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Ruder Awakening


Mary Kate Needs Volunteers


Three With UMBC


Connelly Too Cavalier


Kelsey Ruder, f/k/a KelseyRuder, seized control of the leaderboard after Day Two by virtue of the first tie-breaker, pick percentage, over what’s with all the bracket? and our friend from yesterday, Jason Mendoza.


Ruder was as hot as a straight iron on Friday, correctly picking 14 of 16 games to jump up 32 spots on the day and enter the round of 32 with 32 points. The Cadillac native charged up the standings like she was leading the historic Battle of Manton, or, as she would say in her peculiar way, “Battle of Mattin.”


This is Ruder’s third competition since 2012. Her second go-round was in 2015, so apparently she needs two years off between competitions. She’s like the Olympics or the World Cup, except she comes out every three years instead of every four. Perhaps this third triennial will be the charm. 


Only one player besides Ruder got 27 right in round one, and that player is MaryK8. Currently in 4th place, Mary Kate’s bracket is looking very nice indeed considering she is NOT one of the 91 players to pick either Ariz-oh-no or Virgin-ya-gotta-be-kidding-me to advance to the Final Four out of the south regional. Mary Kate is one of just three players with Tennessee. Nine players have Kentucky and 16 chose Cincinnati. This could be Mary Kate’s chance to repeat—or even better—her second-place finish in 2010.


Congrats to Cara with a T—Carat???, Chidi Anagonye, and Where’s Bucky? for correctly picking the greatest upset in tournament history. As it appears none of the three have any hope of winning this year’s Championship, I hope they each enjoy the satisfaction of having their so-crazy-it-just-might-work pick actually work.


The Virginia game did not work out so well for Connelly Bowling of Hart, Michigan, one of the 22 players who unfortunately picked Virginia to win it all.


Sources tell Chippens that Connelly, now in his second season, was crowing all over Facebook about his fourth place standing after Day One. “Hope that continues,” he wrote—in white lettering against a backdrop of green shamrocks—just hours before his fortunes were completely shattered by the greatest tournament upset of all time.


What will no doubt make the reversal of fortune even more bitter for Connelly, an MSU partisan, is that he turned his back on the Spartans, who he picked to lose to Virginia. I’m sure his sister, The Breeze (also a big Spartan fan), won’t let him live it down any time soon.


Anything can happen as the round of 32 begins. Standings will be updated throughout the day Saturday. Good luck.