Final results are in!!!

Virginia is the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion!

Virginia won their first national title by outlasting the Texas Tech defense to the tune of a 85-77 final score. It took an 11-0 scoring run in overtime to break the game open after 40 minutes of lead changes culminating in a 68-68 tie at the end of regulation. The sportsbooks’ over/under of about 118 proved far too pessimistic as the game outscored even our combined score average estimate from the pool!

As for our pool, congratulations to those who picked Virginia as champion and a special congratulations to our winners:

1st Place: Paul Schlenger – ESA, 174 points

2nd Place: Jerry Morrissette, 170 points

3rd Place: Bug Deagle, 138 points

In the Robinson Noble employees and family division, our winners are:

1st Place: *The King has been Overthrown, 148 points

2nd Place: *Emily Wills, 131 points

3rd Place: *Andrew, 128 points

You can review the final standings by clicking here.

We would like to once again thank this year’s sponsors whose support helps make this tournament possible: ACF West, Holt Services Inc., and The Watershed Company.

I would also like to thank everyone who participated who did not win. It’s okay. With 63 games to pick in a bracket, there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 different possible brackets each year. That’s over nine billion billion ways to fill out a bracket. That’s over 60 times MORE options than there has been seconds since the formation of the Earth approximately 4.5 billion years ago! (Since we are geoscientists and engineers, we think in geologic terms!)  While seeding (usually) helps with the early rounds and your level of fandom can lend some other hunches as you sift through the options, nobody has ever picked a perfect bracket, and it’s unlikely anyone ever will. So regardless of how well your bracket performed, thanks for playing and following along. We look forward to our opportunities to work with you this year until next March comes along!

…and then there was 4

As predicted, the round of 8 broke our brackets.

Shoutout to the bracket “J. Harris”, which was the only bracket in our pool to even pick three teams moving on to the semifinals.  You can review the damage to your standings on the attached PDF.

It was a weekend of close games. Duke and Gonzaga, picked by a combined 61 out of 98 brackets to win the tournament, are out.  Duke lost 67-68 to Michigan State (2)—they indeed tempted luck one too many times.  Gonzaga got cold in the final minutes and couldn’t pull out the win against the suffocating Texas Tech (3) defense.

The lone 1-seed left, Virginia, was not our favorite.  Maybe it’s because last year, Virginia was the first 1-seed to ever lose in the first round to a 16-seed? 41 out of 98 of us picked Virginia to advance to the semifinals. Compare that to 78 for Duke, 59 for Gonzaga, and 53 for North Carolina. Only 7 of us picked Virginia to win the championship. However, with the favorites gone, only 12 of us have a pick for champion still in play (the other picks include 4 for Michigan State and 1 for Texas Tech).

Does that make Virginia the new favorite? To those of you that picked Virginia, I’d like to remind you that this missed-free-throw-tipped-back-court-offensive-rebound-passed-forward-unblocked-shot-buzzer-beater had to happen just to tie the game and force overtime. You can watch it here:

Still feeling confident about Virginia?  Or lucky?

Auburn, the 5-seed, pulled out the win against Kentucky (2) to claim their spot in the semifinals. Only 4 brackets picked Auburn to get this far. 5-seeds are now 7 of 9 advancing to the semifinals from the round of 8. Looking forward, half of the six 5-seeds to reach the semifinals have advanced, but none of the three 5-seeds to reach the championship ended up winning. Could Auburn notch the first championship for 5-seeds? None of us picked Auburn. Auburn now plays Virginia.

The other game, Michigan State vs. Texas Tech, will feature a Michigan State offense whose only weakness this season has been turnovers against a Texas Tech defense ranked top 5 in both defensive efficiency and forcing turnovers (no NCAA team has ever finished top-5 in both).

You can watch Michigan St (2) vs. Texas Tech (3) and Virginia (1) vs. Auburn (5) this Saturday, April 6. The championship will follow a week from today.

Current standings as of March 31st can be downloaded by clicking here.

1st place: Paul Schlenter – ESA is still out in front with 126 points

2nd place (tie): Jerry Morrissette and Max Berde are tied with 122 points

In the Robinson Noble staff and family division, the leaders are:

1st place: Rocinate is in the lead with 119 points

2nd place: Son of a ZAG  is in second place with 111 points

A special thanks to our sponsors: