Tran misses points record, still wins pool by huge margin

Living Room Times men’s pool champion Mike Tran finally got one wrong — more’s the pity for his beloved Bruins.

The 2004 UCLA alum, who had missed only five NCAA Tournament picks since the first round — and only two since the second round, both of them upsets by George Mason that virtually no one predicted — watched firsthand Monday at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis as Florida beat UCLA in the national championship game, the opposite of what he had predicted.

It was a Florida victory that clinched the pool championship for Tran eight days ago, but this Gator win means the second-year Notre Dame law student falls just short of the all-time record for most points in a Times men’s pool, and merely ties the record for largest margin of victory in any Times pool. Fellow NDLS 2L Brian Kiolbasa, who had 362 points last year, holds onto the former record, and Justin Vale of Rockville, Connecticut, who won by 47 points in the 2003 men’s pool, keeps a share of the latter record. Tran finishes with 356 points and, like Vale, a 47-point margin over his nearest competitor.

Still, despite the loss, Tran’s predictive performance is, by any reasonable measure, the most impressive in the history of Living Room Times pools. In a year of upsets that busted most people’s brackets, Tran got 13 of the Sweet 16, seven of the Elite Eight, three of the Final Four and both of the national finalists right. He topped Lou Ruggiero’s 354-point total, which had stood as the record for nine years until Kiolbasa beat it last year, and he finished just six points short of Kiolbasa’s mark in a year when the median score was the lowest in Times history, indicative of the difficulty of predicting this year’s tournament. By contrast, Kiolbasa’s 362-point performance, though very impressive in its own right, occurred in a year when two #1 seeds met for the championship and the median pool score was 44 points higher than this year, indicative of a more predictable tournament.

Moreover, Tran clinched the pool championship before the Final Four had even tipped off, wrapping up his win on the tournament’s second weekend despite an unprecedented diversity of brackets to compete against — 218 contestants, easily the most in Times history. He shattered Kiolbasa’s record 110-point margin over the pool median, earning a remarkable 148-point edge. And his bracketological success earned him national recognition, something no previous Times contestant can claim.

Finishing a distant second to Tran’s 356 points was 2002 USC alum Andrew Long, a resident of Long Beach, CA, with 309 points. Unlike Tran, who had UCLA winning the championship, Long correctly predicted that the Bruins would lose in the title game — but he gets no credit for that in the pool, because he had them losing to UConn, not Florida. This is the second consecutive Top 3 finish for Long, who would have won last year’s men’s pool if Illinois had defeated North Carolina in the title game. He finishes 101 points ahead of the median score, which would have been enough to win 16 of the 19 Times pools from 1996 through 2005, but not this one.

Long is followed by James Madsion grad Ben Eng (a.k.a. “We Todd”) of Los Angeles, in third place with 297 points, and Adam DeGuire of Cleveland, in fourth with 280. DeGuire would have finished third, ahead of Eng, if UCLA had won.

University of Virginia student Logan Pugh finished fifth with 272 points; Ball State grad M.T. Swanson of La Porte, IN wound up sixth with 271; Middlebury College grad Drew Harrison, currently living in Hangzhou, China, came in seventh with 268; and a pair of Huskies — Washington grad David Kreutz of Seattle, WA and UConn grad Matt Scarborough (a.k.a. “LaundraMatt”) of Phoenix, AZ — tied for eighth with 267.

Rounding out the Top Ten, with 264 points apiece, are “Irish Devil” Jay Barasch, a USC undergrad and Duke law alum who now lives in Albuquerque, NM, and Marysville-Pilchuck High School senior Andrew Kreutz of Marysville, WA. The Kreutz brothers are the first siblings to finish in the Top 10 of the same pool. (Previously, Sandy Pilz finished tenth in the 2005 women’s pool in which his son, Danny Pilz, finished second; and Russell Caplin finished tenth in the 2003 women’s pool won by his uncle, Rick Boeckler. Also, Boeckler will be in the Top 10 in this year’s women’s pool with his nephew by marriage, Soren Hammerschmidt.)

The only contestant who picked Florida to win is Marc LaPlante of Brookline, MA, a St. Bonaventure grad, who jumped from 46th place to 19th as a result of the Gators’ win. LaPlante is also the only contestant who picked George Mason to reach the Final Four.

Complete standings here and after the jump.

1. Mike Tran 356
2. Andrew Long 309
3. Ben E. Eng 297
4. Adam DeGuire 280
5. Logan Pugh 272
6. M.T. Swanson 271
7. Drew Harrison 268
8. Matt Scarborough 267
8. David Kreutz 267
10. Andrew Kreutz 264
10. Jay Barasch 264
12. Kristy LaPlante 262
12. Kirby Bullard 262
14. Bob Lutts 260
15. Ginny Zak 258
15. Michael Walsh 258
17. Kathleen McCormack 257
17. Ryan Dalidowitz 257
19. Marc LaPlante 256
20. Paul Lucht 254
21. Chris Hummel 253
22. Kevin Hauschulz 252
23. Matt Wiser 250
24. Chris Bossman 249
25. Don LaPlante 247
26. Laurel Van 245
26. Hannah McLaughlin 245
28. Peter Timbrell 243
29. Charles Fenwick 242
29. Kendra Krauss 242
31. Karen Cultrera 241
32. Tim Huffman 237
32. Dennis Chow 237
32. Conor Sullivan 237
35. Stanley Zak 236
35. Sandy Pilz 236
35. George Heidkamp 236
38. Josh Britton 235
38. Seth Graber 235
38. Brian Richmond 235
38. Jay Johnson 235
38. Edward Jackson 235
38. Jim Wall 235
44. Tom Greca 233
45. Brian Dupuis 232
45. Greg Shtraks 232
47. Jeff Vaca 230
47. Ryan McBride 230
47. Paul Zak 230
47. Shaun Sullivan 230
47. Jack Strayer 230
47. Carolyn Blessing 230
53. Mike Smoragiewicz 229
54. Melanie Dickson 228
54. Andy Wendeln 228
54. Scott Loomer 228
57. Rick Boeckler 227
57. Matt Thomsen 227
59. Scott Schmidt 226
59. Ken Stern 226
59. Jessica Cowans 226
59. Kristen Wall 226
63. Soren Hammerschmidt 225
63. Jason Cowans 225
63. Ted Zak 225
63. Josh Krause 225
67. Brian Kiolbasa 223
67. William Gardner 223
69. John Chung 222
69. Danny Pilz 222
69. Chris Aemisegger 222
69. Chris Horn 222
69. Sarah Wake 222
74. Craig Frizzell 221
74. Matt Fairchild 221
76. Chris McLemore 220
76. Brad Miller 220
76. Tristin Clow 220
76. Randy Styles 220
80. Lisa Velte 217
80. Brian Newbold 217
80. Jeffrey Blum 217
80. Mike Quinn 217
84. David Watkins 215
84. Kim Stone 215
84. Jessica Stolte 215
84. Trevor Gasper 215
84. Jason McMahon 215
84. Ed Joyce 215
84. Lindsey Green 215
91. Jamie McGinnis 214
91. Michael Russo 214
91. Jennifer Elam 214
94. Greg Kagan 213
94. Frank Nolan 213
94. Derek Walden 213
94. Em Merkler 213
94. Tim White 213
94. Michael Watkins 213
94. Shari Long 213
101. Tim Wendling 211
101. Jon Schoenwetter 211
103. Elizabeth Janelle 210
103. Steve Copenhaver 210
103. Mike Wiser 210
103. Brendan Loy 210
103. Andrew Hunter 210
108. Sean Sullivan 208
108. Garrett Loomer 208
108. Bridget Saviola 208
108. Robert Dokes 208
108. James Devine 208
108. Jackie Wilson, II 208
108. Kay Torg 208
108. Drew Wagner 208
108. Drew Wildak 208
108. Scott Fort 208
118. Danielle Thomsen 207
118. Dan O’Hara 207
118. Carol LaPlante 207
118. A.J. St. John 207
118. John Presper 207
118. Esteban Coca 207
124. David Whelan 206
124. Tom K. 206
124. Rachel Wetherill 206
124. Kelleigh L. Domaingue 206
128. Dan Port 205
128. Brian Paine 205
128. Eddie Domaingue 205
128. Diane Huffman 205
128. Brandon Minich 205
128. Todd Stigliano 205
134. Dan Burke 204
134. Patrick Cullen 204
136. Matt Kagan 203
136. Chris Evans 203
136. Justin Vale 203
136. Nick Genco 203
136. Dmytro Aponte 203
141. Sergio Lopez 202
142. Wilson Loftis 201
143. John McCaffrey 200
143. Clayton Bassett 200
143. Shireen Garcia 200
143. Terry Jones 200
147. Bernie Williams 199
147. Courtney Tawresey 199
149. Kristy McCray 198
149. Keith Wood 198
149. Victoria Lopez 198
149. Earl Baker 198
149. Jeff Dickens 198
154. Sasha Zak Loy 197
155. Vicki Huffman 196
156. Nathan Evangelista 195
156. Brenden Roche 195
156. Nick Surmacz 195
156. Joe Loy 195
160. John Knowles 193
160. Larry Caplin 193
160. Johanna Cummings 193
160. Joey Serfass 193
160. Chris Pearsall 193
165. Bryan Rudolph 191
165. Steve Hartranft 191
167. Rob Atherton 190
167. Danny Bogue 190
169. Marissa Modica 189
169. Gary Kirby 189
169. Josh Rubin 189
172. Lisa Caplin 188
172. Alex Ho 188
172. Lauren Fowler 188
172. Gerry deSimas, Jr. 188
172. Ricardo Valenzuela 188
177. Tony Badger 186
177. Roger Snyder 186
177. Justin Stolte 186
177. Barry McGinnis 186
181. Rick Garnett 185
182. Andrew Leyden 184
182. Joe McDade 184
182. Cam McLachlan 184
185. Jenn Castelhano 183
185. Dan DInunzio 183
185. Scott Robertson 183
188. Jay Aldridge 181
188. Tara Stuckey 181
188. Pat Caplin 181
188. Cody Groeber 181
188. David Downes 181
193. Barry Lehman 180
194. Krista Zorilla 179
194. Kevin Pilz 179
194. Jon Caplin 179
197. Russell Caplin 176
197. Kevin Curran 176
199. Greg Plank 174
200. Lisa Zarubick 173
201. Colin Pedicini 172
201. Kate Spitz 172
203. Khalil Abou-khaled 169
204. Mark Gardner 166
205. Greg Rauen 164
205. Beth Milewski 164
207. Joshua Carpenter 161
207. Rosalie Town 161
209. Marel Nasinnyk 160
210. Toby Zak Loy 155
211. Robbie Zak Loy 154
211. Bonnie Stone 154
213. Scott Pollock 150
214. Buttercup Zak Loy 148
215. Victoria Wags 142
216. Rebecca Loy 132
217. Toni and Jim Namnath 74
218. Casey Zak 45

8 Responses to “Tran misses points record, still wins pool by huge margin”

  1. Mike says:

    Worst possible time? Wouldn’t it have been more hurtful to his bracket if they had lost in, say, the first round?

  2. Brendan Loy says:

    Hmm, good point. I meant from his perspective as a UCLA fan, as opposed to his bracket’s perspective… but let me see if I can rephrase or clarify…

  3. Scott says:

    Brendan,

    Thanks for putting this on, and congrats to Mike, truly amazing. This is the 1st year that I have ever missed all four in the finals.

    And BTW, this was the worst most lopsided Final Four ever, no? None of the three games was worth watching.

  4. Brendan Loy says:

    Yeah… it seems like the scintillating first four rounds used up all the available drama…

  5. Andrew Long says:

    The Final Four games were not worth watching? Florida killed fUTLA, but the game was still highly entertaining. I saw more dunks and blocks in that game than all the others I watched combined, methinks.

  6. Big Ben (4th Place) says:

    I didn’t even watch the Championship until near the end of the 1st half, and because of the double-digit lead, went back to doing homework, just as unproductively as I would have if I were watching the game at the same time.

  7. Jazz says:

    Florida killed fUTLA, but the game was still highly entertaining

    I agree. Further, to a lot of us unfamiliar with Gator basketball, whose knowledge of the Sporting Noahs went no further than the ’83 French Open, last night was something of a revelation.

  8. Casey says:

    I was a victim of circumstance.