vcu01.jpg
ANOTHER UPDATE: With the UConn Huskies blowout win over the Butler Bulldogs last night, Diana Inch, zoological prognosticator extraordinaire, completed her perfect run through the

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Oregon Librarian Correctly Picks Final Four Teams Using Mascot Matchups

vcu01.jpg
ANOTHER UPDATE: With the UConn Huskies blowout win over the Butler Bulldogs last night, Diana Inch, zoological prognosticator extraordinaire, completed her perfect run through the tournament, picking each of the Final Four teams and the national champion--well, nearly perfect. Her predicted score of 83-74 missed way high of the actual 53-41 tally.

Looks like Caleb Hannan will have to keep coming to work after all.

Also, Diana Inch is not in a contract with the devil--whatever the next paragraph says.

UPDATE: Satan-contracted librarian Diana Inch did it again over the weekend, correctly picking UConn and Butler to win spots in the NCAA National Championship game. She's got the Huskies picked to beat the Bulldogs tonight 83-74. And Weekly managing editor Caleb Hannan has just pledged to retire and start a Diana Inch cult if she's right again.

How's everyone's NCAA brackets doing? And don't even try to say anything remotely akin to "good" or even "OK," because it's a lie. Your picks--like mine and everyone else's in the country--are garbage. No one predicted that not a single #1 or #2 seed would make the Final Four--no one! No one, that is, except Jefferson High School Librarian Diana Inch. So what's her secret? The answer may shock, amuse, and/or enrage you.

Ms. Inch, whose high school is located in Salem, Ore., was the only one out nearly three million Yahoo Sports bracket pickers to correctly choose Kentucky, Connecticut, Virginia Commonwealth, and Butler as the Final Four teams.

She did it using a custom-made equation involving the teams' seeding and . . . wait for it . . . Their mascots.

Before we get into Ms. Inch's precise methods, here are some some general facts about how the Yahoo Sports bracket-pickers fared.

• Only 0.1 percent of entries had VCU in the Final Four.

• Last season's national runner-up, Butler, was advanced to Houston on just 0.6 percent of submissions.

• A mere 4.8 percent of brackets have their champion pick still alive.

• No one forecasted all Sweet 16 teams correctly, though one person drilled 15.

• Not a single person projected the Elite Eight right. And only 38 had seven of the eight.

• An infinitesimal 0.023 percent of entries have both championship participants un-slashed.

• Over 80 percent of entries failed to correctly project a single Final Four team.

• Of the roughly 300,000 people who entered Yahoo!'s second chance game (Projecting the Sweet 16 on), only seven currently remain unblemished.

• Diana is the only person to experience perfection in any round

Speaking with Yahoo Sports' Brad Evans for his Roto Arcade column, Ms. Inch described her brilliance.

RA: Out of roughly three million Yahoo! entries, you are the only person to correctly forecast the Final Four. What was your strategy?

Diana: I named this bracket "Di's 711 XV Dogs & Cats" to guide my selections.

I like the numbers 7 & 11, the letters XV (and, although I didn't include it, Q is another favorite letter), and thought that picking teams based primarily based on their seeding numbers and mascots would potentially irritate some of my male sports-obsessed colleagues, especially if my bracket did well (who knew how much madness I would be putting into their March?). Some states I favor (the folks I meet from Michigan have usually been fun-loving, and my birthfather's family might be from there) while other states leave me underwhelmed. I love cheering for underdogs and teams that NEVER GIVE UP, always giving their best efforts no matter the score. In desperation, I sometimes went with the seed *closest* to a 7 or 11, or a team that had an AP ranking that might indicate an edge.

OK, so the seeding calculation is based solely on its relative distance from her favorite numbers. Weird, but OK, we'll roll with you.

So what of the mascots?

Diana: . . . most of my consultation came in the form of asking about the various teams' mascots . . . While playing volleyball at a local athletic club on the evening of March 13th, I had picked up a couple paper brackets. Next to each school's name, I noted the mascot and sometimes the team's colors. Some of the mascots were unknown to me, so I had to look those up too. From Aggies to Zips, I still have questions about Buckeyes, Gauchos, Hoyas, The Orange, and Volunteers. I admit that I was probably working with an incomplete mascot guide, but I was tired. I do remember jotting down some of the AP rankings on my bright yellow bracket worksheet. That kind of information might have come from me clicking on the team names on the Yahoo! site to assist in selecting my teams.

For example?

Diana: VCU is an awesome 11-seed that I had watched in their play-in game; they impressed me with their teamwork, hustle, and skills. The Rams looked tough from the start. Shaka Smart, the VCU coach had his own following (my condolences on the passing of his grandfather), the team played aggressively, PLUS their mascot had FOUR LEGS so was closer to a dog/cat than the Boilermakers, Peacocks, Aggies, Seminoles, Irish, and Zips . . . I had to look up what Boilermakers (not the drink) and Zips were... which is why, in my bracket, VCU totally deserved to be in my Final Four!

So basically the teams that were seeded closest to her favorite numbers of 7 and 11 and had mascots that were most closely related to cats or dogs got the nod.

Perfect.

And with that I give up.

Here's my crap bracket.

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And here's Ms. Inch's voodoo animal magic picks.

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