Another dramatic comeback, another prophetic pick, another Living Room Times women’s pool championship for Todd Stigliano.
The Michigan State Spartans rallied from 16 points behind with 15 minutes left to beat Tennessee in the Final Four, 68-64, earning themselves a trip to the national championship game and clinching the pool for Stigliano — his second championship in the last five women’s pools.
Stigliano, a 2003 Providence College graduate and a member of the Newington High School Class of 1999, won the fourth annual Times women’s pool in 2001, and has now clinched the eighth annual Times women’s pool in 2005.
The two pool victories are strangely linked in the annals of NCAA women’s tournament history.
Michigan State’s 16-point rally tied the record for the the biggest women’s Final Four comeback ever, equalling the mark set by Notre Dame against UConn in 2001. That same Notre Dame team pulled another big comeback two days later, rallying from 12 points down against Purdue to win the championship game 68-66 — in the process giving Stigliano the 2001 pool championship. Had the Irish lost, Mike Wiser would have won the pool.
Furthering the parallels, the winning team in both of Stigliano’s clinching victories scored 68 points.
Like the 2001 Notre Dame team, which was a heavy underdog to UConn and Tennessee among pool prognosticators, Michigan State was this year’s #1 seed that got no respect. The #2 seed in the Spartans’ region, Stanford, and the #3 seed, UConn, each got more picks to reach the Final Four and the title game than Michigan State did. But just like four years ago, Stigliano had faith in the disrespected Midwestern squad. He is one of just 12 contestants out of 68 in the pool who predicted that the Spartans would get this far.
Paul Zak, who had been Stigliano’s lone remaining rival for the pool championship, predicted that the Spartans would lose to Tennessee, which he picked to win the championship over Baylor. Now that the Lady Vols are eliminated, Zak cannot pass Stigliano, nor can anyone else.
Stigliano has 368 out of a possible 452 points. Regardless of what happens Tuesday night between Baylor and Michigan State, 368 will be Stigliano’s final total — the 13th-highest point total in Living Room Times history — because his national champion pick, LSU, lost earlier tonight.
Larry Caplin is second with 341 points. If Michigan State wins the championship, he will climb to within two points of Stigliano, with 366. But he cannot pass him.
If Baylor wins, Danny Pilz, currently tied for 13th place, would skyrocket up the leaderboard, pass Caplin and finish second with 344 points, giving Stigliano a 24-point margin of victory. Caplin would finish third. Matt Thomsen and Arash Markazi would round out the Top Five.
Interestingly, Danny Pilz’s interests are diametrically opposed to those of his father Sandy and his brother Kevin, both of whom picked Michigan State to win the championship. If the Spartans win, Sandy Pilz and Kevin Pilz would finish third and fourth, respectively, behind Stigliano and Caplin; Danny Pilz would finish tied for 16th.
Pat Caplin, Larry’s wife, would finish fifth, meaning Stigliano would be the only member of the Top Five not named either Pilz or Caplin.
Current standings here and after the jump.
Stigliano is the third two-time pool champion in Living Room Times history. He joins his high-school classmates Jenn Castelhano, who won the 2001 men’s pool and the 2002 women’s pool, and Matt Kagan, who scored an unprecedented “double” last year, winning the men’s pool and sharing the women’s pool title. Stigliano is the first two-time winner to earn both of his pool victories in the same gender tournament.
Of the 18 Times pools (10 men’s, 8 women’s) that have been held over the last nine years, 14 have had champions or co-champions from the NHS Class of 1999. That includes 8 of the 11 pools that occurred after pool administrator Brendan Loy and his fellow ‘99ers graduated high school.
The biggest comeback in women’s Final Four history — Michigan State comes from 16 points behind to earn a dramatic 4-point victory over Tennessee!
Pool update shortly.
After the shameful ending of last year’s game between Tennessee and Baylor in the Sweet 16, it’ll be extremely interesting if they face each other in the national championship game. Ya think the Lady Bears will be motivated at all?
With Tennessee leading Michigan State, 47-31 with 15 minutes left, a rematch looks pretty likely right now.
UPDATE: Michigan State has pulled within three with 4:00 left.
UPDATE 2: Tie game, 1:20 to go!
Who will be the next pope? OddsChecker.com has the odds. Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Milan, is the favorite at 2.85 to 1, followed by Francis Arinze of Nigeria (5.5 to 1), Claudio Hummes of Sao Paolo (7.8 to 1), and archconservative Vatican policy wonk Joseph Ratzinger (14.3 to 1).
Cuban President Fidel Castro sent the Vatican his government’s “heartfelt” condolences for the death of Pope John Paul II after decreeing three days of official mourning and suspending baseball games and other festivities.
Catholic Church officials were surprised by the extent of the measures to mourn the Pope and hoped they were a sign of improved relations with Cuba’s Communist government.
“Humanity will keep an emotional memory of His Holiness John Paul II’s tireless work for peace, justice and solidarity between all peoples,” Castro said in a letter that was the top story in the official media on Sunday.
For the second consecutive night, a Michigan State victory in the Final Four could end the suspense in a Living Room Times NCAA pool.
Yesterday, a win by the MSU men over North Carolina would have allowed Andrew Long to clinch the Times men’s pool. That didn’t happen, but now the MSU women could hand victory to Todd Stigliano in the Times women’s pool if they beat Tennessee.
If Tennessee wins, Paul Zak will stay alive to win, and the title game between Baylor and Tennessee will be a battle between Zak and Stigliano for the pool championship.
Michigan State leads, 15-10, with 11 minutes left in the first half.
This means Chris Pearsall is eliminated from the Living Room Times pool, and it’s down to Todd Stigliano vs. Paul Zak. If Tennessee wins the national championship, Zak wins; if Tennessee loses to either Michigan State (tonight) or Baylor (Tuesday night), Stigliano wins.
Tony Blair is delaying the announcement of new elections out of respect for the Pope. But Prince Charles — who you’d think would be more respectful, considering he and the Pope both draw their power from ancient “divine right” traditions — has no such compunction: he’s going ahead with his wedding on Friday, even if the Pope’s funeral is on the same day.
Baylor and LSU are tied at halftime of the first women’s Final Four game, 28-28, after the Bears recovered from a 15-point deficit earlier in the first half.
A Baylor win would eliminate Chris Pearsall, a Notre Dame 1L who also went to ND for undergrad, from any chance of winning the eighth annual Living Room Times women’s basketball pool. A win by LSU would eliminate Paul Zak, a Florida grad and cousin of Becky Zak.
Regardless of what happens in the Baylor-LSU game, Newington High School and Providence College grad Todd Stigliano will clinch the pool if Michigan State beats Tennessee later tonight.
The leader of the leading political party in Northern Ireland, on its official website, joins other world leaders of all faiths in offering his own generous commemoration of the life & legacy of John Paul II:
â€œWe need to learn that everyone on earth no matter what position he holds or the claims he makes or the support he has must come to death and eternity. All of us will stand before God. The Bible says â€˜It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgement.â€™ The only way we can prepare for death and eternity is through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and His finished work on the cross at Calvary, which culminated in His bodily resurrection from the tomb and His ascension to Godâ€™s right hand in Heaven.
“We can understand how Roman Catholics feel at the death of the Pope and we would want in no way to interfere with their expression of sorrow and grief at this time.”
Certainly Doctor Paisley’s moving statement of mourning & admiration, so nobly rising above all petty sectarian differences, demonstrates his philosophical Growth over the years ~ since, e.g., 1988, when according to a Reuters article posted on his own Theological website ~
…Paisley, the leader of Northern Ireland’s protestant Democratic Unionist Party, shouted “Anti-Christ!” as the Pope began a speech to the European Parliament on unity in Europe.
Members of parliament shouted to drown out his insults, threw paper at him and tore a crude orange banner from his hands that read: “Pope John Paul II, anti-Christ”.
The Pontiff smiled briefly at the outburst and resumed his speech, which was again interrupted, this time by a round of applause.
Paisley was wrestled out of the European Parliament chamber.
Let us pray that the 78-year-old Pastor of the Free Presbyterian Church will, long years hence, have the opportunity to pay his homage personally to His Holiness, when Paisley’s soul joins the Pope’s in the Heavenly Kingdom.
Let us pray very, very, very hard.
Here’s the New York Times front page:
And here are some others, from various locales of interest to BrendanLoy.com readers, via the Newseum:
At 2:00 AM, Daylight Savings Time begins throughout the Eastern Time Zone — except for the vast majority of Indiana, which does not observe DST.
But because there are five rogue counties in southeastern Indiana that do observe Eastern Daylight Time, and ten western counties that observe Central Daylight Time, something truly remarkable will happen in the state of Indiana between 2:00 and 3:00 AM South Bend time: our state will be split, ever-so-briefly, into three distinct time zones.