March Madness

Stop doing whatever you are doing and feverishly consider your picks for the NCAA Basketball Tournaments so you can enter the FOURTEENTH Annual Big Johnson COED College Basketball Tournament Classic, sponsored by yours truly, on ESPN. Yes, it’s 100% FREE!

Here’s your chance to throw the Pirate Guy overboard!

Last year I suggested we would return to Cheese Ball-level prizes for this contest. But . . . as many of you know, two of my kids – Chris and Victoria – have Type 1 diabetes (T1D). Chris has gone part-time with his employer, Alphabet Energy, to focus the rest of his time on the development of an open-source Artificial Pancreas System (APS), including building and wearing one himself as a crash test dummy. More about it here: Chris and his Pancreas.* In any event, I am donating $1 for each entry in the Big Johnson, and $5 for each entry that beats my own, to his and his cohort’s efforts.

I haven’t watched a single game so far this season, so they should do pretty well out of this! Over 35 people beat me last year, and T1D projects received nearly $500 from me during my recent Football contest.

In addition, there are still prizes! To win the championship prize – a $100 Amazon Gift Card – you have to score more total points than anyone in the Big Johnson (mens and womens tournaments combined). $25 gift cards are awarded to the winners of the Mens and Womens tournaments. Win them all, you get it all! Get your friends to enter, and diabetes research wins a bundle!

How difficult can this contest really be? Well, there might be upsets. Or not. And gee, there are only – uh, lessee, 64 teams in each tournament – okay, 126 total games. (Not counting the play-in games, which we don’t.) You might as well pick your teams based on the pom-pom colors.

Remember, enter BOTH the Men’s and Women’s tournaments if you want a shot at the championship. For the men – it’s w-i-i-i-de-open this year. For the women – will seemingly unbeatable UCONN sweep the table YET AGAIN, or will the one of the many talented challengers finally put an end to their run?

The brackets are being set by the NCAA this weekend – Men’s Sunday March 13; Women’s Monday March 14. The men’s first round games that count start on Thursday March 17, and the women’s first games are on Friday March 18 – and the brackets lock shortly before the first game of each tournament. That doesn’t leave you much time, so GET GOING!

The Group Name on ESPN is “Big Johnson” for each tournament. This year, the setting for the group is PUBLIC, so you don’t need a password.

You can get there through the following URLs:

** Men’s Tournament Challenge:

** Women’s Tournament Challenge:

I know some of you like to fake out ESPN with an alias and throwaway email, but please be sure I can identify you from your ESPN name or the name of your entry. Or send me a note after the contest if you win.

After you create your entry, be sure to join the Big Johnson group in each tournament! ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON MAY BE IN MY GROUP. And, if you create your entry before the brackets are set, be sure to return in time to choose your winners before they lock. Most people will wait until a day or two before the tournaments start, but don’t forget! You will be humiliated as your entries with zero points sink inexorably to the bottom of the group . . . or I will remove them to save you the embarrassment.

ESPN tracks your points as the tournaments progress. I will weigh in every now and then with a Big Johnson update note.

FRIENDS ARE WELCOME, so you can send them this if you wish. Don’t forget your Significant Other. Just be sure they identify themselves to me in their entry!

Best of luck to everyone!

Kim Hannemann – the Pirate Guy

*  More Chris – this time, blaming his tools.

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