Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sweet 16 (2014) Round 4

Things have swung Kristi's way.  If either Florida or Wisconsin win another game, Kristi will take the contest.  If both Florida and Wisconsin lose, Jared will gain a point with each of Kentucky's wins.  One Kentucky win will tie him with Kristi.  A Kentucky championship (blech!) will put him up one point for the win.

Again, nobody had UConn.  Oops.

Jared is the only contestant to pick Kentucky at all, and thus is the only one with three remaining teams.

Mike will gain three points with each Wisconsin win, but is too far back to catch Kristi.  He was the only one to have his top two picks make the Final Four.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sweet 16 (2014) Round 3

And… the wheels are coming off.  At this point, after the Sweet Sixteen round, we are about one hundred points off the mark (a perfect score would be 372 at this point).  The main culprits are Duke, Kansas, and Wichita State, which we put way too much hope in this year.

Nobody had Dayton and UConn getting to the Sweet Sixteen, let alone the Elite Eight.

In theory your top-8 teams should still be active.  All six contestants have between four and six teams still alive, scattered across their lists.  Jared is the only one with six teams remaining but Bryan has his top four still alive, which no one else can say.

Jared has surged into the lead with 281 points and five of his top-8 teams still active.  But Kristi is only five points down and gains four points with every Florida win and two points with every Wisconsin win.  So a Florida-Wisconsin-UConn-Kentucky Final Four would be ideal for Mrs. Champ.  An all-Michigan final would hand it all Jared.

Here's the spreadsheet with way too much red all over it:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Random Thoughts 3/27/14

  • I guess that college basketball continues tonight.  But without the Jayhawks, does it really?
  • My brother, Dustin, made a brief appearance in a recent KCK Chamber video.  Catch him at the 12-second mark.
  • Dick Morris has a short video here explaining the problems with Common Core curriculum in schools, with mention of Indiana's recent rejection of it.
  • KU Draft Watch: Day 4.  Wayne Selden has announced two days ago that he is staying at KU for another year.  This in spite of the fact that Selden was seen as a potential first round draft pick this year.  It was reported that Joel Embiid had decided to declare for the draft.  That has since been corrected, as the official position now is that he has not yet made a decision.  Andrew Wiggins hasn't made an announcement yet but he was never expected to come back for a second year.
  • I had someone tell me today that "each person needs to find the religion that's right for them."  Um… no.  If all religions were equally valid, then fine, pick whichever one suits you.  But world religions can't even agree on what's "real" or "good" so if some are true and some are false then you have a problem because it might suit you to believe one that has lied to you.  That lie might be, at best, useless and, at worst, destructive.  Now Jesus says that he is exclusively the only way to get to God (John 14:6).  So unless Jesus is lying, which makes his religion a bad one, then Jesus' way is the only way.  Other ways are false ways.  If you say other religions might be good for some people then you are saying that Jesus is a liar (and by extension that those who follow Jesus are bad people).  Jesus does NOT allow for other religions to also be true.  So, is Jesus a liar and is Christianity a bad religion?  I challenge you to see who Jesus is by reading the book of John in the Bible.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sweet 16 (2014) Round 2

We are obviously not very good at this.  All we had to do was pick sixteen teams and the best any of could do was pick ten; most of us could hardly pick half of the actual Sweet 16.

Dustin and Kristi are leading the way with a modest 222 points each.  That said, Kristi has a distinct advantage with her top-5 teams still active.  Mike also has his top-5 active and can catch up to Kristi with Wisconsin and Virginia success.

Dustin's secret weapon, Tennessee, is still going strong.  Unfortunately Dustin is the only one who has lost all three of his top-3.

Here's the spreadsheet:

Random Thoughts 3/24/13

  • Well, my wife has me back until August/September (when football starts again).  Five months.  That's all she gets.
  • Roy Williams got old-looking!  For the record he's only 63.
  • Wichita State could have won that game but they didn't.  That said, no matter how great they are, they were disadvantaged by not having played against top competition all year.  The Shockers prove that a team like this really can compete and even win it all potentially but I'm convinced that they would be better off to have lost a few games but gained the experience by playing a few more Kentucky-like teams during the season.
  • It's too bad about Kansas falling apart at the end of the season.  It's worse that these young one-and-done players are going to leave the college game after less than six months.  
  • I obviously know less about brackets than I do fantasy football.  But…
  • Jimmy Fallon makes me smile:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sweet 16 (2014) Round 1

Yes, yes, I know.  The NCAA is calling this "round 2."  Whatever.  "Round 1" was play-in games.  This was the real round 1.

We got off to a great start, with most of our scores in the 120's (out of 136).  The key exception was Dustin, who had a 140.  How did he get 140 points?  He picked Tennessee, which already won a play-in game.  It's risky but, so far, the strategy has paid off in giving him an extra nine points on top of a near-perfect list of sixteen.  It's funny, too: I saw his lineup and thought it was more of a from-the-gut, sentimental list.  Shows what I know.

Duke was the biggest goat so far.  The idea is that every team on your list will win at least two games.  To have a team like Duke go out win-less is a tough blow.  Five of us had Duke and the Blue Devils were ranked as high as fourth (13 points per) on Matt's list.

Here are the numbers:

Note:  We've been counting play-in games since the NCAA started scheduling higher seeds in those games.  This year included a pair of 11's and a pair of 12's, as well as four 16's. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sweet 16 (2014) Prelim

We have six participants in this year's contest.

It took me awhile to put the spreadsheet together, but here you go.  The top team will get 16 points with each win, the second team will get 15 points, and so on…

Please double-check to make sure your teams are listed correctly.

I'll update after each round (sometimes the next morning).

Good luck!

[click to embiggen]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sweet 16 Contest (2014)

The NCAA tourney starts Thursday (play-in games won't count for this contest) and we're all looking at our brackets trying to determine how much we actually trust Wichita State and whether Kansas might find a path to go all the way.

But in addition to filling out a bracket, try my "Sweet 16" contest we've been playing the last few years. Instead of predicting almost 70 games, we pick the best sixteen teams in the tournament and rank them best to worst. The best team will get 16 points for each win, the second team will get 15 points and so on until you get to the 16th team which gets one point per win. If you put them in the correct order, your maximum score would be 477 points.

Last year was a rough year for most of us, but Chris Coker jumped out to an early lead and dominated us through the end.

If you want to play along, just post your list of of sixteen, in order, in the comments section (or email me) and I'll keep a running tally as we go along. The cutoff is Thursday morning.

Oh, and what does the winner get? As always, the satisfaction of a job well done.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday, Graham

My sweet little boy, Graham, turned 8 today.  Graham is our family comedian.  He competes with his older brothers by being funnier and goofier than anyone else and, frankly, he probably has the best natural wit of anyone in the family.  Graham, I absolutely love you.  You're the delight of our family.

Here's my blog post (and first picture) of Graham when he was born.

Here are a few more of Graham and his easy smile.

Friday, March 14, 2014

It May Seem Right…

Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."

I've read this a hundred times before but today it really saddened me.  There are people I know who think they are wise but they refuse to live by God's standards.  They may be very intelligent but they refuse to know God's truth.   Their life choices lead to pain and destruction but they blame others or bad luck.  Evidence of God surrounds them but they just won't see it.

To those dear people:

If you think you are an accident of evolution and your existence serves no real purpose, then have believed a lie about your value.

If you feel a sense of outrage, injustice, or right or wrong, then you cannot deny a moral standard may exist that transcends you.

If a standard exist and you compare yourself to it, then you know that no human being is perfect.

If it's possible that a God exists who really loves you, then you know nothing would be more important than fixing the distance between you and a perfect God.

If you've ever really looked at Jesus, then you know that reconciling us to God was his primary purpose.

If you don't make peace with God through Jesus Christ, then you'll never have peace at all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Random Thoughts 3/12/14

  • My little girl turns FIVE today!  Happy birthday, Anneliese.
  • It is interesting to hear the buzz about the injury to KU's Joel Imbiid that will have the 7-foot phenom on the bench through the Big-12 tourney and possibly beyond.  It's ridiculous how the conspiracy theorists and muckrakers are making mountains out of molehills.  Players like Imbiid are very valuable to KU, no one is going to knowingly risk his health for some nefarious purpose.  As valuable as Imbiid may be, Bill Self has no plausible motivation to lie or deceive, because his fate is not tied to one single player.  Bill Self and KU will still earn their millions, even if Imbiid doesn't play and KU loses early in the NCAA tourney.  They are big enough to survive it.
  • The Chiefs have seen five players leave the team in free agency, including two guards and tackle (Brandon Albert) and Dexter McCluster.  So far they have not signed a single player from another team.   According to they are not even listed as an interested party for any of the top-100 free agents.
  • I'm a long-time talk radio fanatic, going back to listening to Paul Harvey as a child.  And, though I still listen to Rush Limbaugh on occasion with a bit of sports radio sprinkled in, I've all but given up the many hours of news talk radio I used to listen to.  First of all, the quality is going downhill fast.  Not just the skill of the local on-air talent, but also the programming.  I'd like to listen to intelligent analysis of the day's news but instead I get moderate-to-liberal, loud but uninformed water-cooler chat.  Bleh.  The last two or three months, I've been listening to Christian talk radio and podcasts through the day and feel much better for it.
  • I started a discipleship program at church this year and I have thoroughly been enjoying it.  I picked three guys to work with me through the year, meeting weekly one-on-one, to study Christian disciplines (like prayer, fasting, study, worship, etc.).  Meeting with each of these guys has become the highlight of my week.  Thanks, guys.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Happy Birthday, Shannon

Happy birthday to my beautiful and talented wife

You are my best friend and my "very favorite."  I love you.

Have a wonderful day, pretty lady.

A T-shirt for Math Nerds

Saturday, March 01, 2014

We Love Our Little Princess, But…

We all love Anneliese.  Her mother loves her.  Her father adores her.  Her four brothers cherish her.  But that sweet little princess can become a tyrant when she believes the whole world revolves around her desires.

It doesn't.

We don't even pretend that it does.

I can see why she's mistaken.  She's the only one in the family with her own room.  She's the only one (at four years old) who doesn't work or do school every day.  She is surrounded by pretty clothes and stuffed penguins; her life is pretty charmed.  But when she found out today that I took the four boys to lunch (for completing their school reading) and left her behind, she came unglued.  And we were completely unfazed by her supposed tragedy.

We love you, Anneliese.  You'll have your turn in the future.