Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NCAA Tourney 2011: Nicole's Crystal Ball (Part 3)

The dust has settled and Nicole won both bracket contests she entered again this year.  So whether it makes any sense or not, we have to allow for the fact that whatever she is doing works.  How well?  She ranked in the 98th percentile nationally on Yahoo! and approximately 1.1 million people were entered there.  So pretty well.

As you will see from her picks and reasoning below, and as I've written before, she is partial to cougars (or similar), the color blue, states/schools she likes or has some connection to, schools that start with "V", single-word names, intimidating mascots, private/Catholic schools, and, if all else fails, better seeds.  She also said this year that she was against schools in NFL cities because of the lockout (actually it was because she got me the Sunday Ticket for Christmas and I may not get to enjoy it because of the lockout).  She also said that she no longer favors schools from the South or around New Orleans because the Saints won the Super Bowl.

As always, I told her the schools, seeds and mascots.  Sometimes she asked for more information like colors, cities and public/private.  Sometimes she knew that already.  Believe it or not, no alcohol was consumed prior to picking, but it was really late at night.

East Round 2
Ohio State over UTSA: "Aren't the Buckeyes that fat guy? But I don't want to look stupid, so I pick the far people.  They'll motivate me to lose weight." Result: correct
George Mason over Villanova: "Tough because it's a V school.  But National Treasure had the Masons and Nicholas Cage needs a break. Result: correct
Clemson over West Virginia: "Clementine oranges: cute name though Tigers are way better." Result: incorrect, West Virginia went on to the 3rd round.
Princeton over Kentucky: "Wildcats vs. Tiger is a great battle.  Let's do Princeton; I really like them.  And KFC sucks." Result: incorrect, Kentucky went on to the Final Four. [Note: Nicole knows nothing about Princeton basketball and presumably likes them because they're smart kids.]
Xavier over Marquette: "Isn't 'Xavier' spelled with an 'x'?  That guy from X-Men is pretty bad-ass.  That would be a huge word on Words with Friends [like scrabble]." Result: incorrect, Marquette went on to the Sweet 16.
Syracuse over Indiana State: "Didn't Syracuse win last year? [No]  Jeff [Suss, a former colleague] went there and he has to move to Portland.  Orangemen is a really cool mascot, like my Clementines!  Sycamores is lame dude.  Trees?" Result: correct [Note: When I told her that Larry Bird went to Indiana State, she said, "Bird is overrated."]
Georgia over Washington: "Peaches [Andy Etters, a former ultimate teammate] is from Georgia.  Do they have the NFL? [They both do.]  Oh man, the Seahawks is Pete Carroll.  Bulldogs vs. Huskies...hmm...that's a tough one.  I really don't like Carroll." Result: incorrect, Washington went on to the 3rd round.
North Carolina over Long Island: "Long Island is barely even a state. [In fact, it's not one.] I know UNC is good and plus, they match USD's colors." Result: correct

West Round 2
Duke over Hampton: "The Hamptons suck.  The Hamptons is like wannabe-Malibu.  It's all rocks.  Stupid." Result: correct [Note: She's never been to the Hamptons and I think she's thinking of Cape Cod.]
Michigan over Tennessee: "Right off the bat, I was thinking Wolverines because we already have a Xavier.  That would be cool.  Plus, "Volunteer"?  That's really your mascot?  Does a Wolverine have claws?  Wait, is it a fictional character? [She forgets that it's a real animal every year.] I feel like Wolverines is better than Cougars." Result: incorrect, Michigan went on to the 3rd round.  [Note: This Wolverines vs. Cougars thing really floored me.  Cougar-superiority has been at the core of her entire system for years.  I though she was doomed after this.]
Arizona over Memphis: "Wildcats are pretty sissy, right...vs. a tiger?  David Levin [co-worker] went to Arizona and I promised him one.  He made me feel welcome at work." Result: correct
Texas over Oakland: "Isn't that the Texas where Wendy went?  Oakland here sucks.  But I do work there.  Oh, Wendy.  Screw her!  She moved away from us.  What's the other team's number? [13 vs. 4].  No chance.  Plus, I like Wendy. [Note: We actually moved away almost a year before Wendy did, but she did move further.]
Missouri over Cincinnati: "Bearcats?  That name is just too long.  But I had an old boyfriend that went to Mizzou.  How can I take that school seriously?  How do you even spell Cincinnati?  Oh!  The Bengals!  F those guys." Result: incorrect, Cincinnati went on to the 3rd round.
Connecticut over Bucknell: "Buck 'em off the list!" Result: correct [Note: she was extremely proud of this pun.  Jim Nantz would have been, as well.]
Penn State over Temple: "Stupidest mascots ever. [I explained that a Nittany Lion is a local mountain lion.] You have a Penn State shirts, right?  And 'Owl'?  Seriously?" Result: incorrect, Temple went on to the 3rd round.
San Diego State over Northern Colorado: "SDSU is a 2?  Northern Colorado...too many words ["San Diego State" has more words] Both have NFL teams, so it's a tie.  Go with the numbers [seeds]." Result: correct

Southwest Round 2
Kansas over Boston: "Terriers?  Like the dog?  Those are kick-dogs." Result: correct [A kick-dog is apparently a dog small enough to punt.]
Illinois over UNLV: "How can you even take a school seriously from Las Vegas?" Result: correct
Vanderbilt over Richmond: "Spiders?  Jeff [Donlevy, my brother-in-law] went to Vandy and it's a "V" school.  And he let us stay at their house for a week over Christmas.  And he gave us Dom Perignon at New Years!" Result: incorrect, Richmond went on to the Sweet 16.
Morehead State over Louisville: "I have a hard time taking that one seriously because it sounds like Louis Vuitton.  Morehead is funny.  Go with the funny one." Result: correct [Note: It's moment like this where you realize her genius.  She thinks sounding like a designer disqualifies you from winning, but a penis joke makes you win.]
Georgetown over Virginia Commonwealth: "Too many words." Result: incorrect, VCU went on to the Final Four.
St. Peter's over Purdue: "I like St. Peter's Basilica.  And it's Catholic and private.  Is the other one Catholic?  [No]  Both mascots are kinda lame.  14 over 3...that's impossible.  But 'Purdue' sounds like 'poo.'" Result: incorrect, Purdue went on to the 3rd round.
Texas A&M over Florida State: "Aggies?  Well that's stupid.  Although Jim and Steve [my brothers] were Aggies [at UC Davis].  Wait, is this the Florida that does the 'chomp, chomp'?  [No, this is the tomahawk-ones.]  That tomahawk thing is annoying and pretentious.  I pick the non-Florida one.  I mean, what are they, hailing Hitler?" Result: incorrect, Florida State went on to the Sweet 16.
Notre Dame over Akron: "Notre Dame!  Yeah!  Catholic and Irish!  I don't know the other one, 'Zips' is pretty sick, dude." Result: correct

Southeast Round 2
Pittsburgh over UNC-Asheville: "Panthers, ooh, that's like a cougar." Result: correct
Butler over Old Dominion: "Monarchs?  Butterflies?  Gimme a break." Result: correct [Note: "Monarchs" actually refers to actual monarchs, not butterflies.]
Utah State over Kansas State: "No more wildcats.  Kansas has the Chiefs, so Utah it is!" Result: incorrect, Kansas State went on to the 3rd round. [Note: when I told her that the KC Chiefs play in Missouri, not Kansas, she said, "That's stupid.  Why did the NFL name them the 'Kansas City Chiefs' then?"]
Wisconsin over Belmont: "Didn't that horse die at the Belmont?  Anthony and Adria [friends] and my cousins went to Wisconsin. Result: correct [Note: I think she's thinking of Barbaro who was put down after breaking his leg at the Preakness in 2006.  Either way, impressive knowledge.]
Gonzaga over St. John's: "I really don't like St. John's because Angelina Jolie is the spokesperson.  And Justin Howard [friend]!  WCC-representation!" Result: correct [Note: I have no idea what the Angelina Jolie line means.]
UCLA over Michigan State: "U-C-L-A-fight-fight-fight!  I feel like if you've been to a game, you should root for them.  Unless they're a-holes.  Like Chargers fans.  Screw SDSU." Result: correct
Florida over UCSB: "Chomp-chomp! Santa Barbara is a part school.  Plus, Chris [Valente, a longtime friend of mine and UCSB alumnus] GTL's."  Result: correct

I will continue with the rest of Nicole's picks tomorrow.  She was a pedestrian 21-11 with this picks in the first round, but these things aren't won in the first round anyway.

Part 1: Results through the Round of 64
Part 2: Statistical Comparisons of Nicole's system vs. AP, RPI, seeds and Sagarin through Round of 32
Part 4: Nicole's Round of 32 through Championship picks
Part 5: Final Statistical Results (coming Thursday)
Tourney Bonus Coverage: The Jim Nantz-pun-o-meter game (coming soon)

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