And, again, this is awkward.
Every year we do a March Madness pool. This goes back to the first year we were open, so this was our 6th annual pool. Every year it gets bigger. This year we had 19 excited, hopeful participants. In the end, of course, only one could win.
This year, the lucky winner was Nancy! (Me.) This photo was taken at the NCAA championship in Atlanta in 2013, when our beloved Louisville Cardinals brought home the title. This is pretty much irrelevant to this post other than I like the memory. (Also, I have this picture posted on our Mike’s Cigar Room Wall of Shame to commemorate my victory in the pool. My daughter Sarah saw this yesterday and said, “That’s the picture you want to go with?” I don’t know what she meant by that.)
Also, may I say, with all possible modesty, that this is the 3rd time in 6 years I have won this pool. To those who think the fix is in, take it up with Yahoo. I don’t do the scoring.
The fun part about the Mike’s Cigar Room pool is it makes watching the games at the shop so much more fun and exciting. Games in the first couple of rounds that might otherwise generate very little interest suddenly become riveting. There were some great games this year, even very early.
So, anyway, what was my strategy going in? Strategy may be too strong a word. I won because I made 2 picks that just happened to work. One, I took Wisconsin over Kentucky in the semi-final game, and then Duke over Wisconsin in the final. That’s pretty much it.
Going into the Final Four, the odds on favorite in our pool was David Holmes, who called his bracket “The Spectre of Ashley Judd.” This is a bit of a shot at Kentucky and its fan base. I got it immediately. If Kentucky won the national championship, as it was an overwhelming favorite to do, David would win no matter what else happened at that point.
From the beginning, I didn’t necessarily think Kentucky would lose to anyone. But I reasoned my only real path to victory was to take somebody other than Kentucky, since so many others would be making the safer bet. I decided Wisconsin had the big guys and the general ability to hang with them. Then, because Duke has the most efficient offense in the country, I took them to knock off Wisconsin.
Pretty simplistic analysis. There was a lot of luck there.
Tim Yagley correctly picked all 4 Final Four teams, an incredible feat. Even 7th round Michigan State!
The pool came down to the last game. I had Duke and Tim had Wisconsin. Head to head, winner take all. It was such an exciting game. In the end, Duke managed to pull it off.
The prize was a gift certificate to Mike’s Cigar Room for $190.00.
This prize may seem like it’s of little financial benefit to me, since I pretty much take whatever I want from the humidor anyway. But it’s about the Glory that goes with it! Also, “To Nancy from The Losers?” Mike did that. I had nothing to do with it.
We had lots of return players in the pool. Mike, Brad, Brad’s wife Ashley, Chris Harris, Tom McClung and former champ Jerry Winter, just to name a few. Also, the ever optimistic Duc Nguyen, who called his bracket “This is My Year.” It wasn’t.
Hope you were able to play. If not, we’ll do it again next year! It will only get bigger!
Mike, Nancy, Brad & Tony