Thursday, March 21, 2013

112 Take the Challenge

The Challenge has started! CLICK HERE to view current standings, player listing, player picks, projected standings, and much more!

Daily Recaps

2013 Preview

It's another banner year for the Chippens NCAA Tournament Challenge, with 112 feisty competitors lined up to take the Challenge. 

Once again, we have a healthy mix of wily veterans and hungry rookies, all looking to achieve the fame and glory that can only be earned through being crowned the Chippens NCAA Tournament Challenge Champion.

Earning that Championship and the enormous feeling of pride and satisfaction that comes with it is never easy, but I think this year will be the toughest ever. 

Of course, that hasn't stopped several players from engaging in their customary pre-tournament puffery and trash talk. Senor Wences, always willing to talk a few levels above his pay grade, told Lifeguard Leo yesterday to make sure he was wearing his magnifying corrective lenses at the end of the tournament so that he could see the players at the top of the standings. Spirits are definitely high as we begin play. 

Let's take a look at the field.


We have a lot of veterans returning, including almost everyone on the Most Lifetime Points, Best Average Place, and Best Average Points lists. 

After missing last year, Brandon Gamble (Diet Ginger) has returned to defend his spots in the record books. He currently ranks #1 in Average Points Per Tournament and #2 in Average Place Per Tournament, behind Stumper, who also returns. Stumper ranks #1 in Average Place, and is also the Challenge's Lifetime Points record holder.  

But those precious spots in the record books may be in jeopardy, for this year we have another big group of players getting their Five Year Rings, meaning after this season they will all be eligible for those records. Crawdaddy, Balldoc54, T'd up, DaLambo, Jeffrey T, Sneaky Peat, and sneppihc will all be vying for a spot among the Challenge's all-time greats. 

Jeffrey T (Jeff Marlin) is especially threatening. Although he finished 68th last year, he was leading the field after the first weekend. His previous finishes include 2nd place in 2011, 8th place in 2010, and 28th place in 2009. He was the first player to enter his picks this year. Last year's winner, DirtyErdy, was the first person to enter his picks. Will it work again?

Finally, keep an eye out for The Bryman (Bryan Timm). Bryan fell out of the Best Average Place list last year after puking up a 90th place finish. However, I'm sure that was just a statistical anomaly. He's ready to clean up the mess this year and get his name permanently enshrined in the Hall of Champions.   


The rookies this year are an especially impressive group representing locations all across the country.

Look out for Slim Pickens (Billy Snider) of Ludington, Mich. Slim is the son of Grumpy Old Man, who is now in his 9th consecutive year of competition and ranks #6 in Lifetime Points. If Slim has the same picking prowess as his father, we could have a rookie take home the title this year. 

PoliticalGrrl (Stephanie Hilton) is the president of the University of Wisconsin Law School's Public Interest Law Foundation. She's also the Senior Note and Comment Editor of the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender, and Society. This means she's a real go-getter (read: huge nerd) and normally can't concern herself with plebeian diversions like sporting events. Yet, she told me she skipped doing her homework last night to make her picks. This kind of dedication is what Champions are made of.  

But the Bruce Banner of this field is no doubt Lebrons ACT Coach (Dave Froelich). Froelich, now of Houston, Texas, is a Cadillac, Mich. native and a graduate of Kalamazoo College. Always humble, soft-spoken, and gracious, when Froelich submitted his picks he personally thanked me for "supplying all the butt [he's] about to kick." 


Our numbers have grown this year thanks in part to the large number of elementary-aged competitors that have joined the competition. You'll recognize them by their tough-sounding handles, like Ashtonovich, The Big Dog, and natethegreat.

Those are the boys -- not bad in terms of striking fear in an opponent. 

But they could still take a lesson in this area from the girls, who chose extremely fierce and intimidating names like Squidly the Diddly, The Girl Pink, and -- scariest of all -- Maya Pony Fun.  

STANDINGS UPDATES -- I will be updating the scores as close to real time as possible today. Check back often. The current standings always list when they were last updated in the top right corner of the page. 

Thanks for playing and GOOD LUCK!

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