Contest veterans know that the commentary and awards are the best part of the contest. For the uninitiated, let's just say that it is something you don't want to miss. For those of you who are not already subscribed to the contest email list, you will be receiving an email inviting you to join. I highly recommend you do so. You can also follow the commentary at my blog here. You can register at my blog and leave comments if you like (all moderated, of course).
Review the Point Values
Please be sure to actually read the contest rules and scoring page. I cannot stress this enough. Read the scoring rules. The scoring system is one aspect that sets my contest apart from others on the web.
NEW THIS YEAR! In light of the fact that it seems the last two or three years we've had a disproportionate number of national champion picks qualifying for the ultimate scategories bonus (96 points), I have adjusted the inner workings of the scategories bonus to be on a sliding scale this year. What that means is that in earlier rounds it is easier for a pick to qualify as a scategories pick (the percentage of total entries threshold is higher), but as the rounds progress, a pick must be more unique in order to qualify (the percentage of total entries threshold is lower). What I am trying to avoid is another year where two or three of the actual Final Four qualify for the 96 point bonus.
Over the past few years I've noticed a few trends that, while not the end of the world, run contrary to the intent and spirit of the contest. I want to emphasize these points of etiquette this year and respectfully request that everyone abide by these guidelines for the fun and enjoyment of all.
- Babies need not apply One of the most important rules of the contest is one entry per person. While I can believe that your toddler is capable of responding to the question "Who's going to win, turtles or horsies?" I am highly skeptical that very many kids can do that prior to their first birthday. Please do not use your infant as a loophole around the one-entry rule. Here's the rule of thumb: If your child cannot communicate verbally, he is too young to enter the contest.
- Celebrity contestants Every year I attempt via all possible means to get Jim Rome or one of the Mikes from Mike and Mike to enter the contest. I think a real celebrity entry would be cool. Maybe one day they'll take me up on it. However, from time to time it seems that someone simply cannot resist entering his favorite celebrity's picks by proxy. While it may be interesting to know how Jay Bilas or Dickie V may have done in our contest, please resist this temptation. If JMV (local Indy sports talk radio personality) would like to enter the contest, he is welcome to do so...himself. Please do not put in the extra entry with his picks just to see how he would do. (Please see the aforementioned one entry per person rule.)
Questions People Ask Me EVERY YEAR...
Human behavior is a fascinating subject, especially when it comes to predicting it and, having done so, trying to prevent it. Having done this contest for so many years, I have become quite skilled at anticipating people's questions and mistakes. What I have not become adept at is answering or preventing them in the first place. Below is my latest attempt to answer your most vexing questions before you ask, so PLEASE read through this quick FAQ, even if you've entered the contest for the past 15 years in a row.
Where Are My Picks?
This is, without a doubt, the question that people find the most frustrating year in and year out. I am sorry if it is not clear or easy to find your picks once you enter them. The fastest way to do so is to use the search facility to do a quick lookup on your first and/or last name. You can do that by clicking here. You can also find your name in the list of all contestants by clicking on "View & Search Contestant Picks" in the Site Map to the right or in the navigation bar at the top.
What About The First Four?
I have to admit that ever since VCU's historic run from the First Four to the Final Four, the concept has grown on me. Nevertheless, we will not pick those games as part of the contest. It is complicated enough as it is.
I Can't Remember My Password From Last Year. What Do I Do?
Please note: All entries from last year's contest have been PURGED from the system. I do that every year. You DO NOT need to remember last year's password to enter the contest this year. You simply choose a new password to protect this year's entry.
My Friend Told Me Your Contest Is The Greatest Thing Since The iPhone 7. What Makes It So Great?
I am so glad you asked. There is no entry fee for my contest; it is totally free. This contest is simply for the fun of it, for the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I hand out awards as the contest progresses, and you get to enjoy (or perhaps endure) my witty, insightful commentary on the tournament. To see a sampling of awards and commentary from previous years, check out the contest blog here.
Still not convinced my contest is worth your time? Would it help if I told you it's famous? Well, maybe not really famous, but Graham Taylor did write some wonderful articles about it in my childhood-hometown newspaper, the Madison Courier. The articles are presented here with permission.
As I was saying earlier, what truly sets this contest apart from the bazillion other contests on the web, at your school, or in your office is my unique scoring system. Be sure to check out the Contest Rules and Scoring page for details. The rules are designed to try to keep you interested in the contest until the bitter end, no matter how poorly you do at the beginning. Check the rules before you make your picks!
Entering the contest is extremely easy. Once the NCAA Tournament selection committee has done its job on March 12th, you will be able to enter your picks by clicking the "Enter Your Picks" link in the upper menu or in the site map to the right. If you would like to encourage a friend, family member, co-worker, or even enemy to join the contest, email a link to this page to them.
This is a special feature for those folks who want to track a contest within the contest. Let's say you want to invite five friends to join the contest, and you want to be able to quickly see how you are doing against one another. With hundreds of entries in the contest, this isn't always so easy to do. With a private group, you have access to a standings report that includes only the members of your private group. NOTE: This does NOT mean that any member of the private group's standings are omitted from the overall contest standings. Every contestant is part of the overall contest, no matter what. Private groups can be requested simply as a means of encouraging friendly competition amongst smaller groups of folks.
Due to lack of time and willpower, I was not able to create any kind of management system that will allow you to create private groups on your own. Therefore, if you wish to create a private group, follow these simple steps.
- Email the contest manager and request the creation of a private group. Please include your name and the name you would like to give to your group. If you had a private group established last year, I will still have it the database to reuse if you wish. As always, the contest manager reserves the right to veto any group names that are of poor taste.
- NEW FEATURE: Starting last year, I started accepting a logo graphic that you can assign to your private group if you wish. This could be your company logo for an office contest or something of that nature. The logo will show on the picks page of any member of your private group. Simply email me your logo along with your private group request.
- Once I create your private group, I will email links that you can then forward to all the folks that you want to include in your private group. They can be people who have already entered the contest or people that you are inviting to enter the contest.
- You can belong to multiple private groups.
- You view the standings for all private groups to which you belong from a link on your own contestant picks page. Only members of each private group can view the standings of that group, hence the term "private". However, everyone's score will always appear in the overall standings.
If you have any questions, send me email.