2018 Update II

March Madness Update II

March 26, 2018

“No corruption, No shoe contracts, No blue chip recruits, No one and done.  Loyola of Chicago makes the final four.” 

Upsets continued on opening night of the Sweet Sixteen,  Most unpredictable tournament to date!.  Gonzaga handled easily by Florida State by 15.  Big Blue Kentucky who most felt had a walk in the park to the Final Four was upset by the other Wildcats of Kansas State 61-58.  Loyola of Chicago continued their winning ways by dispatching Nevada in a nail biter, 69-68.  Only Michigan, the higher seed, triumphed over Texas A&M with ease 99-72.  Thursday night’s action saw two #9 seeds and a #11 seed advance to the Elite Eight.  Order was restored Friday night as the remaining # 1 seeds prevailed.  Jalen Brunson led Villanova with 27 points to overtake the game in the second half and send the Mountaineers back to West Virginia, 90-78.  Kansas again looked solid yet not prolific in easily taking out Clemson despite an honorable comeback late in the game, 80-76.  Duke beat Syracuse.  Purdue laid an egg. Texas Tech was good enough.  Bad basketball to end the evening.  

    Leaders after Round 3

As the weekend brought us to the Elite Eight, 5 of 8 surprise teams remained.  Congratulations to the following top ten prognosticators who held the lead after the first three rounds of the madness.

1st- Ryan Doyle7th- James Byer

2nd- Olivia O’Connor8th- Chad Crisp

3rd- Chris Casaburo(Tie)- Keith Bratton

4th- Bill Cleary10th- Mike Brown

5th- Mike Cleary

(Tie)- Gerald Smith

Elite Eight Results

Loyola:  Miami, Tennessee, Nevada, and now Kansas State all go down.  This one however was not close.  The Ramblers came out hot and never looked back.  More points in the paint and a 78-62 victory.  The 11th seed and leaders of the Miami Valley Conference (Welcome Walter McCarty!), Loyola played with extreme confidence, belief in themselves, and divine intervention.  Banjo Bill was the only participant to have K State in the Final Four, and was poised to take a commanding lead in our madness pool, but unfortunately for Gramps, it wasn’t meant to be.  A good run however, rookie!  Blue Valley NW in Overland Park KS was high school home of Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson in case our fans from KC did not know.  Jerry Harkness, 1963 Loyola star and National Champion in the crowd today.  What say you Sister Jean?  Your team is going to the Final Four!!  Soon to be canonized and called Saint Jean if Loyola wins it all. 

Michigan:  Only 58 points scored for the team up north, compared to 99 in their previous encounter, but enough, as tenacious defense for the Wolverines silenced the Seminoles of Florida State.  Charles Matthews, a Kentucky transfer, led Michigan with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks and was named the West Region’s most outstanding player.  The game was close, back and forth, which made up for a lot of missed shots and opportunities, and ended inexplicably with Michigan up 58-54.  With 13 seconds left, Michigan got the ball.  Despite a Seminole in his grill, no foul was attempted, and FSU let the Wolverines run out the clock.  Coach Leonard Hamilton scowled in the post-game interview and said “the game was over”.  Hey, at least FSU covered the 4 1/2 point spread.

Villanova:  Upending #3 seeded Texas Tech in the East Regional, 71-59, with rebounds (51-33 with 20 offensive boards), free throws, and strong defense, the #1 seeded Wildcats did little on the three point line, but comfortably led this game, despite weak stats.  Balanced shooting and a comfortable demeanor allowed Villanova to reach the Final Four for the second time in the last three years. Keenan Evans was scoreless in the first quarter of the game, and Texas Tech shot but 30% from the field.  Not enough Whataburgers pre-game.  A dominant run of double digit victories puts Villanova in the driver’s seat to win the national title.   

Kansas:  In the final game of the Elite Eight in Omaha, two power programs faced off in the Midwest Regional.  #1 Kansas vs. #2 and favored Duke. Tight game early, tight calls, not much dropping. Game tied at 25 with 4 minutes left in the first half.  Duke held on to take the halftime lead in a high energy affair.  36-33 at the intermission.  Kansas broke out early in the first 4 minutes of the second half and took a 7 point lead. Marvin Bagley III brought Duke back and the game was tight. Udoka Azabuike played dominantly for Kansas but had to sit with 4 fouls with over 11 minutes to go. Knotted at 57 with 10 minutes to go.  Poor refereeing and a 7-0 run put Duke back in the lead with under 6 minutes to go.  Back and forth.  And before you knew it, Grayson Allen’s last shot comes in and out.  Overtime!!  Best game in the Elite Eight!  And in the end, Malik Newman of Kansas, 32 points, 13 points in overtime, 12 of 13 from the line, is the absolute hero as the Jayhawks win 85-81 and advance to their 15th final four.

And now, it’s……………

  On to the Alamo City!!

  Final Four awaits in San Antonio

#1 Villanova vs. #1 Kansas

#11 Loyola vs. #3 Michigan

    Current Leaders after Round 4. 

1st- Ryan Doyle - 11 point lead heading to San Antonio.  A rookie.  Who invited this guy to the party?  Another one of those Kansas City smart guys.  Engineer or something.  Works for Jack.  

2nd- Chad Crislip - Banking on a Jayhawk championship over Michigan and likely nothing but net and a March Madness victory.

3rd- Olivia O’Connor - Posted up early to the top ten but party is over for double ott.  Oh, Oh, but what a good run it was.

4th- Alan Newman - My oh my.  After all these years. The Newms is knocking at the door. Well just “open da doh”.  Best finish so far.  3 of the final 4.  Most possible points left in the pool, but it all comes down to Michigan.  Who would ever have thought that Loyola of Chicago might take you out.

5th- Lee Wagmeister - Pals with the Newms.  Another long time a comin’  Hearts on fire!    Hoping for Kansas to stay in the money or bypass is certain.  But perhaps as it appears, these are actually Kirsten’s picks?

6th- Stacy Payton - Big time donor and supporter of the Madness.  Best finish at this point of the tournament that I can remember.  Had only Purdue not boiled over.  The Wolverines may save you yet.  Keep that name in lights!

7th- Bill Cleary - Why I’m a Kansas man myself.  Long time listener.  First time caller.  Take that youngster.  Rookie in his 80’s.  Had only Kansas State won one more game.  Crowned and coronated.  Free to sip martinis and watch the sun rise.  But top ten recognition beats all. Tremendous inaugural performance

8th- Keith Bratton - Long time faithful follower and major supporter of the madness.  Another financial man in the top ten.  Friend of kindergarten classes and golfer extraordinaire.    

9th- Gerald Smith - They call me “Mr. Smith”.  And for good reason.  Friar town from Pawtucket needing the Big East to triumph

10th- Aaron Deloof - Da Loof, Da Loof, Da Loof is on fire.  Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.  But oh, points are no longer on the table.  Frame the tenth place.  It’s obviously over

Bridesmaid- Dave Simpson and Chris Casaburo - but that’s over too.  Nice ride Simpty and Cassman vying for a spot in the top ten and…

Last Place-Chris Casaburo.  Congratulations Cash Man, the International Man of Mystery.  Spent the last few years in the Mediterranean and recently returned from Brazil to make the deadline for the tournament.  Long time supporter and repeat last place winner IN THE YEAR 2000 (get out your flashlight Conan), takes home 4% of the prize pool.  

Tournament Recap 

Nearly 500 entries this year.  All a bit unofficial as of yet.  And what a leader board we currently have!  Most clever entry name goes to John RappThe Cleveland Browns.  Fitting. Can’t even win when trying to lose!  Runner up loser to Cassman.  Congratulations on last place Mr. Casaburo.  Welcome back to Churchill land.  No Louisville in this year’s tournament as the Cards Got Screwed says Danny Winn.  And for what?

20% of the entrants (99) chose Villanova to win it all.  That’s 1 out of 5.  If you picked ALL Favorites you would be currently in 385th place.  Once again, and especially this year, you are rewarded for picking the upsets!

Charity Information

Special thanks to all the March Madness participants who have donated additional dollars to charity.  Individual recognition in the next update!  But thanks for now to a few of our Fairy Godparents, donating directly to Ark Crisis Child Care Center:  Tom RosePaul KainrathChristy MillsPatrick KelleyKaren Rush, and Tony Stephens. Never to late to continue to contribute.  Money continues to roll in thanks to your benevolence.  Individual checks may be made out to any one of the following organizations and forwarded to me at the following address (or add additional funds to your entry fees):

John P. Morgan, MD

PO Box 1136

Newburgh, IN 47629

1 Lampion Center:  This organization has served our Evansville community for years, helping those that need assistance through life transitions and traumas.  The Lampion Center is the premier resource for affordable counseling for children, adults, and families who are experiencing trauma, life stress, relationship issues, parenting support, anxiety/depression, child behavior issues, and abuse/violence.  Please visit their website to find out more information.  lampioncenter.com

2 Ark Crisis Child Care Center:  We are supporting the Fairy Tale Ball!  This is truly an exceptional event held each year whereupon children through your generous support are sponsored to attend the ball at the country club.  Gowns and dresses, horse and carriage rides, dancing, and craftFavorite princesses and storybook characters are present as well.  March Madness and you have the opportunity to be a Fairy Godparent and send a child to the ball.  Cost is but $25 per child.  Make your additional check out to  Ark Crisis Child Care Center or simply include extra money with your entry fees.  See the pictures and videos by visiting the website at arkcrisis.org

3 Pals Animal Rescue:  We are including this organization which is actually in Wichita, to say thank you to our many supporters over the years from Kansas!                                    From Wichita to Kansas City, and points between, March Madness supporters hailing from this state have participated and donated generously for years.  Thank you so very much!

4 March Madness Endowment Fund:  Thanks to your generosity our endowed fund is now over $ 80,000.  Administered through the Warrick County Community Foundation, our fund assists in providing grant monies for children and youth services in southern Indiana.  Our last endeavor was a $1000 grant to Blue Grass Church to support the construction of an equipment storage building for Boy Scott Troop 350. Please consider an additional donation to support our ongoing endeavor. The principal of the fund always stays.  The interest money is eligible for grants. For tax deductible purposes, additional checks should be made out to the MARCH MADNESS ENDOWMENT FUND.

“I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his honor and that of his country.  Victory or death.”

— William B. Travis

February 24, 1836 at the Alamo

© Gary M. Gurtcheff 2013