Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And Then There Were Three...

Yes, I know that if you have been following this blog for the past couple of weeks as we've traversed through the madness that has been March and the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament you are thinking to yourself that I must not have passed my basic math classes.

The Final Four is now set in Indianapolis this coming Saturday with the likes of perennial powers Duke and Michigan State welcoming a long-awaited return trip from West Virginia and new kid on the block Butler, the hometown favorite who will be playing just 19 miles from its campus.

The journey from 65 to 4 has been a fun one to watch along the way and I would love to read your comments as to what your favorite memories have been so far and also what clips you expect to see in the new version of One Shining Moment when the 2010 champion is crowned on Monday night.

One thing that has made this year's tournament a lot of fun for me personally is having the Six Degrees of MVNUSID bracket contest in full effect with 52 of my friends and colleagues along for the ride. It has actually been the ideal way for me to kick off my blog and the premise behind it as I've introduced you to some of the people in my life using the avenue of sports to do it. The $25 gift card prize is a small price to pay to bring people from all walks of my life together.

Speaking of the bracket contest standings (and relating them back to the title of this blog entry), we are now down to three possible scenarios to determine the winner.

Before we get to scenarios, though, here is a quick look at the leaderboard. My wife, Carla (above with our two girls), is not only beating me handily...she is on top in the standings with 750 total points. She was one of three people to correctly pick two of the Final Four teams along with Eric Smith and Stacey Deal. She currently holds a 20-point lead over both Stacey and Sara Williams, who sit at 730 points. Alex Connell is a close fourth at 720 points.

Now, on to the scenarios. The only teams anyone in our bracket contest has remaining are Duke and West Virginia, who will play each other on Saturday night in the national semifinals. If Duke wins that game, then Carla (see her bracket below) will win the bracket contest regardless of who wins the national championship game on Monday since she picked Duke to be the national champion. Several other people picked Duke to win the national title, but none of them can catch Carla in total points.

If West Virginia beats Duke, that opens the door for either Stacey (Stacey's bracket) or Julie Burke (Julie's bracket) to win the overall title. For Stacey to win, she needs West Virginia to lose in the national championship game, while a Mountaineer national title would not only send West Virginia native Julie into a couch-burning tizzy, but also would provide her with some restaurant eating options courtesy of the $25 gift card since she picked WVU to cut down the nets. Michael MacEachern also picked West Virginia to win the title, but he would finish 10 points behind Julie in second place if that happens.

So, while most of us can now throw our brackets out and root for our favorite team left in the tournament, there is still some excitement left as we head into the final weekend of college hoops action. It's been a great journey and I'm glad that each of you has been along for the ride.

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