Archive for March, 2011

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Check-Raise: My Journey From Spewy Amateur To Poker Professional – March 2011

March 31, 2011

It’s no secret that I fancy myself a poker player. I’ve been dabbling in the hobby for years now. Those of you that are familiar with my story know that I went on an insanely hot and extended run early in my poker career way back in 2005. I played my first hand of Texas Hold Em in August of 2004 and by June of 2005 I had a bankroll of $25,000. I was good, sure. I studied the game extensively, reading any book I could get my hand on and I thought about poker day and night, even when I was away from the tables. More importantly, I was absurdly lucky. I was making all sorts of mistakes when it comes to sustaining a bankroll. I’d move up two levels within the same session and happened to go on an upswing that lasted for three months through every level I tried. I wasn’t rolled for the levels I was playing, but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t losing. So when I did start to go through the inevitable downswings, I couldn’t afford them at the levels I was playing at and soon found myself struggling to get by financially. That was pretty problematic since I’d already quit my job and dropped out of the University Of Washington. Why bother going to class when I could be making $100 an hour gambling online? It was a fair question and even if my degree was within arm’s reach, what good was a college diploma going to do me if I was playing cards for a living? Needless to say, my early run of success completely blinded me as a poker player and practically ruined my life. Six years later, I’m still recovering from some of the damage I caused myself.

But poker never left me. Throughout the years, I’ve had a lot of minor successes. I’ve always been a good tournament player and every once in a while I’ll pull off a huge, life-saving cash in a big tournament. Then I’ll be rolled for a couple months until I blow it all back in cash games. This has pretty much been my poker career since my year as a moronic “pro.”

Yet, for some reason, I’ve always thought of myself as a good player… but that’s total bullshit. Whatever minor successes I may have had playing cards over the past five years has been completely negated by my alcoholism or severe leaks in my poker game. I might deposit $50 online and grind my way to a $600 bankroll, go out for drinks one night, come home plastered, wake up the next day, log on to my poker account and see my balance sitting at $0. This happened on several occassions. Why can’t they make an interlock system for computers?! I would have saved thousands over the years. With alcohol mostly out of my life for the past three years (I relapsed for about 8 months), I can no longer blame drunkenness for my inability to maintain a bankroll. I have roughly three years of sobriety since January 2008, but I’ve been a consistent loser during that time. I might have a month or two of profit here and there, but I recently purchased some online tracking software and my cash game results over the past couple years are alarming. They are terrible.

So with all this in mind, I made a vow to myself that in 2011 I would make money gambling. I don’t care how much I win, I just don’t want to be a loser anymore. I’ll save my goal to be a professional for 2013. Right now, I just want to slowly turn this ship around. So far, so good.

First off, let me make a disclaimer. For absurd reasons, gambling online in Washington is illegal. The sites I play on enforce this law. I will be making references to my “online” results frequently in my blog posts. THESE RESULTS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. ALL ONLINE RESULTS I POST ARE EITHER A FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION OR FOR PLAY CHIPS ONLINE. I INCLUDE THEM WITH MY OVERALL RESULTS BECAUSE… UHHH…. IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD.

I have tracked my results sporatically for years now, but I’ll usually lose interest when I start to go through a rough patch or I don’t like what I’m seeing anymore. I can’t say I have a lot of big losing months saved on my computer anywhere… but most of my really good months can be easily located. This year, I decided it’s best to be honest with myself. Starting in January, I’ve tracked every single aspect of gambling that I’ve done: from “online” gambling, live cash games, local tournaments, house games to pit games, sports betting, and personal wagers. If I bet someone $5 that they can’t eat a certain jalepeno pepper, I’m logging that bet somewhere. I know EXACTLY how well I’ve done since the start of 2011 and my results are promising.

I’m currently on a four month winning stretch that started with a +$528 month in December. Here are my 2011 results:

January: +$71.91
February: +$212.68
March: +$129.16

Total: +$413.75 (+$941.75 including December)

Pretty modest numbers, but mission accomplished so far. I’m making money gambling, consistently. Even so, those results are disappointing if we do a little more number crunching. Here are some other notable facts:

*I’m up $792 in live tournaments in 2011. I’ve played 16 tournaments and cashed in 7 of them for a 44% in the money rate. Even more ridiculous, I’ve finished in the top three 6 of the 7 times I’ve cashed and I have 3 wins. I’m destroying live tournaments.

*I’m up $666.45 in online tournaments in 2011. I’ve cashed in 60 of 361 tournaments I’ve played (16.6%). My biggest cash is for $360, so I’m yet to get that huge score I’m anxiously waiting for. I’ve done well in online tournaments for the year, but I’ve had some incredibly bad luck so far. I usually have something absurd happen to me in the very late stages of big money tournaments.

*I’ve made $474.14 in rakeback in 2011. Rakeback is a feature offered on some poker sites. Every pot you play gets raked and Full Tilt Poker offers 27% rakeback, so once a week, I get a depost into my account for rakeback.

*Between tournaments, rakeback, and live cash games (~+$179), I’ve made about $2110… yet I’m showing a mere $400 profit for the year.

The conclusion: When it comes to online cash games, I AM THE WORST PLAYER ALIVE. To be specific, I’m down roughly $1500 playing cash games online and I’ve spent most of March trying to figure out what exactly I’m doing wrong. I started reading my fixed limit books again and I tried to focus on playing one limit only: $0.50-$1… and I had success. I showed an $83.85 profit at that limit for the month of March. Unfortunately, I didn’t start this plan until the 4th of the month and I’d already done severe damage to my bankroll by then. I also strayed away from my plan later in the month. For instance, tonight I decided to play one table of $2-$4 and got unlucky on back-to-back hands in my first orbit. A crushing start to a game I shouldn’t even be playing. Of course, I tilted after that and blew 100 big bets of my current limit before I swallowed my pride and left the table. In 40 minutes, I lost more money in one session of $2-$4 than I made all month grinding it out at $0.50-$1. It’s these kinds of scenarios that have kept me from sustained success: poor bankroll decisions, playing too many tables, steaming/tilting when I get unlucky, chasing losses, and running absurdly poorly when I do take a chance. Even though I was more restrained in March than I’ve ever been–78% of the hands I played were at the $0.50-$1 fixed limit level–I still managed to show a big loss in online cash games. In the 22% of hands I played outside my preferred limit I lost $663. Talk about a painful lesson in bankroll management… but at least I’m making sure I see it… and I proved I could make a profit if I stick to my guns and play the limits I should be playing.

A third of the way through 2011, I feel decent about my chances to be a successful poker player. I’ve shown a tremendous flair for winning tournaments, both online and live, and revisiting some poker literature really helped my live cash game out this month. I had a rough patch the past couple days that turned a great month into a merely good one, but I see good things ahead in that respect. I still feel like I’m swimming upstream, fighting my inability to win playing cash games online. Despite all the success I’ve had, my profit margin is small and I can blame it entirely on getting destroyed in online cash games… but it’s a leak I’m working and my big goal for April 2011 is to a show a profit in the online games. If I can turn that around for good, my modest profits will start to turn into substantial ones and I’ll be well on my way to achieving my 2013 goal.

Other notes:

*I’m up $13.70 in house games… playing for change with my dad, my brother and his friend.

*I’m stuck $25 in the pit (all from BlackJack) year-to-date. I avoid The Pit like The Plague, but Chips Casino in Bremerton offers a $5 and $10 Match Play on Wednesdays and turns a few hands of BlackJack into highly profitable bets. Unfortunately, I fall for the trick and keep playing after using my coupons. Stupid.

*I lost $122 on the NCAA tournament this year. RAPED.

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Limitless (2011)

March 26, 2011


Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish
Director: Neil Burger (The Illusionist)

Quick Thoughts: Limitless asks the question: what if we could use the full power of our brains? Unfortunately, the film’s answer isn’t all that exciting: kill the stock market, get a haircut, and win your ex back. Yes, because if I had superhuman intelligence, I’d use it to keep banging the same ordinary chick I’ve been with for years. OK, Bradley Cooper’s character does write a supposedly fantastic novel in an absurdly short amount of time, but who knows what’s so special about the book, because we’re never told anything about it, nor does its success have any bearing on the film’s story whatsoever. I like the concept in Limitless, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. As expected, our hero becomes addicted to the success his new drug of choice continually brings into his life… but his bottom is quick and the consequences are not very severe. If this was a cautionary tale about the dangers of drug abuse, the lesson seems to be: snort everything and life will work out just fine. This movie sort of reminded me of The Butterfly Effect, but way less cool. Limitless was mildly entertaining, but I can assure you, you won’t need NZT to grasp the full scope of this film.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Two viewings tops.
Sequel Potential: Doubtful.
Oscar Potential: None.
Nudity: None? WTF.
Grade: 5/10 (Worth Watching)
Recommendation: Limitless is fun, but it’s kind of stupid and hardly lives up to its name… the experimental drug, NZT, appears to give you access to 30% of your brain, at best.

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Silver City NCAA Pool Standings

March 20, 2011

Standings through first three rounds:

1. Jason L – 64
2. Jeff Thompson – 62
3. Brett – 60
4. Carly – 58
5. Shaye – 57
6. Stan – 55
6. Snack Pack – 55
6. Tony Apilado – 55
9. Domenick – 54
10. Jim Wainwright – 53
10. John Tolletson – 53
10. Dave – 53
13. Celeste – 52
13. Heather – 52
15. Jenna – 51
15. Mo – 51
17. Stevie D. – 50
17. Jim D. – 50
19. Les Marts – 49
20. Mac – 48
20. Steve W. – 48
22. Brad Jarvis – 47
23. Orseth – 46
24. Don Courset – 45

Kudos to:

-Shaye, for taking Richmond to the Sweet 16…
-Jenna, for being the only person to call the Morehead State upset…
-Jason L and Snack Pack, for taking Florida State to the Sweet 16…
-No one, for having the balls to take Butler, Marquette, or VCU to the Sweet 16.

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MacRankings – Bracket Edition

March 13, 2011

TOP 25:

#1 Seeds

1. Kansas (32-2)
Key Wins: Arizona, UCLA, Memphis, USC, @Michigan, @Baylor, KSU, Mizzou, A&M, @Mizzou, Texas
Key Losses: Texas, @KSU

2. Ohio State (31-2)
Key Wins: @Florida, @FSU, @Michigan, @Illinois, Purdue, @Minnesota, MSU, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan
Key Losses: @Wisconsin, @Purdue

3. Duke (30-4)
Key Wins: Marquette, Kansas State, MSU, Butler, BCU, UNC, Temple, Clemson, V-Tech, UNC
Key Losses: @FSU, @SJU, @VTU, @UNC

4. Notre Dame (26-6)
Key Wins: Georgia, @Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown, UCONN, SJU, Cincy, Marquette, @Pitt, L’ville, Villanova, @UCONN, Cincy
Key Loses: @Kentucky, @Syracuse, @Marquette, @SJU, @WVU, L’ville

#2 Seeds

5. San Diego State (32-2)
Key Wins: @Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Wichita St., @Cal, UNLV, @New Mexico, @UNLV, New Mexico, UNLV, BYU
Key Losses: @BYU, BYU

6. Pittsburgh (27-5)
Key Wins: Maryland, Texas, UCONN, Marquette, @Georgetown, Syracuse, Cincy, @WVU, @Villanova, WVU, Villanova
Key Losses: Tennessee, NDU, @SJU, @Louisville, UCONN

7. North Carolina (26-7)
Key Wins: Kentucky, V-Tech, Clemson, @BCU, FSU, @Clemson, BCU, @FSU, Duke, Clemson
Key Losses: Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, @Georgia Tech, @Duke, Duke

8. Connecticut (26-9)
Key Wins: Wichita State, MSU, Kentucky, @Texas, Villanova, Tennessee, @Marquette, G’town, @Cincy, G’town, Pitt, Syracuse, L’ville
Key Losses: @Pitt, @NDU, L’ville, Syracuse, @SJU, @L’ville, Marquette, @WV, NDU

#3 Seeds

9. BYU (30-4)
Key Wins: Utah St., St. Mary’s, Arizona, UTEP, @UNLV, SDSU, UNLV, @SDSU
Key Losses: @UCLA, @New Mexico, New Mexico, SDSU
Last Week: #2

10. Florida (26-7)
Key Wins: @FSU, KSU, Xavier, @Tennessee, @Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, @Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Key Losses: OSU, @UCF, Jacksonville, SCU, @Miss St, @Kentucky, Kentucky
Last Week: #10

11. Texas (27-7)
Key Wins: Illinois, @UNC, @MSU, A&M, @Kansas, Mizzou, @A&M, A&M
Key Losses: @Pitt, @USC, UCONN, @Nebraska, @Colorado, KSU, Kansas
Last Week: #9

12. Purdue (25-7)
Key Wins: @V-Tech, @Michigan, MSU, @Illinois, Wisconsin, OSU, @MSU, Illinois
Key Losses: @Richmond, @Minnesota, @WVU, @OSU, @Wisconsin, @Iowa, MSU
Last Week: #7

#4 Seeds

13. Kentucky (25-8)
Key Wins: Washington, Notre Dame, @Louisville, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt, @Tennessee, Florida
Key Losses: @UCONN, @UNC, @Georgia, @Alabama, @Ole Miss, @Florida, @Vanderbilt, @Arkansas
Last Week: #20

14. Syracuse (26-7)
Key Wins: MSU, Notre Dame, @St. John’s, Cincinnati, @UCONN, WVU, @Nova, @G’town, SJU
Key Losses: @Pitt, Villanova, Seton Hall, @Marquette, G’town, @L’ville, UCONN
Last Week: #11

15. Louisville (25-9)
Key Wins: Butler, UNLV, Marquette, SJU, WVU, @UCONN, Syracuse, UCONN, Pitt, Marquette, NDU
Key Losses: Drexel, Kentucky, @Villanova, @Providence, @G’town, @NDU, @Cincy, @WVU, UCONN
Last Week: #16

16. Wisconsin (23-8)
Key Wins: @BCU, @Marquette, Michigan, Illinois, Purdue, MSU, OSU, @Michigan
Key Losses: @UNLV, Notre Dame, @Illinois, @MSU, @Penn St, @Purdue, @OSU, Penn St
Last Week: #13

#5 Seeds

17. Arizona (27-7)
Key Wins: UCLA, UW, USC
Key Losses: @Kansas, @BYU, @Oregon St, UW, @USC, @UCLA, UW
Last Week: #19

18. St. John’s (21-11)
Key Wins: @WVU, Georgetown, Notre Dame, UCONN, @Cincy, @Marquette, Pitt, @Villanova, Duke
Key Losses: @St. Mary’s, St. Bonaventure, @Fordham, @Notre Dame, Syracuse, @Louisville, Cincy, @Georgetown, @UCLA, @Seton Hall, Syracuse
Last Week: #17

19. Xavier (24-7)
Key Wins: Butler, Temple, @Richmond, @Georgia, @Dayton
Key Losses: ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, @Cincy, @Charlotte, Dayton
Last Week: #22

20. Vanderbilt (23-10)
Key Wins: UNC, Marquette, Georgia, St. Mary’s, Kentucky, @Georgia
Key Losses: WVU, Missouri, @South Carolina, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Florida, Tennessee, @Kentucky, Florida, Florida
Last Week: #18

#6 Seeds

21. Texas A&M (24-8)
Key Wins: Temple, Washington, Missouri, KSU, Mizzou
Key Losses: BCU, @Texas, @Nebraska, Texas, Baylor, @Baylor, @Kansas, Texas

22. UNLV (24-8)
Key Wins: Wisconsin, @Virginia Tech, @KSU, @New Mexico
Key Losses: @Louisville, UCSB, BYU, @SDSU, Colorado St, @BYU, SDSU. SDSU
Last Week: Unranked

23. Kansas State (22-10)
Key Wins: Gonzaga, Virginia Tech, Kansas, Mizzou, @Texas
Key Losses: @Duke, @Florida, UNLV, @OK St, Colorado, @Mizzou, @A&M, @Kansas, @Colorado, Colorado
Last Week: #25

24. West Virginia (20-11)
Key Wins: Vanderbilt, @Georgetown, Purdue, @Cincy, NDU, UCONN, L’ville
Key Losses: Minnesota, @Miami, St. John’s, @Marquette, Marshall, @Louisville, @Villanova, Pitt, @Syracuse, @Pitt, Marquette
Last Week: Unranked

#7 Seeds

25. Washington (23-10)
Key Wins: Portland, @USC, @UCLA, @Cal, Arizona, Cal, UCLA, WSU, Arizona
Key Losses: @MSU, @Kentucky, @Texas A&M, @Stanford, @WSU, @Oregon St, @Oregon, @Arizona, WSU, USC

Note: San Diego State has a strong argument for a #1 seed, but I like Notre Dame more heading into this tournament.

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Hall Pass (2011)

March 8, 2011

Starring: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate
Director: Bobby & Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Stuck On You, Kingpin, Shallow Hal)

Quick Thoughts: A solid comedy that kind of loses its mind in the final act of the film. The premise of married men being allowed a week off from their marriages to do whatever they wish obviously provides plenty of laughs, but it’s the banter between Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) when they think no one is listening that are the film’s funniest moments. Being a Farrelly Brothers production, Hall Pass does cross into gross out territory, pushing the envelop a bit with its toilet humor, a sub-genre of comedy I never find particularly funny. The third act essentially ruins the film… transforming it from a quality comedy into something I’ll probably never watch again.

Grade: 5/10 (Worth Watching)
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Comedies always have the potential to get better over time. Not good enough to buy, but I’d maybe watch it again with a group of friends.
Sequel Potential: Seems like a stretch. Not only would it be tough to find a plausible way to continue this story, it’s not looking like a box office smash either.
Oscar Potential: None.
Nudity: Nicky Whelan gets naked and looks ridiculous.

Recommendation: Hall Pass is an okay comedy. If you’re a fan of the Farrelly Bros. past work this probably won’t disappoint you too much, but the last third of the movie is pretty brutal. It just gets out of control and stops being funny. I feel like they had a good concept for a comedy here with lots of ideas for funny scenes but had no idea how to end their film. If the ending didn’t suck so bad, I’d happily recommend this to most people, but as it is, seems like a rental to me.

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MacRankings – College Basketball Top 25

March 7, 2011

Okay, this is my first time posting later than the AP rankings this year, so my apologies:

TOP 25:

1. Kansas (29-2)
Key Wins: Arizona, UCLA, Memphis, USC, @Michigan, @Baylor, KSU, Mizzou, A&M, @Mizzou
Key Losses: Texas, @KSU
Last Week: #1

2. Ohio State (29-2)
Key Wins: @Florida, @FSU, @Michigan, @Illinois, Purdue, @Minnesota, MSU, Illinois, Wisconsin
Key Losses: @Wisconsin, @Purdue
Last Week: #3

3. Pittsburgh (27-4)
Key Wins: Maryland, Texas, UCONN, Marquette, @Georgetown, Syracuse, Cincy, @WVU, @Villanova, WVU, Villanova
Key Losses: Tennessee, NDU, @SJU, @Louisville
Last Week: #5

4. Duke (27-4)
Key Wins: Marquette, Kansas State, MSU, Butler, BCU, UNC, Temple, Clemson
Key Losses: @FSU, @SJU, @VTU, @UNC
Last Week: #4

5. San Diego State (29-2)
Key Wins: @Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Wichita St., @Cal, UNLV, @New Mexico, @UNLV, New Mexico
Key Losses: @BYU, BYU
Last Week: #6

6. BYU (28-3)
Key Wins: Utah St., St. Mary’s, Arizona, UTEP, @UNLV, SDSU, UNLV, @SDSU
Key Losses: @UCLA, @New Mexico, New Mexico
Last Week: #2

7. Notre Dame (25-5)
Key Wins: Georgia, @Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown, UCONN, SJU, Cincy, Marquette, @Pitt, L’ville, Villanova, @UCONN
Key Loses: @Kentucky, @Syracuse, @Marquette, @SJU, @WVU
Last Week: #8

8. Purdue (25-6)
Key Wins: @V-Tech, @Michigan, MSU, @Illinois, Wisconsin, OSU, @MSU, Illinois
Key Losses: @Richmond, @Minnesota, @WVU, @OSU, @Wisconsin, @Iowa
Last Week: #7

9. Florida (24-6)
Key Wins: @FSU, KSU, Xavier, @Tennessee, @Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, @Vanderbilt
Key Losses: OSU, @UCF, Jacksonville, SCU, @Miss St, @Kentucky
Last Week: #10

10. North Carolina (24-6)
Key Wins: Kentucky, V-Tech, Clemson, @BCU, FSU, @Clemson, BCU, @FSU, Duke
Key Losses: Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, @Georgia Tech, @Duke
Last Week: #15

11. Syracuse (25-6)
Key Wins: MSU, Notre Dame, @St. John’s, Cincinnati, @UCONN, WVU, @Nova, @G’town
Key Losses: @Pitt, Villanova, Seton Hall, @Marquette, G’town, @L’ville
Last Week: #11

12. Texas (25-6)
Key Wins: Illinois, @UNC, @MSU, A&M, @Kansas, Mizzou, @A&M
Key Losses: @Pitt, @USC, UCONN, @Nebraska, @Colorado, KSU
Last Week: #9

13. Wisconsin (23-7)
Key Wins: @BCU, @Marquette, Michigan, Illinois, Purdue, MSU, OSU, @Michigan
Key Losses: @UNLV, Notre Dame, @Illinois, @MSU, @Penn St, @Purdue, @OSU
Last Week: #13

14. Louisville (23-8)
Key Wins: Butler, UNLV, Marquette, SJU, WVU, @UCONN, Syracuse, UCONN, Pitt
Key Losses: Drexel, Kentucky, @Villanova, @Providence, @G’town, @NDU, @Cincy, @WVU
Last Week: #16

15. Kentucky (22-8)
Key Wins: Washington, Notre Dame, @Louisville, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt, @Tennessee
Key Losses: @UCONN, @UNC, @Georgia, @Alabama, @Ole Miss, @Florida, @Vanderbilt, @Arkansas
Last Week: #20

16. Georgetown (21-9)
Key Wins: @Missouri, Utah State, @Memphis, SJU, @Villanova, L’ville, @Syracuse, Marquette
Key Losses: @Temple, @Notre Dame, @St. John’s, WVU, Pitt, @UCONN, Cincy, Syracuse, @Cincy
Last Week: #12

17. Arizona (25-6)
Key Wins: UCLA, UW
Key Losses: @Kansas, @BYU, @Oregon St, UW, @USC, @UCLA
Last Week: #19

18. St. John’s (20-10)
Key Wins: @WVU, Georgetown, Notre Dame, UCONN, @Cincy, @Marquette, Pitt, @Villanova, Duke
Key Losses: @St. Mary’s, St. Bonaventure, @Fordham, @Notre Dame, Syracuse, @Louisville, Cincy, @Georgetown, @UCLA, @Seton Hall
Last Week: #17

19. Xavier (24-6)
Key Wins: Butler, Temple, @Richmond, @Georgia, @Dayton
Key Losses: ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, @Cincy, @Charlotte
Last Week: #22

20. Connecticut (21-9)
Key Wins: Wichita State, MSU, Kentucky, @Texas, Villanova, Tennessee, @Marquette, G’town, @Cincy
Key Losses: @Pitt, @NDU, L’ville, Syracuse, @SJU, @L’ville, Marquette, @WV, NDU
Last Week: #14

21. Kansas State (22-9)
Key Wins: Gonzaga, Virginia Tech, Kansas, Mizzou, @Texas
Key Losses: @Duke, @Florida, UNLV, @OK St, Colorado, @Mizzou, @A&M, @Kansas, @Colorado
Last Week: #25

22. Vanderbilt (21-9)
Key Wins: UNC, Marquette, Georgia, St. Mary’s, Kentucky, @Georgia
Key Losses: WVU, Missouri, @South Carolina, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Florida, Tennessee, @Kentucky, Florida
Last Week: #18

23. Utah State (28-3)
Key Wins: @SMC
Key Losses: @BYU, @Georgetown, @Idaho
Last Week: #23

24. West Virginia (20-10)
Key Wins: Vanderbilt, @Georgetown, Purdue, @Cincy, NDU, UCONN, L’ville
Key Losses: Minnesota, @Miami, St. John’s, @Marquette, Marshall, @Louisville, @Villanova, Pitt, @Syracuse, @Pitt
Last Week: Unranked

25. UNLV (23-7)
Key Wins: Wisconsin, @Virginia Tech, @KSU, @New Mexico
Key Losses: @Louisville, UCSB, BYU, @SDSU, Colorado St, @BYU, SDSU
Last Week: Unranked

DROPPED OUT:

Villanova (19-10)
Key Wins: UCLA, Temple, Cincinnati, Louisville, @Syracuse, Marquette, WVU
Key Losses: Tennessee, @UCONN, @Providence, Georgetown, @Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, SJU, @NDU, @Pitt
Last Week: #21

Texas A&M (23-7)
Key Wins: Temple, Washington, Missouri, KSU
Key Losses: BCU, @Texas, @Nebraska, Texas, Baylor, @Baylor, @Kansas
Last Week: #24

Notes:

-BYU pretty much knocked themselves out of contention for a #1 seed, not only with another loss to New Mexico, but also because Brandon Davies, their only reasonable inside presence is suspended for the rest of the year. This is Jimmer’s team, for sure, but Davies was their third-leading scorer and the best rebounder on a bad rebounding team.

-UNC had a pretty sneaky year. After getting off to a rough start and falling out of everyone’s top 25, UNC not only snuck back onto the national radar, but swiped the ACC title away from Duke (a likely #1 seed). The Tar Heels look like a team that’s still maturing, so I don’t think an Elite 8 run is out of the question this year.

-I think Ohio State, Kansas, Pittsburgh, and Duke are your #1 seeds now. Purdue, Notre Dame, and North Carolina all have a shot at #1 seeds if they win their conference tournaments. BYU seems like a long shot now and San Diego State would probably have to win the MWC tournament and hope some of the teams ahead of them take early exits.

-I bumped Louisville slightly this week even though they took a loss because they’ve proven to be a notch better than some of the other falling Big East teams (UCONN, Georgetown, Villanova) and teams like Arizona and Utah State haven’t shown enough to move up too far.

-Feeling good about my Kansas State ranking last week. They beat Texas on the road like I predicted they would and are feeling it heading into the conference playoffs. Kansas, Texas, and KSU should make the Big 12 tourney interesting.

-Some of the smaller conference tournaments have wrapped up already, so here are those automatic bids:
*Atlantic Sun – Belmont (30-4)
*Big South – UNC-Asheville (19-13)
*Missouri Valley – Indiana State (20-13)
*Ohio Valley – Morehead State (24-9)

-Lots of the better teams from the weaker conferences have already been aced from their respective tournaments and probably have very little shots at an at large bid… teams like: Wichita State and Missouri State, Vermont, and Coastal Carolina.

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Let Me In (2010)

March 6, 2011


Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins
Director: Debra Granik (Cloverfield)
Quick Thoughts: The American remake of Sweden’s Let The Right One In isn’t quite as chilling as the original, nor is it as loyal to its source material. I thought casting Chloe Moretz as Eli/Abby was a genius move after seeing how awesome she was in Kick-Ass, but the talented actress doesn’t do much with her role here, basically playing the part of Abby on auto-pilot. Let Me In does retain some of the story’s creepiness and has some frighteningly good moments. It’s weird that the names of the main characters have been changed. You develop an attachment to these characters through the novel and the previous film, so the name changing is kind of jarring. These characters aren’t exactly iconic, but it’d be like changing Lisbeth Salander’s name for the U.S. version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo… you just don’t do it. Overall, Let Me In is a decent vampire thriller but leaves something to be desired if you’re a fan of the source material.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: If I had to pick a version to own, the Swedish film was superior.
Sequel Potential: None.
Oscar Potential: None.
Nudity: None.
Grade: 5/10 (Worth Watching)
Recommendation: As a stand alone film, Let Me In is pretty enjoyable, but it doesn’t really hold up to the Swedish version, so watch that if you’re considering seeing this movie.