Zak retakes lead in wide-open pool

Wins by Florida and Georgetown created the perfect storm of competitive drama in the 12th annual Living Room Times men’s basketball pool, as a record six contestants enter the Final Four with a chance to win the pool.

Each possible combination of results in next Saturday’s national semifinals would create a different two-person battle for the pool championship, dependent on the outcome of the title game. Perhaps the most intriguing would be a UCLA vs. Ohio State championship, as that would create a “family feud” between Ginny Zak and her son-in-law Soren Hammerschmidt (with Zak needing the Buckeyes to win and Hammerschmidt needing the Bruins to win).

Whoever wins will set a new all-time record for the most points ever scored in a Living Room Times men’s pool. The old record, set two years ago by Brian Kiolbasa, is 362. This year’s winning total could be as high as 414, if Scott Robertson wins. It will be at least 370.

Zak, pool administrator Brendan Loy’s mother-in-law and a resident of Gold Canyon, Arizona, currently leads the pool with 351 out of a possible 412 points. As noted above, she will win the pool if Ohio State beats UCLA in the championship game.

Robertson, a University of Utah grad student and Irish Trojan blog reader since Hurricane Katrina, is second with 349 points. He will win if Ohio State beats Florida for the title.

John McBride, a student at the University of Iowa, is third with 345 points. A national championship for Georgetown, regardless of the Hoyas’ opponent, would give him the pool championship.

Arash Markazi, a 2004 USC alumnus and Sports Illustrated writer, is fourth with 344 points. He needs Florida to win the title; it does not matter who they beat in the title game. Markazi is the “Great Trojan Hope” in this pool, the last USC-affiliated contestant with a chance to become the first Trojan ever to win a Living Room Times pool.

A.J. St. John, who led until Georgetown beat North Carolina, is now fifth with 341 points, and is mathematically eliminated from any chance of winning. Eli Styles (in 31st place) was also eliminated by UNC’s loss.

The other two contestants with a chance to win are Hammerschmidt, a UCSB grad student, currently tied for 10th place with 322 points; and Newington High School senior Ryan Dalidowitz, currently tied for 36th place with 305 points. Hammerschmidt, who once attended UCLA as part of an exchange program, would win if UCLA beats Ohio State in the title game; Dalidowitz would win if the Bruins beat Georgetown for the championship.

Five of the six contestants with a chance to win the pool correctly predicted all of the Final Four teams. Only Zak whiffed on one of her predicted semifinalists; she picked Kansas as the national runner-up.

In addition to Robertson, McBride, Markazi, Hammerschmidt and Dalidowitz, fifteen others also picked a perfect Final Four: Mike Marchand (6th), Randy Styles (7th), P.J. Wanecski (9th), Joe Resper (T-10th), Kendra Krauss (T-10th), Lauren Moy (T-15th), Jeff Morrison (T-28th), Patrick Cullen (T-31st), Josh Krause (38th), Diane Huffman (T-39th), Joaquin Halsey (T-39th), Laurel VanBuskirk (T-49th), Greg Plank (T-54th), Sarah Wake (99th) and Steve Copenhaver (174th).

The Living Room Times pools are scored on a 5-7-10-15-20-25 basis, which is less heavily weighted toward the later rounds than many NCAA pools. This helps explain how a contestant who did not do well in the early rounds can be ranked as low as 99th or 174th despite getting the Final Four entirely right.

As for the contestants who are highly ranked but cannot win, they generally have identical picks to someone ranked ahead of them, and thus cannot overtake that contestant no matter what happens. For example, Marchand, Styles and Wanecski all predicted an Ohio State-over-Florida title game, which is also what Scott Robertson picked, and Robertson has done better than them in previous rounds. Thus, the best they can hope to finish is second, third and fifth, respectively, behind Robertson (and behind Zak as well, in Wanecski’s case).

Here’s a look at the final standings in each of the eight possible title-game scenarios:
Florida over Ohio State
Florida over Georgetown
UCLA over Ohio State
UCLA over Georgetown
Ohio State over Florida
Ohio State over UCLA
Georgetown over Florida
Georgetown over UCLA

Complete current standings are here and after the jump.

1. Ginny Zak – 351
2. Scott Robertson – 349
3. John McBride – 345
4. Arash Markazi – 344
5. A.J. St.. John – 341
6. Mike Marchand – 339
7. Randy Styles – 334
8. Danielle Davis – 327
9. P.J. Wanecski – 326
10. Joe Resper – 322
10. Scott Loomer – 322
10. Kendra Krauss – 322
10. Soren Hammerschmidt – 322
14. Rachel Luberda – 321
15. Tom Greca – 320
15. Lauren Moy – 320
17. Derek Walden – 319
17. Dmytro Aponte – 319
17. Chris Bossman – 319
17. Sean Sullivan – 319
21. Brian Dupuis – 317
22. Casey Zak – 316
22. Kristy McCray – 316
22. Jon Sandlin – 316
25. Rick Boeckler – 315
26. Jeff Freeze – 312
26. Chris Aemisegger – 312
28. Karin Back – 311
28. Jeff Morrison – 311
30. Don LaPlante – 309
31. Patrick Cullen – 307
31. Alex Whitfield – 307
31. Eli Styles – 307
34. Tristin Thomsen – 306
34. Brian Newbold – 306
36. Ryan Dalidowitz – 305
36. Michael Walsh – 305
38. Josh Krause – 304
39. Diane Huffman – 303
39. Roland Opena – 303
39. Joaquin Halsey – 303
42. Brian Paine – 302
42. Alex Fleming – 302
42. Gary Kirby – 302
42. Danielle Thomsen – 302
42. Scott Fort – 302
42. Conor Sullivan – 302
48. Mark Saviola – 301
49. Laurel VanBuskirk – 300
49. Jeffrey Grubin – 300
49. Jack Strayer – 300
52. Ted Zak – 299
53. Amy Greca – 298
54. Nate Evangelista – 297
54. Kay Torg – 297
54. Greg Plank – 297
54. Matt Higgins – 297
54. Earl Baker – 297
54. Dave Martins – 297
54. Mike Wiser – 297
61. Ben Eng – 295
61. Tripp Tart – 295
61. Brian Neudorff – 295
64. Clayton Bassett – 294
64. Kendall Houk – 294
64. Matt Wiser – 294
67. Dennis Chow – 293
68. Andrew Long – 292
68. Cam Thomas – 292
70. Jason McMahon – 291
70. Matt Scarborough – 291
72. Shireen Garcia – 290
72. John McCaffrey – 290
72. Michael Tran – 290
75. Emily Merkler – 289
75. Jeff Dickens – 289
77. Kurt Osterlitz – 288
78. Weston Cross – 287
78. Ben Sloniker – 287
78. Jeff Cultrera – 287
78. Todd Mefferd – 287
78. Cath Doo – 287
78. Tom K. – 287
84. Joe McDade – 286
84. Mark Nabong – 286
86. F X McGahee – 285
86. Nathan Origer – 285
86. John Chung – 285
89. Jenn Castelhano – 284
89. Wilson Loftis – 284
89. Steve McLachlan – 284
89. Brian Richmond – 284
93. Logan Pugh – 283
94. Shari Long – 282
94. Ian Auzenne – 282
94. Bill Pancoast – 282
94. Marcus Hill – 282
94. T. Gritten – 282
99. Sarah Wake – 281
100. Joe Loy – 280
100. Derek McDonald – 280
100. Andy Wendeln – 280
100. Ryan McBride – 280
100. Matt Metcalf – 280
100. Eric Soskin – 280
100. Bill Weinstein – 280
100. Gerry deSimas, Jr. – 280
108. Tim Wendling – 279
108. Sam Werner – 279
108. Tyler Condon – 279
108. Tim Sheridan – 279
112. Matthew Thomsen – 278
112. Dean Thornton – 278
114. Ashley Hughes – 277
114. Greg Kagan – 277
114. Matt Kagan – 277
114. MT Swanson – 277
114. Paul Zak – 277
114. Liz Janelle – 277
120. Idalina Cultrera – 275
120. Dan Dinunzio – 275
120. Russell Caplin – 275
120. Keith Stefanczyk – 275
124. Cam McLachlan – 274
124. David Kreutz – 274
126. Chris L. – 273
126. Stephen Leys – 273
126. Rachel Wetherill – 273
126. Mark Jordon – 273
130. Jay Johnson – 272
130. Crystal Dalangin – 272
130. Alan Smithee – 272
133. Germaine Gray – 271
133. Greg Pimentel – 271
135. Chris Evans – 270
136. Jeremy Gist – 269
137. Ken Wagner – 268
137. James McGinnis – 268
139. George Heidkamp – 267
139. Frank Nolan – 267
139. Jennifer Elam – 267
139. Tim Brothers – 267
139. Lauren Taylor – 267
144. Tyson Rothermich – 265
145. Kate Spitz – 264
146. Luke Zanger – 263
146. Kirby Bullard – 263
148. Paul Lucht – 262
148. Adam De Guire – 262
148. Joshua Carpenter – 262
148. Peter Timbrell – 262
152. Joey Serfass – 261
152. Colleen Duggan – 261
152. Stacey Tetreault – 261
155. Kevin Hauschulz – 260
155. Kevin Mocogni – 260
155. Mark Gardner – 260
155. Helen Cochran – 260
155. Nick Surmacz – 260
160. Rick Garnett – 259
160. Matt Drachenberg – 259
160. John Knowles – 259
163. Bob Lutts – 258
163. Nick Genco – 258
165. Dave Whelan – 257
165. Mike Davis – 257
167. Jen Mason – 256
167. Justin Stolte – 256
167. Colin Pedicini – 256
170. Mike Thompson – 255
170. Gabrielle Rose – 255
170. Greg Shtraks – 255
170. Michael Rosenkrantz – 255
174. Steve Copenhaver – 254
175. Jay Barasch – 253
175. Josh Britton – 253
175. Aaron Garcia – 253
178. Justin Vale – 252
178. Craig Frizzell – 252
180. Brenden Roche – 251
180. Pat Caplin – 251
180. Shaun Sullivan – 251
180. Mike Quinn – 251
180. Gary Atkinson – 251
185. Larry Caplin – 250
185. Brendan Loy – 250
185. Rob Atherton – 250
185. Daniel Port – 250
185. Timothy Benson – 250
190. Jessica Cowans – 249
190. Andrew Leyden – 249
192. Charles Franz – 248
192. Andrew Hunter – 248
192. Joel Thrift – 248
195. Kristy LaPlante – 247
195. Steve Koppitsch – 247
197. Joey Perucki – 245
198. Steve Hartranft – 244
199. Steve Shim – 243
199. Charles Fenwick – 243
201. Nick Voelker – 242
201. Khalil Aboukhaled – 242
201. Chris Pearsall – 242
204. Trisha Neudorff – 241
205. Brandon Cox – 240
205. Sandy Pilz – 240
205. Jon Schoenwetter – 240
208. Matt Fairchild – 238
209. Todd Stigliano – 237
209. Lisa Velte – 237
211. Danny Pilz – 235
211. Brian Kiolbasa – 235
211. Ricardo Valenzuela – 235
211. Marlene Saviola – 235
215. Scott Pollock – 234
216. Victoria Wags – 233
216. Brandon Minich – 233
216. Johanna Cummings – 233
219. Bonnie Stone – 231
220. Carol LaPlante – 229
220. Dave Roberts – 229
222. Miranda Epperson – 228
223. Patrick Roach – 227
224. Josh Rubin – 226
225. Kristen Everson – 225
225. Becky Loy – 225
227. Mike Dagen – 224
227. Barry Caro – 224
229. Josh Townes – 223
230. Robbie Zak Loy – 220
230. Dan O’Hara – 220
232. Scott Schmidt – 217
233. Ashley Johnson – 215
234. Lauren Davis – 214
234. Jessica Stolte – 214
236. Brian Krusell – 210
236. Keith Wood – 210
236. Beth Milewski – 210
239. Greg Rauen – 208
240. Jarrad Hedes – 207
240. Christine Pierce – 207
242. Bryan Rudolph – 204
242. Jon Caplin – 204
244. Roger Snyder – 201
244. Marc LaPlante – 201
246. Carolyn Blessing – 197
247. Tommy Murray – 195
247. Melanie Dickson – 195
249. Nicole Simmons – 192
250. Denise Reidy – 185
251. Bridget Saviola – 177
251. Brian Nicholson – 177
253. Courtney Tawresey – 174
254. Buttercup Zak Loy – 167
255. Logan Wanecski – 165
256. Dane Lindberg – 162
257. Rosalie Town – 160
258. Shannon Steinmiller – 150
259. Katrina Lewonczyk – 140
260. Toby Zak Loy – 137
261. Jen H. – 133
262. Barbara Cross – 108
263. Sasha Zak Loy – 74

3 Responses to “Zak retakes lead in wide-open pool”

  1. Diane says:

    Yes, it is pretty cool that my fiance and I picked the same Final Four with no discussion of our picks (I refuse any advance knowledge of friends and families picks). We got to root for the same teams and can bask in our success together. Success that is of course tainted by our mathmatical elimination from the pool.

  2. Dan Port says:

    Let’s go Arash!

  3. Andrew says:

    How ironic that the “Great Trojan Hope” showed so much faith in his team that he had them losing in the first round to Arkansas. I’m just curious, at what point in their careers do journalists forfeit their souls to Satan for the sake of the appearance of objectivity?