Saturday, March 26, 2011

And Then There Were Eight...

Well, the madness has continued and now we have reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. There continue to be plenty of great games, surprising upsets, and dominating performances along the way. And, it’s starting to take its toll on the brackets.

After breezing through the early rounds unscathed and moving up to as high as 24th overall out of 5.9 million entries worldwide, Six Degrees of MVNUSID contest leader and WBNS Channel 10 weatherman Josh Poland who had at least a 50-point lead on the rest of the field after the first two rounds saw his bracket begin to evaporate like dew on a summer morning. He went 0-for-4 on the first day of the Sweet Sixteen before finally getting two picks right on the second day, but it was enough of a hit that it dropped him back into fourth place – 70 points behind the top spot.

Speaking of the top spot, we have a new leader atop the standings. George Hartz, one of my running buddies and the captain of the Mount Vernon Police Department, correctly picked five of the Elite Eight winners to blow past the rest of the field and take a 60-point lead on his nearest challengers. Although he has a passion for Krispy Kreme donuts (see the photo from his 40th birthday party), he told me that PF Changs would be his restaurant of choice if he won. And who can blame him…their lettuce wraps are amazing!

However, George is going to have to be perfect the rest of the way as his predicted champion, Ohio State, along with 11 other contestants in the current top 20, was knocked out by Kentucky on a last-second shot last night. Here's a look at George's bracket below:

That leaves the door open for several people to possibly move into the top spot as the Elite Eight games begin on Saturday. Nate Okuley, one of my former student workers and a current MVNU admissions counselor, and Josh Wood, another former MVNU student and WNZR sports announcer who has stayed around the top of the leaderboard for most of the contest, are currently tied for second place. Nate has the best chance to win the overall title with a whopping 880 possible points still remaining in his bracket and North Carolina as his predicted national champion. Josh still has his predicted champion, Kentucky, on the board along with 560 possible points remaining.

Well, as the games continue on Saturday, we've also reached the point where 18 of the 68 people in the contest have already been eliminated due to having either no possible points remaining or not enough to catch the current leader. There are still 17 entrants with their predicted national champion still alive, and amazingly even the person in 67th place right now, Niki Murray, has a chance to win it all since she has UCONN still alive as her champion. Stay tuned to see what happens!

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