Yesterday afternoon Indiana University rallied from five points down in the final minute to win the Big Ten title, most likely securing a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. As a duel alumni household the Weatherby's are pretty fired up about basketball. Fourth ranked Louisville being favored to win the Big East tournament makes it doubly exciting for me. I am dreaming of these two making their way to Atlanta for the Final Four.
Before that happens the group over at the Hype has teamed up with the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee of the Final Four to create the Atlanta Hoops Hackathon. The aim is to create a real-time mobile-centric volunteer coordination system and drive attendance to the Division II & III Championship games which are also being held in Atlanta.
Atlanta Hoops Hack has over $1,500 in prizes to give away including VIP access to the Final Four weekend events. The fun takes place on Friday and Saturday. Register here to participate.
The city of Atlanta is hosting its first ever NFC Championship today. The hometown Falcons are a 4.5 underdog. You have to go back over thirty years to find a number one seed so heavily favored to lose. The Falcons get no respect.
They got no respect late in the season when they had the best record in the conference. They need to beat the Giants everyone said. They did. Blew them out. Still no respect. They got no respect against the Seahawks. Beat them everyone said to get the respect you deserve. They did. Still no respect. Today is the day the Falcons get respect.
The key to this game is containing Kaepernick on the ground, make Gore run through a crowd, and ultimately forcing Kaepernick to beat you with his arm. As good as the guy is I do not think he can beat the Falcons strong secondary with his arm in a hostile environment. Interception city.
If the Falcons get off to a fast start, and they are the best at in the NFL at doing so, and contain Kaep on the ground they not only cover the 4.5 they win outright. If they don't it could get ugly early. My money says they do both and advance to the Super Bowl.
As a pretty big football fan one of the highlights for me of SEVC was Thomas Dimitroff's luncheon keynote speech. The focus of his talk was on the importance of team, which I thought to be most a propos, as a good cohesive team is important to success on both the gridiron and in the startup world.
Well somewhere along the way Dimitroff put up this slide.
While he did not make the connection is his talk, it immediately dawned on me that these brutal facts of reality applied to technology startups as well. I have not been able to find any data to back this up but I think you can generally apply the above to technology startups by changing a few words. It goes something like this based on my experience.
About 10% of every startup concept gets to revenue and of those maybe 10% are reviewed by venture capitalists. Of those .3% get invited to give an partner presentation and about .03% get venture funded. A 10x return? .003%. So if you accept this hypothesis, the chance of your startup getting venture funded and a 10x return are about the same as a high school football player growing up to play in the National Football League until they are 30. And to think growing up I wanted nothing more in the world than to be Dick Butkus (truth).
One of the smartest things I heard during the conference came out of the mouth of David Cummings. He said most startups should not seek outside funding. These brutal facts of reality back him up.
A special thanks to Barbara and Melanie at Imlay Investments for getting me a copy of Dimitroff's slide.
LMRC is right more often then other ranking methods and effective at sorting out the top teams in the later rounds. Here is Sokol's and Nemhauser's presentation that highlights the power of the methodology.
I used LMRC to pick my Final Four this year. Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and North Carolina were the result. Below is a pure play LMRC bracket up to the Final Four. LMRC puts Memphis and North Carolina in the final with the Tar Heels prevailing... shudder the thought. So I went had to go with my heart and my hope once LMRC delivered the Final Four.
Having been weaned on Louisville basketball at Freedom Hall, I took the Cards over Memphis in the semis and again over North Carolina in the final. 76 - 68. Terrance Williams gets the most outstanding player.
Tonight the New York Yankees will play their final game in 85 year old Yankee Stadium before moving across the street to the "New" Yankee Stadium.
I am sure that mainstream media will be reporting on the most famous moments at Yankee Stadium. Gehrig's "Luckest main alive" speech, Larsen's perfect game, too many Reggie Jackson heroics to mention, and "The Greatest Game Ever Played", the 1958 NFL championship game between the New York Football Giants and the Baltimore Colts.
Yankee Stadium is one of my favorite sports venues. Walking into the place one cannot help feeling a sense of reverence. Truth be told I am a bit of a Yankees fan. I spent quite a few days and nights there during my time in metro New York between 1990 and 1992. Here are my top personal memories.
The beautiful summer afternoon when Bo Jackson broke his bat over his knee in 1990 after, I believe, striking out for the third time. I was sitting in the box of Rick Balter, who later was sent to prison for having a contract taken out on an individual that owed him some money.
The evening in June in of 1991 when the Yankees were playing the A's. I was in the Mobil box. Jose Canseco had been seen either earlier that day or the day before leaving Madonna's apartment. When he came on deck he had an exchange of words with a fan who was ejected. Shortly thereafter when he took his position in right field someone from the bleachers tossed an inflatable doll onto the field. Canseco ignored it and it was removed by security. Only in NYC.
Seeing the Braves play the Yankees in the 1999 World Series. I forget if it was game 3 or 4 (the Yankees won both). What I do remember is that Danny and Stephen Baldwin were in the box next to us and played a very spirited game of mound ball with Nikki Nickerson and me.
And oh yeah, on more than one occasion Yankees fans throwing D batteries at Boston fans that were foolish enough to cheer the Sox.
Like many Cathedrals, Yankee Stadium can be a bit cold and dark. But I have great memories there. And I am going to miss her. Not many more important places in all of sport.
What is Logistic Regression Markov Chain (LMRC) you may ask? It is a tool that can be used to help with selecting and seeding the NCAA Tournament field. Or if the NCAA does not want to use it for that perhaps you can use it to win your office pool.
According to this article LRMC has predicted 30 of the past 36 Final Four teams correctly. That's pretty impressive. This year it predicted both the Final Four and Kansas as champion of the tournament.
Something to keep in mind when putting together your brackets next March. And I am looking forward to next year. On a Sportscenter broadcast Dicky V had the Louisville Cardinals coming out of the gate as number three.
Sunday started with a bang for me with a flag football game partially played in Piedmont Park (site of the first Auburn/Georgia football game played in 1892 that kicked off the oldest football rivalry in the South.) The black team beat the red team 77 - 56. Like most football games the outcome was determined by turnovers.
Now I am starting feel the effects of two and a half hours of football and starting to think about the Super Bowl. This year is not as exciting for me as last when I was cheering on the Bears. But it is an interesting game with history on the line.
While I was hoping to see the Packers in this one so that Favre could ride off into the sunset, I am going to be cheering for the underdog Giants. Not because they are dogs. I have cheered for them from my Hoboken days when I was lucky enough to make it out to Giants Stadium once or twice to see the great LT play. That man was scary fast. Regardless, I was rooting for them from a Hoboken bar in Super Bowl XXV when they beat the Bills. I was in the stadium looking for some O when the Ravens defense shut them down in Super Bowl XXXV. Tonight I am going to be cheering them on from my couch with two sick kids.
Their are some interesting technical innovations that will be happening during the game. There is going to be the first Twitter Bowl, where twitter users can send tweets to @superbowlads rating commercials. Those following will have a pretty good idea of the ad scorecard as the game progresses.
The NFL is going to let fans help pick the game's MVP. During the fourth quarter fans can vote at Super Bowl web site or by texting to 99777. The fans vote counts for 20% with media getting 80%.
So I am going to be rooting for the Giants, watching the ads, playing with some tech stuff, and taking care of the kids.
My prediction? Plaxico almost has it right. Add ten points to his call of 23-17 and switch the winner. The Giants cover, but lose 33 - 27. I hope I am wrong, because I really want the 85 Bears to remain the 2nd greatest team to play in my lifetime.
Over the weekend I finished reading The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. I purchased the book last year and let it sit until the heart of the football season. After you read it you will never watch a football game in the same way again.
The book is two intertwined stories.
First Lewis analyzes the evolution of football strategy over the past 30 or so years. The rise of the West Coast offense, the appearance of a new breed of defensive player such as Lawrence Taylor, and the resulting need for quarterback blind side protection. This ultimately led to other changes in strategy with the end result being the left tackle spot becoming highly valued with those playing the position generally being the second highest paid person on the field (behind the QBs they are protecting).
Second Lewis adds a layer of color tale of Michael Oher. Oher is a homeless Memphis ghetto kid taken in by
a rich white family with ties to Ole Miss and a Christian high school. At 6'6" and 350 pounds Oher develops into an top ranked left tackle prodigy
with every major college coach in the country recruiting him. Oher ends up at Ole Miss, under NCAA investigation, but with a bright future ahead of him in the league. This personal story brings fresh insight into how hard it is for an inner city kid to break away from his past as well as creates great interest for one to follow Oher's career.
The Blind Side is a fascinating book that is a must read for any football fan.
"Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historic achievement. My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams."
Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron
Hammerin' Hank is one class act. And I am with him on this one and pretty much agree with Cuban. Give Barry his due.
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