CBB '24 - Week 7 Card: A Weak In Review

Strange and erratic phenomena lurked around every corner this past week.

CBB '24 - Week 7 Card: A Weak In Review
These Cocks Are Certainly Game

A Weak In Review

  • 1. In Praise Of Consistency As Random And Terrible Chaos Reaches Disturbing Highs
  • 2. Is South Carolina For Real? Probably Not, But We Stan Regardless
  • 3. Week 6 Leaderboard: Downtown Tyler Brown Catapults To First On Big Aggies Win

Week 7 Card

For those disinclined to scroll to the end of the email...

Week 7 Card - Feb. 17th
Each week, contestants are granted 1,000 in Available Free Play Points (AFPP). Contestants must allocate all 1,000 points across one or more of the following markets The submission deadline is 9am PT / Noon ET on Saturday Contestants’ goal is to generate “winnings” by making successful selections The amount of winnings generated by successful selections are determined by the amount of AFPP placed on the selection, multiplied by the multiplier at the end of each pick (e.g. if Arizona wins, an allocation of 100 points on “Arizona to win - 1.25x” would net 125 winnings, or 100 x 1.25) Official contest rules can be found here In order to enter, make sure you subscribe here

Strange and erratic phenomena lurked around every corner this past week - one of those where at one point it's 65 degrees and at another point it snows four inches, proverbially and literally.

It was the fifth week of the 2024 Gregorian calendar year, but only the first of the Chinese Lunar New Year, this Year of the Dragon.

The Dragon is supposed to convey, among other traits, power and supremacy for those born in its year, and is said to foretell a bump in the birth rate.

Maybe in the East.

Over on these shores, things were not as they seem - sometimes comically, sometimes tragically.

We began with the Robn Super Bowl Tournament, updating live on the site as the game progressed (congrats to Chad Geren on taking home the $1,000 prize, and thanks to everyone for their feedback on the new Typeform format).

The game was closely-fought until the very end, or some might argue, until the 49ers made a blunder in which they successfully called the coin toss and elected to receive the ball. You get the ball first, score a touchdown, and the game is over, right? No.

Oh, you didn't know? Actually, the rules changed. The 49ers would later admit that, like many American NFL fans, they were unaware of a recent post-season overtime rule change that allows both teams to receive the ball, regardless of whether the first team to posses scores a touchdown. The 49ers received first, kicked a field goal, and the rest is history.

On Tuesday, ride-share company Lyft released its 2023 earnings report and claimed its profit-margin increased 500 basis points, or 5%, massively exceeding expectations. Its stock price shot up 60% after hours.

However, the Oopsies-Poopsies Department chimed in shortly after and corrected the report, noting that its margins only rose 50.0 basis points (point-zero? what?), or 1/10th of the overall gain they reported. Lyft's CEO went on an apology tour confirming explicitly that the mistake was on him, and confirming implicitly that the concept of a basis point is increasingly wonky and unnecessary.

On Wednesday, before it went viral and every subsequent article corrected the error, television station KVOA reported that an after-school instructor in Tucson, Arizona, named Nkechi Diallo was fired for posting explicit content on an OnlyFans account.

In an all-time example of burying the lede, the local news report failed to initially note that the instructor wasn't actually Nkechi Diallo, but that she was notorious one-time Black hopeful Rachael Dolezal. Dolezal is best known for claiming to be African American and utilizing that claim to rise to leadership in a local NCAAP chapter, before disappearing from public life after 2015 after being found out to be a living instantiation of the Honky Trifecta (spending much of her non-pornographic career as an African Studies professor in Eastern Washington, being born in extreme northwest Montana, and looking like this).

Also on Wednesday, a family of three from Kansas City went to celebrate what they thought would be a Super Bowl parade. In actuality, they went to witness and participate in a mass shooting.

Each member of the family was shot as were 19 other people, 10 of whom were children. One woman was killed.

The family's offense was having the temerity to be within firing distance of what is being termed a private dispute. Less clear is how a "private dispute" resulted in the indiscriminate spraying of gunfire into a crowd and 22 people being shot, or how a meaningful cohort of Americans will de-cling from their preferred conclusion for why mass shootings continue to happen and have a constructive discussion on policy.

In this publication's little sliver of the world, Ohio State on Thursday fired its basketball coach Chris Holtmann. This is not as straightforward of a "things aren't as they seem" claim as the rest. Ohio State wasn't very good at basketball, was the problem. Many expected that Holtmann would be let go after the season concluded.

The strangeness is more about the timing of the move.

First, Holtmann himself, who is not a dumb person, was "blindsided" by the move. For someone with that level of middling performance at a high-major resource school to still be blindsided is telling.

Second, incoming Ohio State athletic director Ross Bjork will not start in his position until July 1. Outgoing AD Gene Smith will leave Bjork with a coach of Smith's choosing, not of Bjork's choosing.

Third, it came mid-week and followed a road loss to the Big Ten's second-best team, Wisconsin. This is not the proverbial straw-that-breaks-the-camel's-back loss that usually catalyzes such firings because it's not a bad loss. It's also not the loss that took Ohio State out of the Big Ten hunt, which is what Smith referenced as the quality he was looking for in Holtmann's performance. That happened weeks ago. To wit, would not the home loss to 98th-ranked Indiana have been a better time? How about the 14-point shellacking from Nebraska two weeks before that?

While there is much to lament about the above examples (we left out 5 or 6 more) they are not meant as criticisms of Modern Life as it is today.

Remember, this is the publication in which we denigrate those who are professionally pessimistic, who are cynics as a matter of personal brand. Cynicism feeds on itself like sourdough starter and becomes self-perpetuating. Tear it out at the root. It is unhelpful.

Rather, the above examples are meant to illustrate that we live in a time of increased variability, self-delusion, randomness, self-inflicted erraticism, hollow "change."

One of the critical failings of the Doordash Economy is that we are provided with (and rewarded for using) almost unlimited ammunition to make what should be prohibitively hard, readily achievable.

There are more opportunities than ever, at the most superficial levels, to reinvent ourselves. To change our minds. To make rash decisions. To leave people behind without any warning. To take something away from others. To have something taken away from us.

All of this means that consistency in our daily lives, and the consistency that we have come to expect from the world – this person is who they say they are, my job is safe for a few more days, I won't get shot at this large gathering, these are the rules we're playing by, this plane door won't fall out mid-flight – is exponentially minimized.

Meanwhile, so much of what should be readily achievable (like the average person being able to afford basic living expenses) is prohibitively hard.

Identify something or someone in your life that is honest, consistent, reliable, genuine, and cherish it. Foster it. Give it sunlight and lots of water. Try to spring it forth within yourself.

It is a diminishing natural resource of character.

Chickens In Paris

No. 11-ranked South Carolina men's basketball is desperately trying to be a thing.

That is, until they got blown out by 40 points on Wednesday by Auburn. The calls of Cocky being a "fraudulent team" are hailing forth.

First, the praise. Lamont Paris has come in and (over)achieved remarkable results with the Gamecocks in just his second year. You may remember him from leading the Chattanooga Mocs to the NCAA Tournament two years ago where they lost to Illinois in the first round by a point.

After an 11-21 campaign last year, Paris is 21-4 this season, and has brought his turgid pace of play (only 7 teams out of the 362 in D-1 college basketball play slower than they do). Up until the Auburn flatlining, they had held opponents to a top 30 defensive effective field goal percentage.

On the flip side, South Carolina had a horrific non-conference schedule, which allowed them to rack up a 12-1 record. What was less expected was going 9-2 to start SEC play, knocking off Kentucky and Tennessee along the way.

Paris' team is the Washington State of the SEC. The parallels between the Cougars and the Gamecocks are uncanny.

  • They were both picked to finish at the bottom of their conference in the pre-season predictions (Wazzu 10th out of 12, South Carolina 14th out of 14).
  • They play sub-300 tempo, defense-oriented basketball.
  • Neither are in any way considered a hoops powerhouse, random South Carolina 2017 Final Four appearance notwithstanding.
  • And they are both tied for the lead in their conference as of February 16th with six games left to play.

More interesting to me than reacting to the inevitable knock-down that was coming South Carolina's way is seeing how they pick themselves back up the mat. There are six games left in the regular season. Do they finish strong and go into the SEC Tournament with momentum? They can either be a Big Dance team that is a four- or five-seed on the rise, or an eight-seed that's stalled out.

So, what do you think? Does South Carolina take down LSU at to maintain a very improbable share of the SEC lead with five games left to play?

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2024 College Basketball Contest - Master File - Google Drive

Week 6 Graded Responses

2024 College Basketball Contest - Master File - Google Drive

Week 6 Responses

2024 College Basketball Contest - Master File - Google Drive