Friday, March 20, 2009

This Is How We Chill From '93 Till . . .


So . . . uh . . . we drink too much. There's that. I tilted off everything - Wisky sucks like fucking Paris Hilton, except I would be much more comfortable with the green-tinted night vision camera, which is absurdly beat. I am terrible at sports betting.

Also I took Bob Morris, which is retarded - I did win a prop by knowing it's in Chicago, but yet I still want to fall into a fire. On the bright side, OSU is Crying Gaming Siena so life could be much worse. I might only lose a dozen this session.

A few great Brent quotes in the interim:

"I need a onesy with a butt flap . . . not for dudes inserting, for poopies outserting."

"I am not the president of the wyoming school for the deaf"
"but you're getting close"

"if you don't love the goo goo dolls, you're no friend of mine"


Loooooooooooooooong time between updates - such is life. Beer has switched to liquor, which is going great. More football resulted in more seal-clapping adventures, including Brent hitting multiple houses with his attempts to throw in the wind. It was . . . poor. Quite poor.

The WVU over/Mizzou -12.5 worked like clockwork, and life is suddenly slightly more easy . . . except I spun that into relatively big moves (3u) on Utah -2 and USC -2. Early in the week, I had Utah at +1, and a friend got +2.5 early in the week, so -2 is basically the "Bring out the Gimp!" moment of the tournament for me. Plus, Zona is up early, so I'm pretty much getting the date rape "C'mon, I won't tell anyone" treatment in the first few minutes. My 'system' (stealing from KenPom and Sagarin; converting to ML/'true' point spread) is doing amazingly well for big conferences and TERRIBLE for small conferences, so Utah will likely do me raw. If only Michael Cera had remembered his tiny bottle of lube.

We had another kid party, which was sweet - the Friday night dinner break is epic, just no games for two hours. We filled the time with Guitar Hero - here's a brief shot of what the setup looks like:

You can see the projector and several key televisions with the undercard games (or MacGuyver when Brent is feeling like a saucy fob), as well as a child who may or may not contribute to failing on that particular song. Riley was also the subject of a series of drunk-Troy barbs, including the epic "Riley looks like a less-attractive Justin" (to Riley's parents, of whom Justin is most likely one). He also told Justin that his kid was most likely gay. Twice. In succession, with no remorse. Just unreal.

You can see the drums on the right - however, what you can't see is that the drums are being manned by the three-headed retard hydra:

Yep - that's four drumsticks among three drummers, playing on one drum set. The highest they managed was like 92% - which is surreal. Three monkeys banging the drums with three typewriters got a 95 earlier. It's a hot drunken mess at this point, which is fiiiiine.

The Mormons are getting faceraped early, and Brent and I nearly just rolled a futon into the beer Christmas Tree (all the empties are being hung . . . hanged? hung? . . . from a base to look like a Christmas Tree - yep). So basically I'm reliant on Tim Floyd to save me, kind of like the Charlotte Hornets circa 1492. I'm 100% sure I'm fucked. Totally fucked.

Brian just got accosted by Troy's kid (~14 months), who immediately fell on a drum stick and cried. Troy told his kid that he should "wait until you can walk then kick him in the face" - Brent then told the kid to "wait until you take chemistry and learn biology then you can . . . I mean . . . yeah, biochemistry, right?"



So work's done forever (or until Monday...whatever) and the drinking has re-begun . . . the penalty Mike's (this time: Lime, which tastes like AIDS sherbet) went down gross and we're on to beer.

After a solid morning split, the wagers are WVU/Dayton over 129 and Mizzou -12.5 . . . I have that game with Mizzou as a "true" 14-pt favorite, but they look like total balls right now. Cornell is just staying solid on D and Mizzou is complying by taking terrible 3s on the break and not defending the interior in the slightest. Bodes poorly for a supposedly-solid defensive team - they're porous like crazy girl diaphragms.

We just had a lengthy conversation about how much it costs to remove hair via laser - I don't even know how or why, but it turns out that $300 is not enough to do armpits, and the average gross backhair costs around $5k.

My brackets are atrocious - it looks like Armageddon but with more black lines. If WVU follows through on their pending terrible loss, I'll be fucked like it's Eagle, CO - totally sweet. I think I even called that shot via email earlier in the week. Stab me in the face. When checking Brent's bracket (he's in just as much shit as I am), a couple derogatory lines were thrown out, and Brent responded with "You, sir . . . uh . . . IDON'TTHINKYOURFACEISATTRACTIVE." Interesting.

Pitt isn't really pulling away from ETSt., which might be interesting, but we'll chill for now - it's like talking during a no-hitter.


Yeah . . . my sincerest fake apologies for the lack of late-night updates last night; we threw a 1-year-old party for a while, with the wives and children stopping by to make sure various Daddies hadn't drank themselves into a coma or a divorce proceeding. So far, so good - although seeing a 1.5-year-old passing out beers was pretty awesome, I must admit. Especially when he tried to "drink" from a (sealed, obv) can of Michelob Golden and left a GIANT Cheetos chunk on the rim, which was both disgusting and kind of impressive.

Although even that paled in comparison to Tony DRINKING THE CHEETOS BEER no less than an hour later. That's right; he not only pulled the Cheetos beer from a cooler at random, but it still had enough fake-cheesy flavor for him to recognize it (and nearly puke). Chester Cheetah, you make some deliciously disgusting food products. God drinking is awesome.

After that, there was drunk food (frozen pizza and Wendy's) and a pow-wow session with online poker while I excoriated Michigan for being stupid fucks because God I hate Michigan. I split the fade of the Big 10, then lost two epics by taking Binghamton +21.5 and VCU +8.5, resulting in a basically all-around craptacular day. It happens. Early action is on OkSU at +2 and Marquette at -4.5 (which I HATE as a number, but it's a sympathy pick for JC's homerism - don't be surprised if USU bounces the Golden Christ Warrior Eagles Whatever from the tournament entirely).

I'm not super encouraged about the rest of the games either way - Utah's line is all the way up to -1.5, so hopefully you guys playing at home with your play money (or in a pool) got that game at +1 . . . getting the game 2.5 points from the tip line is just absurd.

One event that we missed out on: there were plans for a midnight football game, using a glow-in-the-dark football. I can't even fathom how poorly this would have gone, but it would have been awesome, and I'm sorely disappointed it did not come to fruition. Maybe tonight?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mormons, Bears, Bulls, Bigots and more Mormons


Quick entry while I sweat the suddenly-possible cover by Nova . . .

RC: "Prop for $X: who was the greatest player in Gonzaga history?"
Tony/Troy/JC: "Adam Morrison!"
Brent: "Feliz Navidad!"

Holy shit. Also, Feliz Navidad is actually just as far from the correct answer as AdMo . . . Definitely getting rough. Real rough.


"What are the odds of me waking up on the floor with your feet on my face, versus the odds of you waking up on the floor with my balls on your chin?"

So basically that's where it has gone - we grilled on the patio during the "dead period" once UW got up fairly large . . . I added UW -6, so I might actually accidentally win a game. Weird.

The key, though, was throwing the football around out back while grilling. Brent is well on his way to out of his mind, and had the Jake Christensen/Brett Favre Memorial "Throw The Ball 90MPH On A Line" Problem (also known as "mashing the x-button for every pass") . . . we tried to play 500. That failed. Brent and Troy would try to track the ball in the air, then wave their hands wildly, then it would fall about 8 feet away. Simply stunning.

The best part was watching Brent try to catch regular passes - he looked like he was wearing oven mitts, or trying to catch the ball with the back of his hands like a clapping seal. High comedy - I would definitely take Warren from There's Something About Mary before him at a tailgate game.

Brent was just asked to say something retarded for the blog . . . mission accomplished: "The capitol of Djibouti is Djibouti." Thanks.

UW looks pretty great, and the SEC 'revival' may have been premature due to LSU just overmatching a less-athletic Butler team. I'm adding Villanova at -15, mostly because it's in Philly and American's SOS was rough . . . but I really need the 3 points from home-field advantage to stay in it. Thinking about just fading the Big 10, too, and going Clemson (-4.5) and Texas (-4.5). Further bulletins as events warrant.


So the UNI game was a shit circus - just all sorts of awkward, including multiple iffy charge calls that nearly sent Brent into convulsions. It's kind of sad, actually - he would have won a posthumous Oscar had he simply succumbed to the poor officiating (and Lunesta).

I've now officially lost every game, which is sweet - I can't complain yet, I mean, it's not like I spend hours and hours (of billable time) investigating this stuff. I'm really smart. Ugh.

We have a couple of choice Brent quotes so far:

"BLEED IN YOUR SKULL (to Robbie Hummel)" . . . when he learned about Hummel's fractured vertebra, it changed to:
"I'm going to Pur-Doody in Tony's mouth" (the sixth or seventh such reference - I seriously have no idea)
"Captain Mother-Jizz-Mouth made my cocktail with Diet . . . dick."

Everyone (but me, obv) had the UNC under at 163 . . . the game was on pace for well over 600 points for a while, but these guys required zero scoring in the last 1:50. To a man, they were complaining about UNC's sportsmanship - like it was a low-brow move to keep playing. Apparently, Roy Williams has no class for allowing the team to continue to play hard . . . then, all sorts of high-fiving when the over missed. I love this weekend.

Oh, then Brent described the time Troy's wife saw his penis - it included the epic line, "put a little barbecue sauce on that, and it's a smokey leee-ink . . . "

So yeah - the smokey link. I guess. Unreal.


Forgot to add this (from during a Nemanja Calasan FT attempt):

TROY: "He's Serbian."
BRENT: "He looks like Dwight Schrute's brother. Mose Schrute. He likes beets."



UNI . . . not good. Purdue is very 'athletic' (and can't swim - hiyo! Insert own joke here!) and UNI is not. Brent is screaming and dancing and breaking things - he's referred to multiple people as "HUGE FUCKS" and he and Troy just each chugged a 24oz Natty Ice. Ahhh, 5.9% alcohol by volume . . . you never did me wrong. It makes me long for the halcyon days of the St. Ides Case O'Forties, "The beer to have when you don't have to remember.

Brent: "We got'em right where we want'em . . . we're gonna get Johnny Fuckface outta the lineup, we're gonna have seven less turnovers . . . that's what's gonna happen." Thanks, Adolph Rupp!

Brent also just referred to the opponent as "Pur-Dookie . . . like poop." Nah, we get it dude.

Troy: Q: "Is there a reason why we're not watching UNI?" A: "They're at halftime? And that one you're watching on the 4-way channel? That's a live look-in at the game we are watching."
Troy: "Oh. That answers that."

So the wheels are well on their way off - Cal is losing to Maryland, which is just fantastic because I'm completely resigned to losing every single game I attempt to cap, like some sort of reverse Midas Touch where every spreadsheet I touch turns into quadriplegic porn or infanticide.

Also Collin has to be ready to punch a clown - UCONN is in shit shape, up 2 with turnovers all over the hell. Ugly like the Horseface Killer (callback joke! Yay!)


Durrr . . . nice morning. The end of the LSU/Butler game was a Benjamin Button-style anti-climax, with a last-chance inbound to cover that resulted in yet another f-ing turnover. Great. That's OK - a lot of people start 0-3. At least Memphis kept the hope alive.

Brent is already going apeshit on the UNI game, and it's 2-2 18:51 in the 1st. Engelseder just made a free throw, which prompted JC to call him "put your Engelseed in my butt" . . . I have no idea.

BYU's loss was so predictable, Jared said that their God has used up "all his power" on Steve Young. So there's that - Mormons can fuck off, at least until the Utah game.

The next action is all over Cal at -1.5 - I have the 'true line' at -3.5, and UMD sucks, so hopefully we're fading the public instead of looking like idiots. Again. Brent said "Gary Williams can get AIDS - I hate him" which led to this exchange:

JC: "Well . . . I guess we all could get AIDS . . . "
RC: "I mean, that kind of requires . . . let's just say you'll need a little help from your wife."

Beer's going down well. Really well. God I hate Mormonism.


Ummmm . . . Memphis is barely hanging on. I have them winning every pool. I just dropped a tire iron onto my dick - that would result in a drunken mess all weekend, since I would officially be rooting for everyone else to fail miserably.

Butler has made a sick run - punctuated by Troy noting that Goose Island 312 Wheat is "better beer than Coors Light." Uh, really? If only that difference were reflected in their respective prices . . . Jesus. I also think filet mignon is better than human feces, and cooked pork is better than trichinosis.

The BYU game is unreal bad - A&M is making the Mormons look like the Washington Generals. On the bright side, BYU just had 5 white guys on the floor (SURPRISE!) and A&M five black guys . . . it looked like Brown v. Board of Education for a minute.

I'm now relying on the Cal Bears to resurrect this session, which is a boner. UNI starts in a few minutes - Brent is a massive UNI homer. Should they be the 12 who wins, he will drink himself into an Ed Kennedy brain tumor. Meanwhile, UCONN's coach is in the hospital - Memphis is now tied, so both might be dead by morning. Totally sweet.


So I just got here and drank my 'ceremonial' Mike's Hard Lemonade (because they no longer make Zima - there's a planet where this makes sense, I promise) . . . it went down like anal. Life is easy.

My early action looks like Tara Reid's saggy boob job - A&M has missed exactly one field goal (they're now 11 for 12) and Butler has 10 turnovers in 13 minutes. No shit - they're on pace for more than 35 turnovers. Stab my neck. Mid-majors. Ugly. Teams that rely on "drive and kick" and jump shooting can go insanely cold in new buildings (or against athletic teams) so it's my own damn fault. I did not know Butler started three black guys, though, which makes me feel a little better about them coming back from 9 (really 7 since I'm getting the points.

Troy just invoked the "touched it last" rule on JC . . . I'm kind of glad I missed the morning run, and if I'm alive at 10pm I'll be insanely happy. Awkward bisexuality jokes are flying fast and furious, with Brent comparing Pogs to touching dudes. I don't even get it, which is a bad sign.

Butler is on the 8-foot projection screen, just adding to my embarrassment, while A&M is on the world's largest non-HD television still in existence. The model name is actually Smithsonian. I'm soul-crushed and it's only noon. Should be fun - I'm telecommuting, by the way, so I'm answering the phones and email from the dude-cave. I can't see anything going wrong there.


It's basically that time again: Live-blogging our retardation as a result of the NCAA tournament, where multiple dudes shirk all semblance of responsibility for 2 to 4 days and drink until they feel like the sponge on the side of the sink. This is an especially poignant metaphor for me this morning, as I used the last of my soap in the shower, and may well be scrubbing myself with Dawn via that sponge tomorrow morning. Life is good, if not slightly degenerate.

We'll get started in a proper sense in about an hour - I'm sure JC is already three Captain and Diets in, since they drove to Sonic for breakfast (without me; fucks).

After last year's debacle playing off the same Bodog account (whereby I was a moderate winner, but we had an f-ing spreadsheet dedicated to keeping track who was up/down) we instead decided to just do a line/spread pool this year, along with the winner-take-all bracket. My current plays:

Alabama State +3.5 (DERP DERP) -1u

Butler +2.5 2u
BYU -2 4u
Oklahoma State +2 1u
Cal -1 1u (could be more; the 'true line' is like -3.1, but I just don't trust Cal)
Utah +1 4u
USC -2 1u
Binghamton +22.5 2u
Wisconsin +2.5 2u

Oh, and I picked Memphis to win. In every bracket. Go big or go home, am I right? Nope, I am an idiot.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Big Gulps Huh? Welp, See Ya Later!


Always good to start down a game in the tourney . . . Anyway. Follow the rest of my picks as they go down (live!) over the course of the next few days - we're doing the "man cave 3.0" weekend again, and it should be . . . bad. Very bad. Very very bad.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Re: Nerds in the Springtime

It's the best gambling weekend of the year: March Madness, Rounds 1 & 2! I just had an incredibly interesting email exchange with a friend about vagaries of various brackets - one common (crappy) bracket structure is the "get bonus points equaling the difference between seeds for upsets" meme. Basically, if a 5 beats a 12, you get 1 point - if the 12 beats the 5, you get 7 points. This encourages wild first-round picks, but is it really worth it? Let's look at the math (note: this math relies on a somewhat-odd 1/2/4/16/32/64(!) structure - most are 1/2/4/8/16/32, which does change the Final Four math slightly, but only by a few percentage points):

Here's the odds breakdown for the big seeds (how often you need the lower seed to win to "break even" on rd 1):

15/2: about 8%
14/3: about 9%
13/4: 11%
12/5: 14%
11/6: 20%

If you assume that the higher seed would win the next round, too (so we're 'guaranteeing' the higher seed 3 points):

15/2: 20%
14/3: 23%
13/4: 27%
12/5: 33%
11/6: 60%

Here's the real problem, though: the massive jump between rd 3 and rd 4 makes this just ridiculous. If we assume each #2 seed has a 15% chance of making the Final Four (which would earn you 1+2+4+16=23 points), that means that the #2 seed is "worth" 3.4 points, which is why I used the numbers above. If we assume the breakdown is more like:

1-seed: 40%
2-seed: 25%
3-seed: 15%
4-seed: 8%
5-seed: 7%
6- and below: 5%

Then it's more like:
16-seed has to win 61% of the time
15-seed: 44%
14-seed: 31%
13-seed: 20%
12-seed: 23%
11-seed: something like 14% depending on how you assign that last 5%

Hilariously, if we look at historical data our WAG assumption isn't that far off - over the last 30 years, the chances for a particular seed to reach the Final Four:
1-seed: 42.5%
2-seed: 21.7%
3-seed: 11.7%
4-seed: 8.3%
5-seed: 4.2%
6-seed and higher: 11.7%

So we under-estimated the chances of Cinderella making a run, but past that, we're pretty close. Since it looks like with the notable exception of George Mason and the 2000 FF the seedings have become a pretty efficient market (NOTE: strong chance of confirmation bias after last season), we don't even really need to re-run the numbers. It looks like the best strategy for your "upset pool" at work or with friends is to pick every single 10/11/12/13 to win outright unless you think that the 4 or 5 has a big-time chance to make a deep run.

Oh, and the other big key: correctly pick the championship game. That's about half of your realistically-possible points right there, and it would be nearly impossible to lose under any scenario. Make money make money.

Also, my current first-round picks before the public money rapes the pooch:
Alabama State (+3.5) - very iffy one here, it's right at the Sagarin line but I trusted someone else who loves this line.
Butler +2.5 (it's probably closer to PK)
BYU -2 (LOVE this line)
Oklahoma State +2 (looks iffy with the latest efficiency ratings, but meh)
Cal -1
Utah +1 (should DEFINITELY be favored; money-line play if you can find one)

For reference, the lines for rds 1 and 2 are usually so bad that you don't need a "system" - just use and Jeff Sagarin's Predictatron point spreads, accounting in your mind for travel or probably home-court, and get there. That's the key: Get there.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fantasy Baseball

So, it's that time of year again. I'm in two leagues this year, both largely made up of friends from college. The first draft was today, and I was able to participate live on-line. Our friendly blog owner is in the same league, so I'll stay out of too much strategy analysis. It's a 10 team league, so the pickings got rather slim towards the end of the draft.

The A-Roids
Round Pick Player Position
1. (4) David Wright 3B
2. (17) Ian Kinsler 2B
3. (24) Lance Berkman 1B
4. (37) Dan Haren SP
5. (44) Brian McCann C
6. (57) Chad Billingsley SP
7. (64) Stephen Drew SS
8. (77) Corey Hart OF
9. (84) Jonathan Broxton RP
10. (97) Ricky Nolasco SP
11. (104) Nate McLouth OF
12. (117) Justin Upton OF
13. (124) Chris Iannetta C
14. (137) Lastings Milledge OF
15. (144) Kelly Johnson 2B
16. (157) Hunter Pence OF
17. (164) Chad Qualls RP
18. (177) Scott Baker SP
19. (184) Ubaldo Jiménez SP
20. (197) Cristian Guzmán SS
21. (204) Alex Gordon 3B

Overall I was happy with my draft. I waited a bit to get in on the pitching, and when I did I made my picks in spurts. My starting offense is fairly low-risk, although it's also for the most part only moderate reward. I probably reached a bit for a back-up catcher (in Ianetta), but I try to have two good catchers on the roster because of the injury risks. My outfield is deep but not particularly outstanding...I'm hoping that the numbers put up by Wright, Kinsler, Berkman and McCann will supplement my strictly-average outfield.

I got caught without a closer last year at the end of the year, and it cost me in some close contests, so I wanted to give a good effort at the position this year. I'm hoping that I made good choices in balancing draft position with productivity. Again, I'm very happy with my starting pitching, and I'm hoping that Baker's fly ball issues are the worst of my starting pitching problems this year.

I was also happy to get Johnson so late in the draft. I couldn't really turn down Guzman and Gordon with the last two picks. Overall I made a few reaches, but nothing too crazy.

My next draft is this week, but as I'll be in class, I'll be relying on the auto-draft option, which I hate.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Talking through heartbreak

Obviously, I'm talking about the UConn game last night against Syracuse. Despite the pain of getting knocked out of the Big East tournament, and possibly losing a #1 seed in the NCAA's, I have to admit it was a great game.

It also got me thinking. I've been a UConn fan since I was a little kid, back to the Cliff Robinson days. My interest in UConn basketball is only exceeded by my allegiance to the Yankees. So, what are the best games I've seen as a UConn fan (in no particular order)?

1) UConn 71 - Clemson 70 (NCAA Sweet 16, 1990): This was the Tate George game. In case you haven't seen Scott Burrell's full court heave, and Tate George's turnaround jumper, then look it up on YouTube. The 1990 season was an incredible one for UConn fans, when the team put itself on the national map, and this game was the highlight of the season.

2) Duke 79 - UConn 78 (NCAA Elite 8, 1990): Yes, UConn lost. Yes, it was on a last-second shot by Christian Laettner. But, this was really the moment when UConn arrived. For a regional power to stand up to such a national powerhouse, and come a few seconds from winning, proved to everyone in the state that Jim Calhoun was building a fantastic program.

3) UConn 75 - Georgetown 74 (Big East Final, 1996): Everyone remembers this as the Ray Allen - Allen Iverson battle. Georgetown had a 10+ point lead with less than five minutes left, but the Huskies scored the last 12 points. The cherry on top was Ray Allen's one-handed leaner to win it.

4) 1999 National Championship: Both national titles were great, but this one was the best. Duke was stacked, with Trajan Langdon, William Avery and Elton Brand. But UConn kept it close in the first half, thanks in part to Ricky Moore's big first half. After years of whispers that Calhoun's teams couldn't get past the Elite 8, this was the team that did it, and most likely propelled Calhoun to the Hall of Fame. I'll never forget it.

This probably read way too much like an ESPN column, but after last night's game, I needed to write a fluff piece.