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Welcome to RotoGuru's 2019 Market Madness Contest!

For additional commentary on Market Madness Contest strategy and results, please check out the Market Madness message forum.

Monday, Apr. 8
Congrats to contest winner erb136 with a score of G$441. The winner of the Basket-Free Contest is smith32, with a score of G$368 (tiebreaker based on best return on shorts).

The best possible score this year would have been G$766 (I think – can anyone do better that that?) Villanova appears in only one representation on the long side (team only), but was also shorted as part of the ACC. The best short this year was the #8 seed basket, while the top scoring longs were the #3 seed basket and Auburn, netting G$102 and G$93, respectively. Here is the complete list of units, sorted by net return.

Prize winners will be notified by email within the next week. Thanks to all for continuing to support this oldest of all RotoGuru Contests.

Monday, Mar. 25
The first weekend is now in the books. Results have been verified for each of the units.

Although 75% of the tournament games have already been played, the second weekend is when the scoring volatility picks up. This is primarily due to the bonus points awarded for reaching the Final Four. Remember that for all teams seeded #2 or worse, the bonus for advancing to the Final Four is 10 times the seed value. So, for example, if 12-seeded Oregon survives two more games, they’ll earn an extra 120.

One week from now, the standings will look dramatically different. Trust me.

Thursday, Mar. 21
There were 430 entrants this year, up 4% from last year. I’ve posted a sortable summary of 2019 unit selections. Click on any linked column heading to sort by that column. A few quick observations:

The standings will be updated periodically during each game day. Click on the standings link, and the number of games included will appear in the page heading. Remember that because cash received on shorts is part of your net return, entries with large short imbalances will appear at the top of the rankings at the start of the contest. After several rounds, most of those will drift down, unless their shorts have worked out very well. It is typical that some entrants position their picks with the apparent objective of gaining an early lead. Everyone seeks their 15 minutes of fame, I guess.

Thursday, Mar. 21
All picks were locked-in at 12:15pm EDT today. If your picks do not seem to be recorded, please send an email to davehall@rotoguru2.com. It would be helpful if you could also forward along either a confirmation email of your picks, or a copy of a printed listing. As of the moment, I’m not aware of any system failures. Usually, unrecorded picks occur because the picker failed to complete his or her entry by clicking the final submit button. If you think that may have happened, I may be able to recover your last iteration of picks through the system logs. (In fact, I have already included 12 sets of valid picks that were not officially finalized – for registrants that otherwise had no final submission.)

The standings are now posted, and will be updated after each set of games is complete. If you think you entered and don’t see your entry listed on the main standings page, let me know ASAP.

To give you a chance at a "Mulligan", or to give late entrants a chance to try this out, I've enabled the program to allow new sets of picks to be stored - but only for entrants who do not already have an official set of picks included in the standings. If you failed to get your picks in on time, or if you set up a late registration, you can still store a new set of picks. These late entries will not be listed in the official contest standings, but you can still track their progress using the "My Score" link at the left. This at least allows you to let the system do the scorekeeping for you.

Wednesday, Mar. 20
If you are new to the Market Madness format, don’t despair when you read the scoring rules. Even if you don’t “get it”, fill out a set of picks and try it for a year. Once you’ve lived through a tournament, you’ll catch on, and be much better prepared next year. If you want a few simple tips, try these:

Actually, my best advice is to use the scoring simulator. Pick each of the games as you would for a typical bracket, and then let the simulator calculate the returns under your scenario. Use those returns as a basis for your picks - picking your longs from the top of the listing, and your shorts from the bottom. Or let the simulator do that for you (if you're running it while logged in to the contest site).

Every year, there is a lot of attrition between the contest registrations and the actual entries. It's not unusual for as many as 25%-30% of the registrants to not submit a set of picks. I'm sure that some of that is simply forgetfulness, but I suspect a larger issue is the confusion factor. One of the dominant feedbacks that I get from people who play for the first year is that they felt pretty befuddled when making selections, but once they see how the tournament and the scoring play out, they can't wait for next year. The simulator was designed to help you get over that initial hump.

Sunday, Mar. 17
Brackets are loaded, and prices are set. You may now make your picks, and continue to revise them any time until the opening tipoff of the first game on Thursday, March 21.

There are 8 teams involved in first round games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those games do not factor in the scoring, and the units will reflect only the subsequent results for the winners of those four games. For example, if Arizona State wins its game against St. John’s, then that unit’s subsequent results will be included in the Pac 12 basket. If St. John’s wins, then that unit’s subsequent results will be included in the Big East basket. However, the initial prices for these conference baskets will not change, regardless of the outcomes of those games.

Once again this year, you may use the scoring simulator to process your picks for you. At the bottom of the simulator scoring page, you will have the option to save an optimal set of picks based upon your tournament scenario. If you don’t want to figure out the scoring ramifications, you can simply fill out a standard contest bracket, click twice, and you will immediately process an entry configured to benefit from your crystal ball. If that set of picks is a valid entry, it will automatically be saved as well. If it is not a valid entry, you will be given an opportunity to fix it before saving.

(Note: prior to the opening round games for Belmont/Temple and ASU/STJ, the simulator will treat the related conference baskets as representing both of the leagues. For example, the earnings for ASU/STJ game will be applied to both the Big East and Pac 12 basket. That’s obviously incorrect, but it’s too difficult to program around for such little benefit – so deal with it!)

Please report any apparent errors, discrepancies, anomalies, or things that need fixin’.

Thursday, Mar. 14
Welcome to the 2019 version of the Market Madness Contest. The contest site is up and running, and ready to accept your registration. And while you obviously can't enter your 2019 selections until after the brackets are announced, the site tools are still loaded with last year's brackets for you to dabble with, if you wish. You can even enter a set of picks of last year's units, and then immediately see what the score would have been. Of course, all "preseason" picks will be erased once the 2019 brackets are announced and loaded.

The rules for 2019 are the same as last year.

Prior to making your selections, you may wish to try out the scoring simulator. This tool allows you to simulate the contest scoring for any possible set of outcomes. If you can fill out a standard tournament bracket, then the simulator will figure out what each unit score would be (ranked from best to worst), which you may wish to use as a guide in completing your entry. (Prior to the announcement of this year's brackets, the simulator will be configured for the 2018 pairings. This still may be helpful to you as a scoring example.)

The Standings page still shows last year’s final results. I’ll leave that there until this year’s tournament starts. You may find it helpful to drill down into some of last year’s successful entries to see what worked.

If you notice any apparent glitches in links, format, or content, please report them. You may use the GuruMail link (in the left menu panel) for this.

Thanks for your support!