Navigating the treacherous waters of a one-and-done tournament is never easy.
A bounce here or there in the earliest rounds can make all the difference between going on a serious run towards a championship or getting bounced quickly.
It makes predicting a tournament bracket something of a matter of chance and luck as much as prognosticating skill. After all, while the best might win four games to one in a best-of-seven, that doesn't help much in a one-and-done tournament if the best loses the first one.
TigerBlog still has his ultimate champ but no other chance for a correct Final Four selection for the latest tournament for which he did a bracket. It's never an easy thing to do.
He's talking of course about the Dillon Gym staff ping-pong tournament, which apparently is down to its final six players.
TigerBlog has men's soccer coach Jim Barlow as his ultimate champ, and he is still in the hunt, with a tough match against rowing assistant coach Hank Zimmerman in what appears to be a quarterfinal match this morning. Men's golf coach Will Green plays field hockey assistant Mike Pallister in another quarterfinal.
There are already two players through to the semifinals. Men's soccer assistant Steve Totten knocked off men's lacrosse coach Chris Bates in one quarterfinal, and evening supervisor Mike Mix defeated assistant director of campus rec Dan Bennett.
TigerBlog had a Final Four of Barlow, Bates women's volleyball coach Sabrina King and women's lightweight rowing coach Paul Rassam.
He didn't do so well.
His men's lacrosse picks were even worse. At least when it comes to ping pong and the Dillon Gym staff, he was basically going blind.
Lacrosse? TB is supposed to know something about that.
There were eight games played last weekend, and TB went 3-5. He was right about Duke, Denver and Hopkins and wrong about everything else.
He was especially wrong about the Ivy League. TB thought the league would do well and picked all three teams to win. Instead, all three lost.
Penn looked like it was in control against Drexel before Dragon face-off man Nick Saputo went off, scoring three first-half goals after having three for the entire season prior to that. Saputo also won 21 of 30 face-offs.
The biggest damage was done in the final seconds of the first half. Penn led 6-4 when Jules Raucci scored for Drexel to make it 6-5 with 17 seconds left. Okay. It happens. Take the lead into the intermission and go from there.
Instead, Saputo won the face-off and scored with 12 seconds left to tie it. And then won the face-off and scored with six seconds left. The two goals looked like identical twins, the second one a perfect instant replay of the first.
Suddenly it was 7-6 Drexel at the break - and 11-6 Drexel midway through the third. And that doesn't even include Saputo's other goal, which came with one second left in the first after Penn had scored with nine seconds left.
Those goals are killers.
Anyway, the quarterfinals are set for this weekend, tomorrow at Hofstra and Sunday at Delaware. TigerBlog offers up new predictions for the rest of the tournament, to be taken with the usual skepticism.
He'll stay with Duke over Hopkins and take Denver over Drexel. He'll go with Maryland over Bryant (who beat Syracuse in a great game), even though Bryant has two great pieces to start with - the best face-off man and best goalie in the country.
And then he likes Albany over Notre Dame. Albany is led by the dazzling Thompsons, and TB thinks it would be awesome for lacrosse to have them at the Final Four.
He will still say Duke over Denver, though he's rooting hard for Denver. And he'll take Albany over Maryland. And then Duke over Albany.
For Princeton, the Final Four will be about seeing if Tom Schreiber is named first-team All-America for the third straight year. TB can't imagine a way that he won't be.
If he is, he'll be the third three-time first-team All-America Princeton men's lacrosse has ever had, along with Josh Sims and Scott Bacigalupo. It'll be a small consolation for Schreiber (who scored his first Major League Lacrosse goal last week) and Princeton, who had been hoping to be playing this weekend and beyond.
It didn't work out for the Tigers. Or the other Ivy teams.
TigerBlog was wrong about it all.