Monday, March 28th, 2011

The Awl Bracket Contest Update: The One Where Readers Find Out That The Tournament Is Still Going On!

Believe it or not, the NCAA college basketball tournament is still going on! In fact, it's a very exciting tournament that is currently taking place! Upsets (teams that are seeded lower and less favored to win, are defeating teams that are higher seeded and more favored to win!) are happening left and right! Here's how crazy it is: Of the almost 6 million brackets filled out on ESPN, only TWO of them correctly predicted the Final Four (the four teams that make it to the semifinals) correctly. That is a very low percentage! I'm not sure if you'll believe this, but none of the intrepid Awl sports fans were also unable to correctly predict the Final Four. Sad face! But we still have updates to be done!

VCU is in Richmond! People are really into talking about this for some reason. The "TWO TEAMS FROM RICHMOND" fact was one that was mentioned repeatedly and emphatically when Richmond and VCU both made the Sweet Sixteen. Not sure why people are so into Richmond, Virginia.

College players aren't getting paid but their coaches are! The narrative of college athletes not getting paid is always hovers over the conversation, but it seems especially noteworthy this weekend when you consider that Kentucky coach John Calipari made $175,000 with yesterday's win to send Kentucky to the Final Four. That makes his haul for this school year more than $4 million dollars. In comparison, the college players will make $0, maybe some free clothes depending on the school's athletic sponsorships, and will be very seriously penalized if any other earnings from outside sources are reported. That seems a little unfair right?

But enough about real sports issues, what about The Awl's bracket contest(?)! Curiously enough, someone who's username is "Bryan H" has a bracket named "Shannon" and this person is in first. Isn't that weird? What is this person's real name? Is it Shannon? Is it actually a woman using someone else's (Bryan H's) account to fill out her bracket? What's their relationship like? Dating? Newly exclusive? Are things going well? Too much too soon? Did he fill out her bracket for her? Is he still paying for everything? That's nice of him. I hope he doesn't expect anything in return though. That would be unfair to Shannon. Realistically they will be winning this whole contest (hopefully we'll be invited to their wedding) because they have the highest point potential left, with Kentucky winning the national championship.

Otherwise it seems like everyone else is doing pretty miserably, not only do we all not have the relationship and companionship that Bryan and Shannon have, but we are also incredibly miserable at picking sports team winners. Adam and Edith, because of their UConn picks and with many thanks to Kemba Walker, are still in the mix to finish in the top 5 (which is good because we're not giving anyone anything for finishing 2nd place and below). No other Awl pals are faring particularly well: "Deep Omega", "KarenUhOh", Lindsay Robertson, and "Boy of Destiny" are also in the mix, but, in case I haven't made it entirely clear yet, this is all really Bryan and Shannon's contest to lose. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we're all rooting for them though.

23 Comments / Post A Comment

Murgatroid (#2,904)

Holy shit, even Screen Name is beating me now :(((((((

On the other hand, I'm beating cherrispryte (did I spell that last part correctly?) now!!!

cherrispryte (#444)


I'm starting to think Screen Name could take this whole thing.

deepomega (#1,720)

Kind of think the only chance I have to win is to go in and write my name on someone else's bracket. (That's how this works, right? You guys have all the brackets printed out, in the top drawer of a desk?)

Abe Sauer (#148)

Thank you for not linking to that abomination.

cherrispryte (#444)


keisertroll (#1,117)

I have a waterlogged signed copy of former NFL placekicker and one-time Wheel Of Fortune host Rolf Benirschke's autobiography. You can have that if you want.

garge (#736)


tigolbitties (#2,150)

i checked it at one point this weekend and i was tied for fourth, and i thought to myself: holy shit, how did that happen. i realize now it was a fluke.

gumplr (#66)

re: coaches getting paid, I'm more put off by how quickly some of the losing coaches have popped up on ESPN. Pitino's Cardinals, for example, lost a close 4-13 matchup in the "second" round, and the next day Pitino's on a set in Bristol with another coach opining on the rest of the field.

'Conflict of interest' doesn't really apply because A) the financial incentives to win that are built into these coaches' contracts have to be greater than whatever one-off fee they're collecting from ESPN so B) it's not like they're trying to throw games to get a desk gig, obviously, and C) assuming A and B, their on-air analysis doesn't have any impact on how the actual tourney plays out.

That said, I'd be a little hurt and a lot ticked off if my coach did such a quick turnaround. As a player, to spend a long season, maybe even a full four years, playing for a team and a coach, to have listened to that coach's dozens of pump up speeches about the purity of the game and importance of teamwork and every other lockerroom trope, to suffer a heartbreak tournament lost, to likely hear that coach say something like "I wouldn't trade these kids for any other team out there" at the post-game presser, and then to see him getting paid for his subjective analysis the very next day…? Sort of cheapens the coach/team/athlete relationship a bit, at least to me.

(Pitino's not the only coach, just the first that came to mind.)

brent_cox (#40)

Freakin' Cinderellas.

Itisnobigdeal (#3,290)

Go Rams!

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Mr. Cho is operating under a very liberal definition of "in the mix."

KarenUhOh (#19)

Well said. I think I can win if the Final Four is canceled.

Bittersweet (#765)

Well, it was fun while it lasted. But who cares because UConn in in the Final Four…go Huskies!

C. J. Bradford (#9,317)

I wish I was not a poor college kid so I could go to Houston to see them play.

David Cho (#3)

I'm sorry about before.

David Cho (#3)

Also, they have $20 student tickets for students of the schools in the Final Four!

Bittersweet (#765)

No worries, David.

Br. Seamus (#217)

146th Place is better than no place, or whatever place Dan Shanoff is in.

kneetoe (#1,881)

This is the time of year I always find myself arguing (mostly in my head, but LOUDLY IN MY HEAD)that there is an inverse relationship between knowledge about basketball and bracket success.

I'm consoling myself with the fact that, at 133rd, I'm tied with Hockeymom.


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