Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Daily Quickie Readers Challenge Final

Congrats to N. Jansen, whose "neily27" entry rode Duke's national title to a crushing championship in the 2010 Daily Quickie Readers group of the Tournament Challenge.

Jansen's bracket not only included Duke as the champ, but included Butler (!!!) and West Virginia in the Final Four.

ESPN.com ranks Jansen's bracket as the 775th best in the entire field of umpteen million brackets.

Jansen: Email me to claim the coveted prize -- a guest-post on DanShanoff.com, to be redeemed at your convenience.

As for me, I finished 256th out of 414. My place in the 37th percentile is roughly twice where I finished a year ago, so I presume that qualifies as progress.

Mrs. Quickie finished 22nd overall (3rd among folks who didn't pick Duke as champ) and in the 93rd percentile nationally. (Did I marry well or what?)

President Obama didn't come close to last year's finish in the 80th percentile -- he barely cracked the 50th percentile. Then again, not having any Final Four teams will do that for you.

If you used the National Bracket, things weren't much better -- again, a function of the N.B. being very chalk-heavy. And yet, if I had followed it, I would have finished in the 60th percentile.

In my bracket autopsy of vicious hindsight, I shouldn't have doubted Tom Izzo. I should have doubted Kentucky's freshmen. I had the right idea in the West, taking Butler to the Elite Eight -- if I was sure Onuaku was going to be out, oh what could have been!

And as for Duke, I let blind loathing -- not to mention memories of the past few years' Tournament debacles -- cloud the evidence that was plain from Ken Pomeroy's advanced stats: Duke had the best combination of offense and defense in the country, by a wide margin.

I always stumble in the same way: I allow myself to be too influenced by what happened last year. So, naturally, next year I won't doubt Duke, and they'll go back to losing. Or I'll take Butler all the way, only to have them stumble early as a 1- or 2-seed.

The only constant -- besides my wife kicking my ass -- is that I continue to talk myself into dumb choices. After last season's debacle, this season I figured I would go "safe," and it totally backfired. I don't know where I go from here.

But, as always, I appreciate all of you joining me in bracket madness. This was as fun -- and unpredictable -- a year as we could have asked for.

Next year: 96. Maybe that will be my format....

-- D.S.

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