Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
4/03/2007 10:00:00 AM
Blog Pool Update: This is the End
Hartsfield Airport, ATLANTA -- We've reached the end. Of the tournament, the pool, the Blog, everything. After 26 straight days of basket-blogging from Tampa, to Buffalo, to Chicago, to Jersey, to Atlanta (see the credentials photo above) I'm shutting down, flying back to New York and going to sleep. The second picture, which is the final image stored on my Canon Elph, was shot from the 36th floor of the Marriott Marquis at 6 a.m. after the title game. Yes -- I was still up.
Blog pool winner David Wunderlich, who was playing the tuba in the Florida pep band at the O'Connell Center for the title-game broadcast, will soon be receiving something I'd loosely refer to as a prize package. I saved him some confetti from the Georgia Dome floor, a Final Four program, a Gators media guide and a video game. Our good friends at the Gazelle Group, which runs the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic and the CBE Classic, became the pool's unofficial sponsor last week, and will also be sending Mr. Wunderlich some of their finest promotional clothing from those events. While Wunderlich's "Lee For Three" entry dominated our contest -- he finished eighth overall in the entire Hoops Bracket Challenge -- I'm not sure if I should be proud about my Marathon Oilers finishing 79th out of 642 entries. It was better than last year ... but it's still 79th.
A few Thank-Yous to hand out before I board my flight:
• To all the entrants, especially those who took the time to give their pool picks names like "6'9" With The Afro" or "My Morning Bracket," or check in via e-mail with kind words or photos (such as the shot of Wunderlich + Lee Humphrey). You guys make this thing worth writing about.
• To Gazelle for offering to beef up the prize package
• To El Myr for serving a quality green burrito in Little Five Points
• To the Trackside Lounge in Decatur, for staying open 'til 3:30 a.m. on title-game eve, when all the bars in Atlanta closed up shop at midnight due to what one local informed us was the "Ray Lewis Law."
• To the Georgia Tech coaching staff for allowing their practice gym to host a brutal game of hoops-writer basketball on Monday. The run left one Gators beat writer and one SI editor limping around the press room with busted ankles on Monday. Although I was not among the injured, I am still in a world of hurt this afternoon.
• To SI photogs John W. McDonough and Bob Rosato, for being nice enough to immortalize myself and Grant Wahl -- who wrote a killer Florida story in this week's mag -- by getting us into the background of a few beautiful game shots. In the first, you'll need to locate me Where's Waldo-style; in the second, the backs our heads (as well as the side of Andy Katz's) are rather easy to spot. The Gators made history, and we managed to step into the frame.