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VC March Madness Pool:

As I noted the other day, the good folks at Armchair GM have invited us to have a VC March Madness Pool over there. To register, you can click http://www.armchairgm.com/index.php?title=Special:SpringSillinessGroupJoin/23

Our group in the Volokh Conspiracy (or Readers of the Volokh Conspiracy) and our password is "Volokh."

There is no entry fee. My colleague Ross Davies, Editor of the Green Bag, has generously agreed to donate both a Scalia and a Kennedy bobblehead. The winner gets first choice and the runner-up the other. In addition, to the winner I will award a Volokh Conspiracy T-shirt.

Armchair GM has set up the scoring system as a simple one: 1 point for each correct first round pick, 2 for second, 4 for third, 8 for fourth, 16 for fifth, and 32 for picking the national champion. No points for picking upsets or any other bells and whistles.

Armchair GM says that they will be shutting down entries sometime Wednesday evening Thursday morning around 10:00 a.m.

I am told this is their first time hosting this sort of thing, so I hope it will go off without a hitch, but I hereby disclaim the risk that something will malfunction.

Good luck!

Update:

Brackets will lock about 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Update:

I ask all Conspirators to please enter only one bracket. Note that you will have to register with Armchair GM with a username then enter "Volokh" as the password--and be sure to capitalize it.

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VC March Madness:

A reminder for anyone interested that we have a VC March Madness pool over at Armchair GM. To register, you can click http://www.armchairgm.com/index.php?title=Special:SpringSillinessGroupJoin/23

Our group in the Volokh Conspiracy (or Readers of the Volokh Conspiracy) and our password is "Volokh." Be sure to capitalize the V.

The brackets will be locked down Thursday morning around 10:00 a.m., so you still have time to make your picks.

There is no entry fee. My colleague Ross Davies, Editor of the Green Bag, has generously agreed to donate both a Scalia and a Kennedy bobblehead. The winner gets first choice and the runner-up the other. In addition, to the winner I will award a Volokh Conspiracy T-shirt.

Armchair GM has set up the scoring system as a simple one: 1 point for each correct first round pick, 2 for second, 4 for third, 8 for fourth, 16 for fifth, and 32 for picking the national champion. No points for picking upsets or any other bells and whistles.

PLEASE SUBMIT ONLY ONE BRACKET PER PERSON. I hope that admonition will be sufficient, but we will be checking as well. Anyone who submits more than one bracket will be disqualified. If you have submitted more than one bracket already, please withdraw your extra ones.

Good luck!

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VC March Madess Pool:

As we head into the Elite Eight today, the VC March Madness pool is wide open. Most of the front-runners have chosen North Carolina to go all the way, so if that happens they will presumably remain bunched at the top of the pack. Conspirators Jim and Ilya are both still in the hunt as well. Recall that correctly picking the regional champs is worth 8 points, the finalists is worth 16, and the champion is worth 32, so there is still a lot of movement available in the standings.

Yours truly is tied for 49th. In addition, one Doc Nix bobblehead is on its way to Rick Garnett, whose Notre Dame squad easily took down George Mason on the opening night of the tournament and thereby messed up my bracket. The good thing about being clearly out of the race is now I can simply enjoy the tournament.

Ironically, the entrant named "Davidson Dispatch" only had confidence in his team to go one round so while he remains in the hunt is still 5 points off the pace.

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Update on VC March Madness Contest.

Because all four favorites made the NCAA Final Four and because more points are awarded for the last few games, the winner of the Volokh Conspiracy's March Madness contest will likely be determined by whoever correctly chooses the winner and loser of the Championship game. Most people currently leading the contest chose either UCLA or NC to beat the other team in the Finals.

I may be wrong, but from looking through the choices online, it appears that in 7 of the 8 scenarios for the Final Game, the contest winners would be the following:

a. NC over UCLA: I Can Haz Bobblehead? (in 1st place overall)

b. NC over Memphis: Nonunique (currently 9th)

c. UCLA over NC: Scass (currently 2d)

d. UCLA over Kansas: Which is what? (currently 18th)

e. Kansas over UCLA: Circ230 (currently 6th)

f. Kansas over Memphis: Jim Lindgren (currently 3d)

g. Memphis over NC: Baclaw (currently 18th)

As for the 8th scenario — Memphis over Kansas in the title game — I don't know who would win, but it might well be Baclaw (who would definitely win if Memphis defeated NC in the title game).

Random comments:

1. Participating in a March Madness pool is fun; it increases my interest in the games. I have been in only 2 such pools before this year, one of which I was lucky enough to win.

2. At least this year, on average, picking favorites works better than picking underdogs. Ilya Somin, who picked only favorites, is tied for 6th place among 252 entries, an extremely impressive showing for just picking the higher seed to win every game. He cannot win the contest, however, because if he wins the rest of the way, he will be edged out by I Can Haz Bobblehead?, who is currently leading all participants. This suggests to me that, in a small contest, picking all favorites is likely to be the optimal strategy, but with 200 contestants, it might or might not be. Perhaps those with more experience with these pools in prior years can enlighten me on the efficacy of this strategy.

3. Besides Ilya tied for 6th place, among other VC bloggers Todd Zywicki is currently tied for 9th place and I am in 3d place. Given Kansas's struggles today, I'm not feeling very good about my picking Kansas to beat Memphis in the finals. If most of our leading contestants are correct and the Championship game is between NC and UCLA, I won't be anywhere near the lead in the final standings because these contestants would earn at least an additional 32 points for picking the semi-final games correctly. If I should be lucky enough win it all, I will decline the extremely valuable prize in favor of whoever takes 2d place.

4. In the comments, feel free to comment on strategies for March Madness pools based on this or past years.

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Final Four:

With the Final Four beginning this evening, I thought I'd pass along a story from Sports Illustrated a couple of weeks ago on the Memphis Dribble-Drive Motion offense. I felt like after reading it I had a much better sense of what Memphis is trying to do. It is also a neat story about some interesting coaches and particularly John Calipari's willingness to adapt to a new coaching style after being so successful at the college level for so long. The original story in Sports Illustrated had some diagrams of the plays which apparently are not included in the on-line version.

If anyone has any similar analysis like this please suggest them in the Comments.

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Volokh March Madness Finals.--

Well, the first Volokh Conspiracy March Madness contest is down to the final game and it's between me and Molechaser (out of 252 entries). At the moment, I lead Molechacer by 16 points, but with 32 points awarded for the winner of the championship game, one of us will beat the other by a wide point margin.

In short, if Kansas wins, I win; if Memphis wins, Molechaser wins. Good luck to Molechaser!

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Our First NCAA March Madness Contest is Over.--

Kansas beat Memphis for the NCAA championship, so the final standings in our VC March Madness contest are:

1. Jim Lindgren (yours truly)

2. Mintstate (who actually picked 2 more games correctly than I did)

3. Circ230

4. DUNKtus officio

5. Davidson Dispatch

6. PennLaw 1L

7. Durry's

8. Go Go Gadget

9T. Scalito22

9T. Tears of Boredom

In all, there were 252 contestants in the VC's pool.

I had previously noted that, if I should be lucky enough win it all, I would decline the extremely valuable prizes. So the 2d and 3d place contestants (Mintstate and Circ230) win the first and second prizes.

Thanks go to Todd Zywicki for setting this up and to Todd and Ross Davies for providing the prizes. As Todd wrote introducing the contest:

My colleague Ross Davies, Editor of the Green Bag, has generously agreed to donate both a Scalia and a Kennedy bobblehead. The winner gets first choice and the runner-up the other. In addition, to the winner I will award a Volokh Conspiracy T-shirt.

As often happens, this year the ultimate winner of the tournament (Kansas) breezed through the first 2 games in the tourney, winning both of them by at least 10 points.

Over the years, this is only the third of these large March Madness pools that I have entered (and I have been fortunate enough to win two of them).

One of our commenters figured out why I and other conspirators scored so highly in the contest: the tentacles of the Volokh Conspiracy reach so far that I simply fixed the games. I can tell you that it was hard persuading the Memphis stars to miss most of their free throws near the end of regulation, but we have our ways . . . .

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