Perfection For Four On First Day
Spouses Seek An Edge
Garska Can’t Shed Canines
MacCulla Out For Blood
As he does every year, Bucephalus galloped into this tournament talking a big game. Picking only two upsets on Thursday paid off, but his Friday slate is a little more ambitious. To stay on his high horse, he’ll need upsets from Marquette, Rhode Island, Michigan State, and Wichita State. Bucephalus, a Chippens charter member, is in his 17th season and has finished in the top 22 five of the last six years.
Stump and STATE are right with him at the top. Stump, in his 13th season, is the 2008 Champion and current #1 on the All-Time Average Place list. He finished 4th in 2011 and 3rd in 2015. His 62nd place finish last year was his worst ever, but he looks ready to avenge that disappointment this year.
STATE is in her 10th year with two top 20 finishes in that time. The Michigan State alum is putting pride of performance over her allegiances to her alma mater. She has Michigan State beating Miami but advancing no further.
That brings us to State St. Propheteer, the other player with a perfect score. What can be said other than it’s all skill. ALL SKILL. Anyone who doubts that is free to look over my pick sheet just as soon as I finish going over it myself and re-stocking my whiteout.
Rounding out the top 12 are eight players just one point behind. That group includes two husband-wife pairs in Great Garska/Harley-Dog and Walk like an Egyptian/Cadillac’s Finest (Jake Willis). Willis is also a Chippens charter member and a member of the Hall of Champions by virtue of his 2002 victory. But success in the modern era eludes him. He has only one top-20 finish since 2005.
Garska not only has his wife Harley-Dog nipping at his heels but also Da Bowser, his daughter, whose handle also pays homage to her dog. Garska really stepped in it (you know it when you step in it) earlier this week when he called Da Bowser “Da Loser.” Big mistake. It appears Bowser and Harley still have hold of his pant leg and aren’t letting go. Garska will be able to shake them off if Rhode Island makes a run. He’s one of just two players with the Rams advancing to the Elite 8.
That leaves Senor Wences, MacCulla, and Baby’s Is Coming as the other players just one point back. Although Wences had an admirable first day, he no doubt had a restless night thinking about his only loss, Vanderbilt/Northwestern, and how he could have had a perfect first day if not for that Vanderbilt player inexplicably fouling while his team was in the lead. So it goes for the Senor.
Baby’s Is Coming was perfect until Iowa State beat Nevada in the night’s second-to-last contest. Baby’s will need wins from Michigan and UCLA tomorrow to keep his championship plans on track.
MacCulla is the only rookie in the top spots. Had VCU beaten St. Mary’s, she’d be alone in first place. MacCulla is attempting to be only the second rookie in Challenge history to win the title. She’ll also be rooting for a Rhode Island win on Friday to keep her hopes alive.