Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Final Four Chronicles - The Finals

The Finals are here, and we all expect Villanova to run right through Michigan.  Michigan just doesn't have enough people that can score for them, and Villanova has those players, everywhere, even on the bench.  Here is our the route we took to the final game.

8:55 - Everyone is awake.

9:28 - Hopps and Pepster head to the store/coffee shop for well, coffee and breakfast.  Three doors down there is a gentlemen outside his house (decrepit with a weed-ridden yard) pointing at things and discussing with a woman who looked like she was a neighbor walking down the sidewalk before he stopped her.  Hopps says, "Is he trying to convince her that his house is nice?"  We were pretty sure that he was hitting on her.

10:07 - Hopps pulls into the Church's Fried Chicken parking lot as the sign on the door says they open at 10.  (Yes, there was a Church's in our neighborhood).  Hopps goes to the door, but it is locked.  Waits for several minutes until he sees someone inside and goes back to the door.  It turns out the sign says open at 10:30.  Hopps blames his glaucoma.

Entire morning - We do work.  It is a Monday after all.

12:20 - Uber downtown.

12:28 - We pass the Texas Liver Institute, conveniently located within blocks of the Riverwalk.

12:31 - Strong opening presence for Villanova.

12:36 - At MadDogs for lunch.

12:45 - 8 ladies in Villanova garb sit down at the table near us and immediately order shots of Jameson's.  We take bets as to whether they will make it to the game or not.

13:13 - This bar serves Coors Lite or water in tins that resemble large solo cups.  The cans are Coors Lite swag given to the bar.  Sinickal asks the bartender if he can have his water in a regular cup and his Bud Light in the tin.  The bartender tells him that it would feel like lying if he did that since the cups were from Coors Lite, and then continues, "I only lie to girls."  The other bartender has no such qualms.

14:10 - Finish lunch and go to the Alamo.  This is the quickest academic trip any of us have ever taken.

15:00 - Some homeless guys on the Riverwalk go to toast us because they also have "energy drinks".  The toast ends with them saying, "And don't forget to, uh ... uh ... well ... just be careful tonight."

15:25 - At Durty Nelly's on Riverwalk.  As we approach the bar a piano player is playing Country Roads.  Pepster remarks that "If he really liked country roads, he wouldn't have flown his own airplane!"

15:32 - See a lady walking wearing a "Michigan Alumna" shirt.  Pepster applaudes her because it says "alumna" where all the rest of the shirts say "alumni", and this annoys admittedly way more than it should.

15:40 - As we sit at the outside patio tables at Durty Nelly's, gusts of wind blow all types of "things" off the trees on the Riverwalk.  Hopps is annoyed (go figure).  Hopps responds that, "In Quincy [MA} the trash is on the streets."  Sinickal reminds  him that "In Quincy, the trash walks the streets!"

15:41 - Pepster just responds to Hopps (about something different from the above statement), "Really Hopps?  We are in public!"

15:43 - After a random discussion, Sinickal mentions that, "We party so hard we brought our lawyer.".  Lady sitting alone at the table next to Hopps and Pepster and across from Tony and Sinickal finally laughs.  It should be noted that she is alone because her husband has been out of the restaurant on the phone for about 20 minutes.  She has been trying to ignore us, but this line brought her into the conversation.

15:45 - Sinickal decides that next year we all share our phones with each other's location finders because "Racsan always turns right".  Racsan in this situation is Hopps, and it is Nascar spelled backwards.  (For those that don't understand, the Nascar races on ovals, or most of the races, only include left turns.  This is not the first nickname for Hopps (See "K-Fed" 2007; See also De Angelo Russell 2016).

15:46 - The husband of the lady at the table next to us returns from phone calls and texts.  It turns out he is just like us, travelling to as many final fours as possible.  This is also his fourth in a row, just as it is for Pepster, Sinickal and Tony.  It's Hopps's third out of four years.  We tentatively make plans to meet in Minneapolis.

15:48 - It is becoming increasingly hot outside.  Sinickal wants to find some air conditioner, at states, "We need some shade."  Hopps responds that "I have been trying to throw shade for 4 days!"

16:00 - We meet Mike and Larissa at The River's Edge.  Mike is a fellow member at Sinickal's golf club in the D.C. area.

16:00 - 18:00 - Mostly radio silence as we try to make Hopps behave in front of Mike and Larissa.

18:22 - While discussing a memorial golf tourney in honor of Dr. Hopps, which will be in D.C. later this year, Sinickal tells Mike that "This is something that you want to be a part of",  Mike, grasping his beer for another sip says, "Thing is, I don't drink."

18:41 - We seea young girl walking on a stone wall on the Riverwalk near her parents but not really paying attention to her surroundings.  She hits a tree, causing her to fall onto the wall and then onto the sidewalk.  We think she is OK.

As an aside, we have no idea how more people don't fall into the river at the Riverwalk.  The walkways are narrow, made mostly of uneven stone, with no guardrails of any kind, with too many people, and lots of beverages.  It is a good thing the river is only about 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep.

19:00 - We notice that at the table next to us is Tubby Smith, Lute Olson, and their respective wives.  Go Cats!

19:02 - Hopps actually takes a picture with Tubby Smith, but Hopps doesn't share.

19:34 - After finally getting our tab (boy is service generally bad here), we head to the Alamodome.

20:01 - In the concourse, see 3 of 8 Villanova girls that had the early Jameson shot at lunch.  I guess some of them were able to make the game.

20:08 - In seats for the championship game.

20:12 - 20:14 - After watching Michigan's dapmaster, we determine that a dapmaster is somebody that everyone should recruit for their team!

20:20 - Tipoff.  Mostly radio silence.

21:47 - Villanova's band plays Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas.  After destroying Kansas in the semi-finals, this is funny.

22:30 - Villanova Wildcats - YOUR NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!!!

As a side note on the game, despite jumping out to a lead, the Wolverines never had a chance, especially once Mo Wagner caught a personal and a double foul on the same play early in the second half.  He was legitimately the only scoring threat on Michigan's team, and he had to monitor his play in the second half to keep from getting an early fourth.  This is coincidentally when Donte DiVincenzo went on his second run of the game.  We glossed him "Donny Buckets!"

22:45 - Villanova's band plays All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled.

22:52 - One Shining Moment!  The pinnacle of the Final Four.

22:57 - Sarah Spain tweats, "Is it better to be on One Shining Moment crying, or not on One Shining Moment.  We all agree the former.

As an aside, watching a game like this while simultaneously monitoring social media - especially twitter - is AMAZING!!!! (Assuming your follow sports writers and commentators).

23:18 - Off the Alamodome campus.

23:31 - Meet up with Hopps at Durty Nelly's.  (Hopps left before the end of the game to beat the rush).

00:38 - Order Uber home.  The drive that picks us up is the same driver that took us to Riverwalk.

00:40 - We try to calculate the percentage likelihood that this would happen.  Driver reminds us that only 30% of Uber vehicles classify as "Uber XL".

00:56 - Go to sleep.  Pepster has to leave at 5:00 to go to the airport in the morning.

00:57 - Immediately start planning to go to Minneapolis 2019.

NCAA Tournament Pool - Final Results

No real analysis out, because frankly, I am basketballed out!  Been a long, but great tournament.  I will say congratulations to our winner Day Yi 2 of New York City, who had Villanova as his champion and Michigan in the Final Four.  Congratulations to our second place entry of Carolyn Fowler and Jane Reynolds (joint entry) of Wellington, Florida, who rode Villanova to their second place finish.

For the first time in the history of my pool, I have had to employ the tiebreaker.  Losing the tiebreaker and finishing out of the money is Thomas Bean 1 of Palm Beach Gardens, who also had Villanova as his champion.  He lost due to the tiebreaker of first round games correct, and in that round Thomas went 22-10.

Before I announce the third place winner of our tiebreaker, I want to explain why I have the tiebreaker the way I do.  First off, total points for the finals seem a bit off for me, as everyone is guesstimating the totals based upon their projected finalists, who may not even be in the game.  Second, people who select a lot of games correctly often fall behind early in the standings to those that pick more upsets correctly because of the bonus point structure.  This tiebreaker makes people at least think about which upsets they pick instead of just picking as many as possible to get the bonus points.  Nevertheless, our third place winner went 23-9, only one game better than Thomas Bean 1.  She also had a finals matchup of Villanova over Michigan - the only person in the pool to have both games correct.  Congratulations to Arlene Amo Hopps of Quincy, Massachussetts.

Also congratulations to me for being the highest ranking Sosa, and to all of you that finished the highest in your family/friends group so that you having bragging rights for the next year.

A little special recognition to Dan Barsky of Miami Beach, who amassed the highest point total without correctly having the champion.  Dan finishes in 10th place.

I will be sending out payments shortly, as SOME PEOPLE STILL NEED TO PAY!!!  I could be cordial and just hope you see this statement and pay me quickly, or, I could be rude and post everyone who did not pay to publicly shame them.  Or I suppose I could contact you privately.  Guess which type of person I am?!

If you paypaled me, I can paypal your winnings back.  If you paid by cash, check or in person, let me know how you would like to receive your payments.


1.  Day Yi 2 - 121 - Villanova

2.  Carolyn Fowler and Jane Reynolds - 113 - Villanova

3.  Arlene Amo Hopps - 111 - Villanova over Michigan
     Thomas Bean 1 - 111 - Villanova

5.  Rich Samuels 2 - 110 - Villanova

6.  Jessica Samuels - 109 - Villanova

7.  Sasha Moon - 105 - Villanova
     Steven Usma 2 - 105 - Villanova

9.  Max Macon 3 - 100 - Villanova

10.  Dan Barsky - 97 - Virginia

11.  Josh and Katie Zdrowak - 96 - Villanova

12.  Katie Kollmeyer - 67 - Villanova

13.  Katie Zdrowak - 93 - Villanova

14.  Noel Martinez 2 - 92 - Villanova

15.  Chris Kroesen - 91 - Xavier

16.  James Garvin - 90 - Villanova
       Steven Usma 5 - 90 - Villanova

18.  Pepe Sosa - 89 - Villanova
      George Walks 3 - 89 - Virginia

20.  Paul Cummings - 87 - Villanova

21.  Kent Armstrong - 86 - Villanova

22.  Dan Laishley - 84 - Virginia
       Max Macon 4 - 84 - Virginia
       Glen Merchant - 84 - Villanova

25.  Jacey Fowler 1 - 83 - North Carolina
       Debbie Igdaloff Nieman - 83 - Virginia

27.  Martha Kroesen - 82 - Villanova
       Day Yi 1 - 82 - Virginia
       Joshua Zdrowak - 82 - Kansas

30.  Colleen Hamilton 2 - 80 - Villanova
       Anthony LaPira - 80 - Michigan State
       Allison Parker - 80 - Virginia

33.  Rich Samuels 1 - 79 - Kansas
       Steven Usma 3 - 79 - Michigan

35.  Col. Kareem Montague - 78 - Villanova
       Barkley Sosa - 78 - Kentucky

37.  Michael Litsey - 77 - Villanova

38.  Jeremy Spuhler - 76 - Duke
       George Walks 6 - 76 - Michigan State

40.  Bill Ganoe 2 - 75 - Virginia

41.  Greg Kummerlen - 74 - North Carolina
       Jane Reynolds - 74 - Michigan State

43.  Adam Jorgensen 2 - 72 - Michigan State
       Ty Leatherman - 72 - Virginia
       Biscuit Zdrowak - 72 - Michigan State

46.  Carolyn Fowler 71 - Kansas
       Jeff Plamodon - 71 - Virginia
       Bryan van Gorder - 71 - North Carolina
       George Walks 4 - 71 - North Carolina

50.  Matt Hopps - 70 - Virginia
       Kyle Sheehan - 70 - Duke

52.  Jen Armstrong - 69 - Michigan State
       Thomas Bean 2 - 69 - Michigan State
       Jim Coleman - 69 - Gonzaga
       Duncan Merchant - 69 - Virginia
       Brittany Sosa - 69 - Duke

57.  Alvaro Gonzalez - 68 - Michigan State
       Cheryl Spuhler - 68 - Duke

59.  Colleen Hamilton 1 - 67 - Virginia
       Adam Jorgensen 1 - 67 - Duke
       Edy Pecan - 67 - Michigan
       Wes Wiggins 1 - 67 - Arizona

63.  Albert Harper III - 66 - Michigan State
       Mango Merchant - 66 - Michigan State

65.  Silas Nichols - 65 - Arizona

66.  Abigail Sosa - 66 - Michigan State

67.  Steffan Alexander - 63 - Florida
       Bill Danner - 63 - Virginia
       Measha Williams 2 "Upset City"- 63 - Duke

70.  Steven Usma 1 - 62 - Kansas

71.  Cathy Donahue - 61 - Duke
       Steve Jorgensen - 61 - Arizona
       Max Macon 2 - 61 - Michigan State
       Justin Yung - 61 - North Carolina

75.  Hannah Sosa - 60 - Florida
       George Walks 2 - 60 - Kansas

77.  Bill Ganoe 1 - 59 - North Carolina
       Max Macon 1 - 59 - Kansas
       Noel Martinez 1 - 59 - Duke
       Traci Sheehan - 59 - Duke
       Measha Williams 3 "Spread" - 59 - Virginia

82.  Jenna Finkelstein - 58 - North Carolina
       George Walks 1 - 58 - Kansas
       Keith Zdrowak - 58 -  Duke

85.  Colleen Hamilton 3 - 57 - North Carolina

86.  Kingfish Rod Parham - 56 - Kentucky

87.  Brent Bellinger - 55 - Virginia
       Measha Williams 1 - "Gut" - 55 - Virginia

89.  Joe Carter - 54 - Virginia
       Jonathan Wasserman - 54 - Duke
91.  Wes Wiggins 2 - 53 - Michigan State

92.  Samantha Sheehan - 52 - Duke
       Steven Usma 4 - 52 - Duke
94.  David Peterson - 51 - Virginia

95.  Bill Foman - 48 - North Carolina
       Jacey Fowler 2 - 48 - Cincinnati

97.  Mac Kroesen - 47 - Gonzaga

98.  Carter Alexander - 46 - Florida
      Amy Zdrowak - 46 - Michigan State

100.  Karen Katz - 45 - Virginia

101.  George Walks 5 - 44 - Arizona

102.  Eric Inge - 42 - Virginia

103.  Doug Tuttle - 36 - Florida

104.  Griffey Parker - 31 - Xavier

105.  Ashley Poer - 30 - Virginia

Unknown - Matt Nieman - I still need to talk to you about my bracket question! - YES STILL!!!