enough standard within that curriculum. Neither school was given “model” or “quality” status by the organization, which is why the N.C.A.A. said it would no longer be accepting transcripts from them.


Records from American Academy High School in Miami and the now-closed Florida Preparatory Academy in Port Charlotte, Fla., both of which did not respond to repeated N.C.A.A. requests for information, will also not be accepted.

Darryl Schofield, the coach at Lutheran Christian, said that his school had become an unfair target of the N.C.A.A.

This is ongoing, ridiculous and stupid,” Schofield said of the N.C.A.A.’s decision. “It’s a waste of my time.

He said he did not know about the latest decision until a reporter showed him the N.C.A.A.’s news release Monday. He said that the school changed locations and that the person at the community center where it used to be was throwing away its mail. Lennon said Lutheran should have informed the N.C.A.A. of the move.

Lutheran Christian Academy and numerous other prep schools came under increased scrutiny last year after investigations by The New York Times showed that athletes were receiving high grades for little or no work. Four players told The Times that Schofield was their only teacher and that they were not required to attend classes.

Nothing brings back memories of school days more than thinking of the community center where your dear alma mater was situated.

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