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AK Takes Day Two


Three Wild For Willie


The Loyola Chicago 9


Midnight Strikes For Cinderallie


AK (A. Kelly), who has been at or near the top of the leaderboard all tournament, separated from the pack with OhioŐs upset over Virginia to take day two.


The wily Canadian has used an overall conservative bracket with some well-placed upset picks to take him to the top. His 26 wins through the first round are the most of any player, and only fungibility has scored more upset points.


Kelly was not one of the prescient 14 players who picked Abilene Christian over Texas in the dayŐs shocking finale, but the loss may actually help him in the end, as heŐs one of just 17 players with UCLA advancing over Abilene Christian in the next round. A Michigan State fan, he may have made his picks thinking (or hoping) itŐd be the Spartans, and not the Bruins, in this spot, but the points count just the same.


On the other side of that matchup will be the three brave souls who have Abilene Christian and their mascot Willie the Wildcat heading to the Sweet 16: Chez, Garfy, and MarliMazy.


Longtime player Chez has never finished higher than 48th, and that was way back in 2010. But she tries hard every year, and thatŐs why we love her. This year sheŐs currently in 98th place, and will need everything Willie the Wildcat can deliver.


Garfy is in the same boat. Over 11 seasons, he has two top 20 finishes, but has finished in the Century Club two of the last three, and is currently on track to make it three of the last four.


He and Chez are the only players who have Willie advancing all the way to the Elite 8. Those points would move them dozens of spots up the standings and potentially clear a path for the ultimate prize.   


MarliMazy is the third player, but before Willie takes the court again on Monday, the first game tipping off on Sunday of Illinois vs. Loyola Chicago will be of even greater importance to her. Forty-eight players picked Illinois to win it all—but only one player, MarliMazy, picked Loyola Chicago. On Sunday sheŐll be joined by eight others cheering for the Ramblers. All nine players could use the boost.


If the Ramblers win, it may mean that the magic has truly worn off for Cinderallie. The first year player moved 73 spots—the most of any player in either direction—from 2nd place after Day One to 75th place now.


But, if the Illini and the Wisconsin Badgers win their games Sunday, then the slipper may still fit. Cinderallie is one of just four players with the Badgers in the Final Four and one of just three with them in the championship game.


Good luck to all!