2019 Update I

March 27, 2019


Well, well.  Despite the anticipated excitement of which unknown will make history, it’s nothing more than pretty much the favorites after the first weekend of March Madness.  Not to say it wasn’t exciting.  It was.  Best 4 days of sports arguably.  Our tournament rolls on in year 24 or so.  Hard to believe and my how things have changed over the years.  Pfafflin Lake, staying up all night, hand calculating every pool sheet submitted by the US mail.  Kinko’s early am to copy the sheets on various colored paper, and sending each and every entry with a stamped letter for your updates.  Really!  Computers in their infancy, no internet connections, no emails.  All by hand.  We went online years later and at the very least, although the pool has grown immeasurably, and the time it takes is great, I have to admit, it is quite a bit easier.  The birth of the pool was from Dayton, Ohio, and the format I say is the best there is and has never changed.  Accumulate the points and reward the upsets. This is and always has been designed for charity.  Yes we have a nice prize pool, but with about $140,000 given out or banked in our endowment (currently at $92,000) for charities, it’s the reason we still spend this time the first weeks of March.  Spring turns, trees bloom, and before you know it, the warm weather, baseball and golf will be upon us. So here we are once again.  So what has happened over the years?  Our pool remains on the honor system. It is not a gambling pool, it is voluntary.  There is no Guido that comes after you to pay up or face the fact your knees may break.  Nevertheless thanks to the benevolence of you all, and every year, between 95-99% of the money comes in.  Unfortunately it takes a while at times, but we get it right. Although only 25% of the monies collected go to charity, about 75% of you donate the extra coin, such that we have raised over $10,000 each of the last 4 years to charitable causes.  This year we hope to keep it up!

Gaming across the country is now legal, so tainted money ain’t tainted no more.  Computers and social media proliferate.  The pool is accessible with the click of buttons, and all is well.  Send your anecdotes of the years gone by.  It’s much appreciated.

Can’t say more without recognizing the loss of a dear friend this past year and pool supporter, Dr. Steve Gabel.  You are missed and we mourn your memory.  I believe there is a God unlike your famous quote, and hopefully you are smiling down upon us.  Marvin Lewis is finally out (Wicky Wacky, Dick LeBeau, Lewis Billups, all must go!!) and maybe the Reds will make a statement this year.  Bone Doctors Stable lives on, and the Commissioner is well.  God bless you Steve.  As well, our prayers go out to another long time supporter, Bengal Dave.  Hang in there and hope you get that lung transplant you desperately need.  We miss you as the voice of optimism with the Bengals as opposed to Steve the eternal pessimist!

  On to the Sweet Sixteen

For the fans of Duke, Big Blue, the Michigan teams, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Tennessee, Purdue, and Virginia, you are all still alive.  Close but no cigar for a few of the upstarts and all should be proud, but chalk rides the blackboard heading into the Sweet Sixteen.

DUKE:  No business winning that game against the Taco Man, all 7’4” and the largest enrollment (75,000) in the US of A, Central Florida.  The end was atrocious.  Duke deserves nothing, but bless Zion, a good man child. Game won on a push off foul never called, and game lost on two chippies at the end that did not fall.  Duke survives 77-76.  Coach K feel secure for at least one more game.  I can’t berate any more since over 200 of our entries are happy with that one and are still in line for a chance at the money.

Virginia Tech:  Beat upstart Liberty 67-58.  The 4 seed will have there hands full with Duke who should be refocused after the “should have been loss” to Central Florida.

LSU:  Survived. Beat Maryland who gave it a sensational run.  One of the three most exciting games of the tournament.  

Michigan State:  What more can you say?  Slighted to a degree with their draw, the Spartans as usual find there rightful place in the Sweet Sixteen. Tom Izzy can coach.  Stomped a hot Minnesota team with ease and likely to take down LSU in the next round

Gonzaga:  Will this finally be their year?  Former and current mid-major now and again a number one seed.  Easy business over Prairie View and Baylor.  Best test is the next round

Florida State:  Throttled Murray State and the sensational Ja Morant. A very exciting team to watch and could take down the Zags.

Michigan:  One of 3 Big Ten teams remaining. Took out Florida and are the team no one wants to play

Texas Tech: Beware the Red Raiders.  This team took out a very gamely Buffalo team to advance.  They have all the firepower and a great coach to boot.  Don’t be surprised come the final weekend.

Virginia: Last year became the first #1 seed to ever lose in the first round.  A way more balanced team this year and did not stumble out of the gate.  Took out Oklahoma with ease.

Oregon:  Red hot Ducks keeping the Pac-12 somewhat credible demolishing Wisconsin (would have been a perfect 8-0 in the first round for the Big Ten) but had their hands full with UC Irving.  

Purdue:  Best game of the year for the Boilermakers.  Boiler Up! Gotta like what you see.  Defeated the defending champions, Villanova without breaking a sweat

Tennessee:  Turned this game off early.  But wait.  They blow a 25 point lead before taking out a pesky Iowa Hawkeyes team in overtime.  Just doesn’t seem fair.

North Carolina: No trouble with Iona and Washington.  Man they can run.  Already beat Duke what 3 times this year? A solid pick to win it all.

Auburn: A tremendously exciting team to watch.  Jekyll and Hyde.  Dispatched Kansas like nothing happening.  Charles Barkley is a hoot and their #1 supporter.  Bruce Pearl revives the Tigers!

Houston:  Another team that can beat anybody anytime. Sampson is reborn after jilting the Hoosiers. Seen this #3 seed all year.  Record stands at 33-3.  Underrated. The little brother of Phi Slamma Jamma.  Beat the Bucks but held back for Big Blue.

Kentucky: Wildcat nation is still happy they got out with a victory over a phenomenal Wofford team that should have had the win.  Should be raucus when they meet Houston.

Updated odds to win National Title:

Duke 3/1

Gonzaga 4/1

Virginia 5/1

NC 5/1

Michigan State 10/1

Michigan 12/1

Kentucky 15/1

Tennessee 15/1

Purdue 20/1

Texas Tech 25/1

Houston 25/1

Auburn 25/1

Florida State 40/1

Virginia Tech 40/1

Oregon 60/1

LSU 75/1

Who’s your flyer?  Love Texas Tech!  And go Boilermakers!

Early Tournament Recap 

Welcome back to March Madness, 2019 edition.  And welcome to the our new entries. As we said last year, in the end, winners will win.  Over 300 email addresses updated.  Look for your updates.

For tournament updates, check your emails but also go to www.garygurtcheff.com for results to date.  Most importantly, send in your entry fees and additional charity dollars.  Mail a check to me or use Venmo (jpmorganmd/venmo).  Extra dollars are what makes this a yearly event.  Special thanks to all of you who do more than expected.

Although a short lived run, recognition to Paul Kainrath, our leader after Round 1, and Lance Payton in the #2 spot

Current Leaders after Round 2

  1. John Willis  (Hillsborough, North Carolina.  Gotta like his chances to run away with it all, but may fall from grace soon enough.  BroilerUp!)

2)  Michael Kainrath (Supplants his dad and first round leader, Paul.  How do you like that?  This and that Jon and Jonah?)

3)  Kurt Tillman (Dilly Dilly, Tilly Dilly)  Solid four picks at the top.  “I can see” at long last)

4)  Joe C Smith (So happy to see my old friend from Santa Monica, California. Paul Perry and I met Smitty at a Morton’s? on a golf trip 20 years or so ago at Riviera and LACC.  Gave him a card and he’s been a loyal supporter of the March Madness Pool since!)  Hopes lie with Kentucky)

     Terry Iafrate (Also a long time supporter of the pool. Likely wins it all with Michigan State)

6)  Tom Waits (Or is it Ernie Banks? Texas Tech holds the key to a fabulous performance.  Thanks as always for the extra $$)

7)  Ryan Doyle (Kansas Man and last year’s March Madness champion gunning for the top spot again.  Needs Houston)

      Dennis Martin (Crowd favorite and inside track should the Tar Heels triumph this year)

9)  Lois Davidson (What a surprise at the top!  So good to see your name in lights after all these years.  Tell Dr. Z who the real boss is!)

10)  Mike Arco and Brian Cooper (Tied for the final top ten spot. Good to see two of the originals on the leaderboard.

Charity Information

To recap an early email, these are the following organizations and funds to benefit this year.  Only you can help make this a success.  Thank you those of you to date who have provided additional charitable contributions.  Please send additional funds with your entry fee, or make a separate check out to one these below and send to me at:

John P. Morgan, MD

PO Box 1136

Newburgh, IN 47629

2019 March Madness Charity Information

Aside from the March Madness Endowment Fund for which approximately 1/2 of charity

dollars go each year (current fund total $92,000!) the following charitable endeavors are named

for receiving money from the 2019 tournament. Please consider an extra donation or simply

write a personal check (tax deductible) over and above your entry fees to either the March

Madness Endowment Fund or one of the following organizations

  1. Evansville Rescue Mission

2) Tri-State Food Bank (Memo line on your check: Weekend BackPack for Kids)

3) Ark Crisis Child Care Center (Memo line on your check: Fairy Tale Ball)

1) Evansville Rescue Mission:

For over 100 years, the Evansville Rescue Mission has stood as a beacon in our

community to those looking for vital services for survival, and for those looking for a place to

serve. Recently the ERM opened a new 19,560 sq ft facility to provide a day shelter and semi-independent apartment units for men who have lived and progressed through their residence

center. The goal is to combat chronic homelessness in Evansville. 2/3 or the total amount of

the facility has been funded with a goal of $480,000 needed to complete the project. This is a

gap to independent living with semi-structured living. For further information, contact the

website at evansvillerescuemission.org

2) Tri-State Food Bank (Weekend BackPack for Kids):

This program is to assist children who may not have enough food to eat over the

weekend. In the US, about 17 million children under 18 live in households where they are

unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. The weekend

backpacks provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and nutritious snacks for children in need in our

community. For more information, contact the website at tristatefoodbank.org

3) Ark Crisis Child Care Center (Fairy Tale Ball)

On April 13, 2019, the Fairy Tale Ball returns. When you support Ark, you help protect

children from abuse and neglect. The mission is to keep children safe and strengthen families

in stress. Ark does this by providing free, short-term child care. Established 39 years ago, Ark

is the only emergency state-licensed child care center in Indiana, and only one of 11 in the US.

The Fairy Tale Ball is one of Ark’s two primary fundraisers throughout the year. Children are

given opportunity to attend, dress up as princesses and princes, receive transportation to the

event, ride a horse drawn carriage, and meet real time characters from Disney and other

movies, play games, attend the dance, and have a wonderful dinner. Prior to the event,

volunteers provide dress and costume, do hair and makeup, and simply make the children feel

special in a way unlike anything seen in our community. For $25, you can sponsor a child and

be a Fairy Godparent for the event and provide

Games resume Thursday. The Madness Continues! 

And who will be the one to conquer the throne?

“Valar Morghulis.  But what do you say to the god of death?“ 

“Not today!!”

© Gary M. Gurtcheff 2013