Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Duke Fantasy Game: Hot Potato

Guys...I have an idea. It's hot potato.

We're about to enter the doldrums of the Duke schedule, that time between the fun early games and the start of ACC action when we play community colleges from Eastern Europe or somewhere. I need some amusement to keep me going. This is pretty short notice, but I'd like to start a little fantasy game. The rules will be pretty simple: before each Duke game, I pick one player on the roster. That player is the 'hot potato.' Everyone has to guess how many points the hot potato will score. The difference between your guess and the actual points is your score for the day.

Time to blow your mind: A lower score is better. Just like golf.

Important note: The Hot Potato might be a terrible name. I'm not even sure what it means, and I realize it bears no resemblance to the actual hot potato game of our youth. I'll be accepting alternative suggestions.

The Hot Potato for Duke vs. Bradley is:

Seth Curry

If it works, we'll keep this going for the whole season, with scores carrying over and an eventual champ being crowned. There'll be standings and all kinds of fun throughout. I'll update today's picks in the blog post throughout the day. Leave your score and name in the comments section. You can use a fake name if you'd like.

Request for readers: please don't humiliate me by not doing this. If my name is the only one below at the end of the day, my self-esteem will be shattered and my next blog will be all the sad poems I write. The first poem is called "An Empty Heart." You get the idea; it's bad stuff. AND THIS IS SO EASY.

Today's Picks:

UPDATE: Reader Dylan has awesomely made a spread sheet that will keep things tabulated. Instead of posting everyone's guess here, I'll post the standings the day after a game.


Last night, Syracuse put the mollywhomp down on Michigan State, beating them on a neutral floor by a wider margin than Duke managed at home. Mighty Rick Jackson had more boards than a dude working the lumber section at Lowe's. Fewer divorces, too. After the game, Tom Izzo used some uber-masculine language to imply that his team was effeminate.

""It's gut check time for us," he said. "I'm as disappointed in that performance as I've been in any since I've been at Michigan State. Credit Syracuse or the one man who kicked our butt. We didn't come early inside and let them dominate on the boards. We turned into a pretty-boy jump-shooting team instead of the blue-collar, fist-fighting team we should be.

"The aggressive team usually gets the advantage," Izzo said, "but we were taking it like a sissy and they took it up like men."

A furious Izzo then went into his bag and took out twelve of these, demanding that his team wear them on the plane ride home:

When asked why he had the skirts in the first place, Izzo blushed and stammered for three minutes. When asked if he would be wearing one himself, Izzo was adamant. "Hey, we're a team."

So Syracuse is evidently quite good. They make other teams "take it like a sissy." Sounds awful. The Orange were my team growing up, along with Duke (liked the Devils ever since Laettner's shot, which cemented my love of sports), and I've always hoped for a dream final between the two schools. Something like that might actually be awful, since if Duke lost I'd have a twinge of guilt for wishing Syracuse to the title game, but on the other hand it'd be a pretty great match-up of awesome coaches. Also, my dad went to Syracuse, so if Duke won I'd have something to lord over him for the rest of time.

Let's take a quick Wednesday peek at the ranks of the undefeated. Here are the unblemished teams remaining, in order of rank:

Ohio State
San Diego State
Notre Dame

Those are just the ones in the top 25 plus Northwestern, so there may be more. But if you're keeping score at home, that's six Big East teams of the 14 remaining. There will be some doozy throwdowns in that conference.

Moving on: my boy Saunders informed me the other day that the name Kyrie, in Greek, means "Lord." Wikipedia confirms: "It is the common name of an important prayer of Christian liturgy, also called Kýrie, eléison which is Greek for Lord, have mercy."

I've been tossing around ideas all year for the important question of Kyrie's nickname. This information really changes the debate, though. Clearly, his nickname has to incorporate the Greek Lord angle. Here are some ideas:

1. Lord Irving
2. Lord Nasty
3. Lord Slick
4. Dionysus
5. Kyrie Eleison (this is pronounced KEE-ree uh-LAY-zon)

I think I like the last one the best, particularly because it's also in the lyrics of a Mr. Mister #1 hit from 1985 called "Kyrie." The chorus is INSPIRING:

Kyrie Eleison
Down the road that I must travel!
Kyrie Eleison
Through the darkness of the night!
Kyrie Eleison
Where I'm going will you follow!
Kyrie Eleison
On a highway in the light!

(Exclamation points all mine.)

And yes, my friends, there is a YouTube. It's actually kind of an awesome tune, even though the first minute is slow. Also, lots of 80s haircuts. Also, an emotional shot of four dudes skipping stones at a beach.

I think we can all agree that this should be his theme song, but let me know how you feel about the nicknames.

Also, that shitty Lowe's joke above opened my brain to a couple nicknames for Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly: Sawdust & Splinters. Why? 'Cause they're always around the boards! I'm open to Singler taking Kelly's place in this one, but I'm 100% committed to 'Sawdust' for Mason.

This has been a super substantive blog post so far. First I introduced the world's most basic pick 'em game, speculated about a hypothetical match-up that's 4 months away, listed some undefeated teams, then talked nicknames for like 8 paragraphs. SCSD: serving nobody's needs.

So, how about Bradley? What do we know? One thing I realized a while ago is that there aren't many famous people named Bradley or Brad. Yeah, the one obvious exception is Brad Pitt. And he's fairly famous. I get it. But really, try to think of another famous person with that name. Do it.

Here's what my brain produced:

Bradley Cooper
Brad Stevens

And the last one isn't even famous. Here's what Wikipedia came up with:

* Bradley Ayers (born 1935), CIA operative
* Brad Hogg (born 1970), Australian cricket player
* Bradley Hore (born 1981), Australian flyweight boxer
* Bradley James (born 1984), British actor
* Bradley Manning alleged whistleblower / leaker of video in Wikileaks' Collateral murder
* Bradley McGee (born 1976), former Australian professional cyclist (road and track)
* Bradley McIntosh (born 1981), member of S Club 7
* Bradley Nowell (1968 – 1996), American musician
* Bradley Quinn (born 1976), Northern Irish photographer
* Bradley Wiggins (born 1980), British professional cyclist (road and track)

I think we can all agree that we've never heard of these people. Except for Bradley Quinn, who takes absolutely stunning Northern Irish photos like this one:

Gorgeous. That's all the analysis I have on Bradley, except for this tidbit: they don't have anyone named Bradley on their roster. But they do have guys named "Dodie Dudson" and "Walt Lemon." Those are names we can all enjoy.. Don't forget the Hot Potato, and I will see you tomorrow.


  1. So, do you have to submit for every single game? Because how about I just submit for the first and the last, and let everyone else rack up the points during the middle of the season... Or will it be some sort of average? Or do you need at least a certain percentage of games? Alas, my vote is 8.


  2. Seth Curry: 9pts

    You forgot Brad, the rich snotty girl from "Hey Dude".

    Also, I've been thinking about the Kyrie eleison for a while. wouldn't it be AWESOME for the Cameron Crazies to start singing it in Gregorian chant or Mozart requiem style? It would have that Rock, Chalk vibe but be nerdy and Greek and liturgical: eruditio et religio! GO DUKE.

  3. 15 pts, im optimistic for the namesake of the blog

  4. How about you randomize the selection for each game (without replacement) and call it Dook Roulette? No way I could play...then I'd have to follow the D schedule all year, which sounds very tedious, and have my desires for the game affected by the individual. Fun idea though.

  5. With Kyrie out, this is Seth Curry's chance to actually save Duke. 10 points.

  6. Seth Curry = 16 pts
    Makin the most of the Lord's absence.

  7. Great questions all around, and thanks to all for participation. I'm going to update the guesses in the post around noon.

    To answer Dylan's question, yeah, it would be great if we could do this for every game and keep track. Maybe if someone misses a game, they receive the average score of the field plus a 2-point penalty? That way it allows for someone to forget and not have to quit, but doesn't create an advantage for abstaining.

    Anon who I think is John - I love stats, but I think you just went way the hell over my head.

    Marion - That is an amazing idea. Amazing. If I had one million dollars I would somehow make this work, even if I had to pay everyone at Cameron Indoor Stadium.


  8. Also, John, you should definitely play. If you can beat a bunch of Duke fans, you'd have bragging rights for life.

  9. I'll consider playing if you at least seriously consider the name "Dukie Roulette" or maybe "Devil's Roulette," that sounds pretty tough and sinister. The randomization would be a bonus, but not necessary I suppose...fine...9 points for Curry the younger. -John

  10. 25 points for mister curry (in dick vitale voice)
    -dick k.

  11. All undefeateds in order of kenpomeroy's rankings:

    1. Kansas
    2. Duke
    3. Ohio State
    4. Pitt
    11. G-Town
    12. Baylor
    13. UNLV
    16. BYU
    17. Syracuse
    19. Tennesee
    20. San Diego State
    21. Louisville
    28. UConn
    33. Central Florida
    37. Notre Dame
    48. Cincinnati
    53. Northwestern
    64. Cleveland State

    Of note, Ken's rankings have predicted the ncaa champion every year since 2005 ... and had UConn 2nd in 2004 (Duke was 1st) and Syracuse 7th in 2003 (Kansas, was 1st)

  12. BTW: I'm sure you know Bradley Nowell..."She said: 'You're not the only one, but you're the best Brad-ley!'" -J

  13. Sean, at what point were his rankings predictive? Right before the tournament, or from the beginning of the year?


  14. To be fair, I'm not even sure it's predictive until AFTER the tournament, which obviously sways things because you end up having to beat really good teams to win the championship and probably helps in the computers. As a generality though, it is a good predictor of paper tigers. And, has fun info like an over 20% chance of one of Kansas and Duke going undefeated (25% chance if you throw OSU into the mix), which mostly means the ACC and Big-12 are terrible this year. If you notice Pitt only has a 0.76% chance of staying undefeated.


  15. Dr. Kenneth NoisewaterDecember 8, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    I'm seeing a 20 point performance in Mr. Curry's near future

  16. 12 Points. He's totally going to score exactly 12 points.

  17. Stupid OpenID ... this is Monty.

  18. SC: 6 points


  19. Jacob "The Destoryer"December 8, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    13 points for Mr. Curry.

  20. 12 points. But stop promising poems, Shane.

  21. Twelve points for Seth, the older Young Threezy.

  22. Carrie, your sonnet is coming, I promise. Also, Jill has a surprise for you.

    Everyone else - Dylan has made a kickass spreadsheet to keep track of this, so instead of updating everyone's guess in the post, I will just post the standings tomorrow. Keep on guessing, anything before game time gets on board.


  23. Seth Curry scores 19


  24. Our namesake scores 15 tonight, "Lord Irving" takes me back to my days in the UK when I was "someone", once. How bout Bill Bradley, kinda apropos, isn't it? Singler is "The Saw" as he cuts and scores both "in and out" from the boards.


  25. At the risk of picking the unlucky number, 13 for Curry
    -The Girlfriend

  26. ps. Tom, you were never "someone". Stop making up stories.
    -The Girlfriend

  27. I thought the girlfriend had a new nickname. What is this blasphemy?!

  28. 17 points for Curry

  29. I'm upping my prediction from 5 to 17. Extra PT with Irving out.

  30. Sir Curry will score 11. Mark it down.

    And Marion - one of the best ideas I've heard in a long, long time. The Crazies could fill Cameron with that Gregorian sound - even cooler? Something never heard from a fan base, even the Crazies. Firsts are so cool.