Thursday, March 17, 2011

The 2011 Challenge Begins

The 11th annual Chippens NCAA Tournament Challenge is officially underway, and this year’s field is especially robust, as they might say at Starbucks.


Daily Recaps & Previews


A record 86 players answered the call to join this sacred tradition, and once again all corners of the globe are represented. We have players from Brooklyn to San Diego, Texas to Green Bay, Australia to Afghanistan, and right in the middle in Kansas City. We also have one hobo, Cotter.

The increase in numbers this year is partly due to an influx of UW-Madison students. We’ll see if they can pick as well as they protest. They join a crop of 18 rookies hoping for some beginner’s luck.

Aaron Atchinson, Jon Charak, Brandon Christol, Eric Myszka, and, yes, Cotter, are all getting their Five Year Rings this year, meaning they will be eligible for the All Time Average Place list. All of the other 29 eligible players are back this year, so there could be a lot of movement on the record board.

Last year’s champion, Alicia Kellogg, is back to defend her title. Other past champions in the field include Angie Penney, PJ Schroeder, Nicholas Schultz, Mike Stump, and Jake Willis. No one has ever won the Challenge twice.

One person who really wants to win is Bucephalus, who said he “can’t even begin to describe how badly [he] wants” the Grand Prize t-shirt. Though I must warn him that he isn’t alone… Several other players, including Duperstar, made similar comments.

The player with the most mojo has to be AK, the “90 million dollar man.” That's all well and good, but he’s hoping to parlay his court room victories into something that really matters—winning this tournament, an achievement that would outshine his other successes like the sun outshines a pen light. He’s promised (at least I’m sure he would promise) a 12-hour open bar all-you-can-eat-and-drink celebration at the BlueLine Nightclub should that come to fruition. 

Finally, Chez is back with us this year for her fourth try. After finishing second and fourth from the bottom in 2008 and 2009, respectively, she vaulted up to 48th place last year and hopes to improve once again this year. Her bracket looks formidable, though her tie-breaker of 6 combined points in the final game could be problematic should it come down to that.

Good luck!

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