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FINAL FOUR PREVIEW

 

There are three games left and three mighty competitors still with a chance to win it all. Here’s a look at each:  

 

Wait . . . what’s happening?: After the games concluded Saturday, Ian Howe from Austin, Texas, was winning. He was so thrilled, he said, that he took a screenshot of the standings “for posterity.”

 

“It feels good,” he said, “real good.”

 

Ian has dipped into fifth place since then, but it might only be for a moment. Of the eight possible outcomes remaining, three lead to Ian winning the title. 

 

He will win this year’s title if Buddy Hield and Oklahoma win the championship OR if Oklahoma and Syracuse meet in the finals. If North Carolina beats Syracuse, then the Sooners have to win it all for Ian to prevail.

 

On the possibility of being a Chippens Champion, Ian said, “I imagine it is similar to the feeling of having your first kid.” Howe is the only player in the tournament who picked Oklahoma to win it all.

 

Mrs. Mouse (Amber Myszka), already a mother of one (known here as mini mouse), has the best statistical chance to deny Ian his Championship glory.

 

Mrs. Mouse will win if Villanova beats Oklahoma, period. That means four of the eight possible outcomes belong to Mrs. Mouse. It doesn’t matter what happens in the North Carolina/Syracuse game or if either of them end up defeating Villanova in the championship. A Villanova tournament win would just be extra cheese for Mrs. Mouse. Extra cheese with a little bit of peanut butter, in fact, because if Villanova wins out over North Carolina, Mrs. Mouse will finish with 178 points—tied for 7th best all-time.

 

I’ve been told by another competitor (who happens to live with Mrs. Mouse) that she has been acting around the mouse hole like winning the Challenge has been a “lifelong dream” of hers. She’s just one win away from achieving it.

 

Of the eight remaining scenarios, Mrs. Mouse owns four, and Ian owns three, which means that Make Purdue Great Again owns one. For Make Purdue Great Again to indeed be great again, he needs North Carolina to beat Oklahoma in the championship game.

 

Rookie Craig “The Closer” Dykes is the man behind the Make Purdue Great Again mission. Dykes, who is in the sales industry, was the subject widespread derision and mockery after Purdue choked in their opening round game. Not only that, another one of Craig’s Final Four picks, Cal, also lost in the first round.  

 

But despite all the early setbacks, “The Closer” can amazingly still win the title. His upset Sweet 16 picks of Wisconsin and Indiana, and his pick of Notre Dame into the Elite 8 were enough to put him within striking distance of Bucephalus (who is taking the loss very bitterly). An Oklahoma win puts Dykes into first place among those who picked North Carolina as champion.

 

If The Closer closes, he’ll be the just the second rookie to win the title after Amy Boven became the first in 2011.