Our Belated NCAA Pool

   Dear Spectators, We put up a free, open NCAA pool over on Dawgsled. Join in. The only prize is bragging rights, but since we’re late getting it going, your chances of winning are good! Enjoy your March. Pick some teams. (The website is complicated. Click here for directions.) Pool name: The Modern Spectator Password: spectator Pictured here, by the way, is the ridiculous logo of the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions, who made their first tournament. Go Arkansas Pine Bluff! DIRECTIONS The website is complicated. You have to go to this link, then click “create an account”…

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UNC, Dan O’Hara Take the Title

The Tar Heels destroyed the Michigan State Spartans, and Dan O’Hara, Jr. won our pool, edging out Sean Murphy by two points. Jason Chabak came in third. Special recognition goes as well to Lucy Koller and Dan O’Hara the First for having the most correctly picked upsets. They each had 11. Barack Obama ended up with a respectable finish tied for 20th, and I — well, let’s not talk about me. Lors Kelley rounded out the bottom without even picking Texas to win it all. Congrats. Dan, Sean, and Jason, send us your addresses so we can…

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Final Four: Baby Steps

Eight-month-old Lucy Koller is threatening to become the youngest ever Modern Spectator NCAA pool winner. The young Ms. Koller sat nervously through a thrilling round of games yesterday. First her national champion pick, the Connecticut Huskies, held off an energetic Missouri team. Mizzou’s 6’-8” forward Demarre Carroll has wild hair that flies out from his headband. He has wild movements too. He runs about the court, shuffling his feet and waving his hands in a herky-jerky spasm. It’s not all that pretty to watch, but it’s captivating. “My hair goes everywhere, my body goes everywhere. I go…

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Sweet Sixteen: Nicknames Win

These ‘click to pick’ online NCAA basketball pools are, like many modern conveniences, a blessing and a curse. They make things much easier for sure, but they are cold and impersonal. I miss the crumpled up sheets in which we wrote nicknames of the teams instead of the proper school names: “Nova,” “Zags,” “Mizzou.” I also used to like making last minute changes by crossing out the words. The online system is both more complicated and less permanent. A sheet showed its history, and once it was turned in, it was done. I was thinking of this…

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Round One Results: Siena Saves a Marriage

My girlfriend, Emily, and I both picked the ninth-seeded Siena Saints to beat The Ohio State University in last night’s first round game. It wasn’t because of any special knowledge about Siena: we weren’t counting on their dominance on the glass; we weren’t predicting that their guards would match up well against the Buckeyes backcourt; we didn’t think badly of the Big Ten. But we’re planning to get married in Siena, Italy, and that was reason enough. Siena was for us. So I was quite dismayed, sometime in the second half, when Siena looked doomed. They were…

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Welcome to the Spectator NCAA Pool

Thanks to all of you who joined The Modern Spectator NCAA Pool. We have about 80 competitors this year, vying for the official Leisure Olympics badminton set and the Spec t-shirts. Good luck. I’ve taken a look at your entries and ran them through my analog supercomputer (my notepad) to track trendy picks. Then I realized the real computer had done it for me already (Check here).The most popular team is, not surprisingly, the number one overall seed, Louisville. Nineteen of you think the Cardinals will cut down the nets n a few weeks. UNC is second…

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Join Our 2009 NCAA Pool

It’s free to play! The winner will take home an official Leisure Olympics badminton set and a Modern Spectator t-shirt. Second and third place contestants will also get t-shirts. It’s all online this year so go here and click “enter picks” to play. You must enter a name and email address but you can ignore the phone number box. Then, click each team you think will advance through each round. Clicking the arrow on the lower right side of the screen will move you to the next region. You can edit your picks before the games begin…

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NCAA Final: Fact or Fiction

What’s cooler a Kansas Jayhawk or a Memphis Tiger? A Jayhawk is apparently a fictional bird, a cross between a blue jay (bastard!) and a sparrow hawk. The term goes back to the 1850s and gets mixed up with the Civil War and cattle rustling. The fantastic avian fella has given rise to some pretty great drawings including this one, above left, from 1912 and some others here. The Memphis Tiger nickname is not quite as interesting (It comes from some kids back in 1914 yelling, “We fight like Tigers”). But they’ve got a real tiger, above…

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Number Ones Crush Defenseless Underdogs

It’s a historic, revolutionary year in the NCAA tournament! Never before has it happened! The Final Four is all number-one seeds! Ugh. Rooting for all favorites seems a bit like rooting for China against Tibet, so I’m going to continue to keep this Davidson Wildcats image up in honor of the tourney’s best underdogs, the insurgent Tibetan monks of college basketball who were crushed by the Maoist nationalist oppressors, the Kansas Jayhawks. Well, maybe the comparison is a stretch. Maybe it’s just sour grapes. I had Georgetown. Congratulations then to those of you that predicted this triumph…

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