Dan Steinberg here.
First off, apologies to the Local Voters for being so slow in posting additional pithy comments. Later today, with any luck. And now, my Local Notes from Day One:
1) In all five of my pools I selected every Local team to win in the first round, save George Washington, not because I don't love kangaroo-wearing GW fans but because I thought the Colonials got sort of lucky with their draw in AC and weren't really all that swell. Did I think they would lose by 30 points? Nope, but I did laugh at the fact that one of my colleagues went on the record predicting a win, and offered to put his credibility on the line with that pick. I will now never believe another word Marc Carig writes. Of course, did I have the intestinal fortitude to boast of my five VCU picks before tip-off? No, I did not.
2) Eric Maynor? I mean, the cold-bloodedest of them all.
3) And how does the VCU-Duke story not make the front of the sports section today? You're telling me that story doesn't have more interest than GW getting a noogie, or than a Virginia-Albany preview? As of this writing, the VCU-Duke game story is the most-viewed sports story on our site, ahead even of some nonsense Redskins news. The Albany preview and the GW gamer don't appear in the top five.
4) And here's when you know you have issues: when an 11-seeded CAA team beats a sixth-seeded ACC team in a fantastic finish, and the first person you think of is some guy whom you've never even met with a site named Gheorghe: The Blog. But well done, GTB. Frankly, I feel like dozens of our Local Voters were onto VCU way before the rest of the world. As previously mentioned, I don't root for any sports teams at all, not even at the middle school level, but I felt pride in the Local Poll last night.
5) Speaking of which, if Virginia Tech and Virginia win today, nearly one sixth of the remaining field will be Local teams.
6) As far as the celeb and pseudo-celeb pool, take a look who's in first place. Yeah, that's right. I used to make it a policy never to enter my own pools, just because I didn't want something like this to happen. But I do tend to do abnormally well in March Madness pools. I have many boring stories to tell about my excellence, including the folder filled with color-coded advice sheets that I break out once a year to assist in my excellence, but they're mostly boring.
Anyhow, in case you're too lazy to follow that link, let's consider the Top Five: Superstar Steinberg, Antawn Jamison, Chris Cillizza of The Fix, Dan Quickie Shanoff and former Maryland star and Comcast SportsyNet personality Christy Winters-Scott. Followed by a group that includes Alecko Eskandarian and Miss DC. The final three places are occupied by Calvin Booth, Mike Wise's dog and The Big Lead. This is the greatest pool ever.
7) As for the scoring system, which I did not choose, it is, in a word, dumb. The bonus structure is way too disjointed; successfully picking one 12 seed to beat a five seed is worth more than successfully picking all the five seeds to win in the first round. Under that system, which I didn't know about until after I had filed my bracket, you'd be stupid not to pick every 12 seed, since just one hit would make it worthwhile. I'm always, always opposed to gimmick scoring systems. If you don't have the intestinal fortitude to pick an upset without the lure of bonus points, you shouldn't be playing in the first place.
Also, if I recall correctly, the "upset bonuses" are tied entirely to seed differential, so if you picked Kentucky to win it all as an eight you wouldn't get any bonus if the Wildcats beat, say, Xavier in the final, because Xavier is an even wackier high seed. That doesn't make any sense at all.
But the ability to see the most popular upsets, most popular Final Fours, most popular Cinderellas and Stumblers and all the rest is great, and contest guru Frank Thomason has been remarkably awesome in helping me with the celeb pool, so I won't complain too much.
8) Speaking previously of The Big Lead, please consider this slow-mo replay of Greg Paulus not being fouled last night: