Final Four Preview
Tournament Scenarios Posted
The 2017 Challenge has been one of the closest and most competitive in history. For the first time ever, the Championship could be determined by a tie-breaker.
Eight scenarios remain (Gonzaga over North Carolina, Oregon over Gonzaga, South Carolina over Oregon, etc.). Out of those eight scenarios, six players still have a shot at everlasting glory (and a sweet t-shirt, of course).
Here’s a breakdown of who’s left and how each extraordinary competitor can win:
Penney Lane (Angela Penney): Penney is now in her 13th year and is making a bid to become the first-ever repeat champion. She won it all in 2006.
Penney seems to excel in the low-scoring years. Her 113 points in 2006 is the lowest score ever for a champion. She currently has 108 points. If South Carolina beats Oregon, she will end up as champion with 125 points, the third-fewest of all-time.
In the last five years, Penney has finished higher than 91st place only once, in 2014. That year she finished fourth with 108 points. The winner had 117 points, the second-fewest of all-time.
Tigger32382 (Jennifer Darrell): Now in her 10th season, Darrell has finished in the top 20 only once, in 2013. In 2014, she finished 120th, but has trended back up every year since.
This year, after the first weekend of play, Darrell was in 105th place, and it looked like she might be back in a downward swing. But instead, she took flight with the Oregon Ducks.
If the Ducks beat either South Carolina or Gonzaga, Tigger goes flouncy pouncy all the way to 1st place and claims the t-shirt.
Uconnfrog (Daniel Frognowski): If the two Carolinas meet in the final game, Frog wins. It doesn’t matter if South Carolina or North Carolina ends up winning.
Frognowski is in his rookie season, and he would become just the second rookie to ever win the championship after Amy Boven did it in 2011.
If Frog does win, it won’t be by much. He’ll end up tied for first place in points with Harley-Dog, but he will snatch the championship on the first tie-breaker, pick percentage. Harley-Dog gave a valiant effort this year, but she got sent back to the pound when Florida beat Wisconsin on a buzzer-beater three.
Frognowski missed just three picks combined in the Midwest and South regions and had a perfect Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in those parts of the bracket. But he needs more help from the Gamecocks out of the East Region.
If Gonzaga wins, the road to victory opens up for two players who have the Zags winning it all.
Walk like an Egyptian (Susu Willis): She’s still alive! Susu can reclaim the top spot in the standings for the third (and final) time this tournament if Gonzaga defeats Oregon.
Similar to Frog, Susu’s win would be virtue of her excellent pick percentage, the first tie-breaker. She would finish tied in points with Mrs. Mouse, whose bid to win back-to-back championships ended when Kentucky couldn’t hold its lead over North Carolina in the final game Sunday.
They say Egypt is the “cradle of civilization.” Of course, they are wrong. It’s actually Cadillac, Michigan. The pyramids have nothing on The Pines. But who is truly “Cadillac’s Finest”? With many from Cadillac in the tournament, few are bold enough to claim the title for themselves.
Susu, who is from Cadillac, makes a strong case with a win.
Michigan STATE of Emergency (Liz Thompson): Liz started out the tournament incredibly strong. She set a new first round record by winning 30 of 32 games en route to being the leader after Day Two.
This is Liz’s 10th tournament. Her best finishes are 11th in 2008 and 15th in 2011.
Last year, her boyfriend Craig “The Closer” Dykes would have won it all if North Carolina had beaten Oklahoma. As we know, that did not happen.
Perhaps still stinging from coming so close to Chippens glory but ending up with nothing, Craig suggested he was the man behind Liz’s success this year.
“I’m taking credit for consulting her picks,” he said. After Liz refuted that claim, Craig made some statements implying Liz might be gloating a little bit around the apartment. Maybe rubbing it in his face just a tad.
On the record, though, Liz has been very stately. “It’s March, anything can happen,” she said. “May the best team win and if it can’t be the Spartans, then Go Zags!”
Gonzaga over North Carolina delivers the championship to Liz.
KLoco (Kait O’Hare): A Championship for KLoco would be a true rags-to-riches, worst-to-first Cinderella story.
Now in her fourth year, Kait finished 121 out of 121 in her first year and 105 out of 105 in her third year. For those of you not good at math, that means she has finished dead last in two out of the past three years.
But if North Carolina defeats Gonzaga in the finals, the slipper will fit for Kait in 2017.
If she wins, she’ll join her husband Frank O’Hare as a Chippens Champion. Frank won in 2015. They will be the first-ever husband/wife pair enshrined in the Hall of Champions.
Tournament Scenarios: To see how you’ll finish based on all the remaining possible outcomes, check out Tournament Scenarios. Due to the Chippens team being on vacation in Arizona next weekend, standings will not be updated until Sunday night or Monday morning. Good luck to all!