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Bracketless Bracket: Sweet Sixteen Update

The first two real rounds of the thoroughly entertaining 2011 tournament are over, and two things are abundantly clear. First is that our student-athletes should spend more time learning when is and isn't an appropriate time to foul. Second is that Brian Westbrook will not be winning this years Bracketless Bracket tournament. Over the course of just two games, every single team in Westbrook's bracket has lost, meaning he can earn no more points in this competition. Since he already has the lowest point total, he will definitely be the overall loser of the Bracketless Bracket tournament. (Indeed, everyone else has at least one team left in his or her pool.)


Bracketless Bracket Update

Gelf's Bracketless Bracket tournament—the Bill James-designed contest in which readers pick their favorite team from each seed line—has attracted more than 500 entries so far from around the world. The most popular choice overall? Contestants chose seven seed Washington in more than half of the brackets. Basketball Reference's Neil Paine tells Gelf that based on the 10,000-tournament simulation he ran, Washington was the easiest pick. "The Huskies have 1.41 expected wins," Paine writes in an email. "No other 7-seed has more than 0.71 expected wins. The have a 73.7% chance of beating UGA in round 1, and are a great value with a 47.7% chance of beating big-name UNC in round 2."

Sports Sells Out Its Best Feature

For a long time, ESPN has willingly whored itself out to brands looking for nifty product placement slots. (A cold Coors Light, anyone?) But one of its forays into the advertorial waters is bewildering, at best. The folks behind have taken what has long been one of their best features—the SportsNation poll that shows how respondents in each US state reply to questions—and turned it into an ad for, of all things, windshield-wiper blades.


G Is for Gelf

In case you missed it, Lil Wayne and Jackie Robinson made like hangovers and resolutions, joining forces to help ring in the New Year. The unlikely duo were featured in an irreverent and enigmatic ad campaign that showcased professional athletes accompanied by Lil Wayne asking, "What's G?"


A Putz By Any Other Name

The New York media are already having a field day with how much of a field day they're going to have with the Yiddish meaning of the last name of a certain recently acquired Mets reliever. "It's Pronounced "Puts," Until J.J. Screws Up, At Least," declared an NBC New York headline. The New York Times ran an entire article about the challenges posed by the fact that "the word 'putz' is vulgar Yiddish slang for penis."


Molly Shattuck: Cheerleader, Secret Millionaire

Back in 2005, Molly Shattuck was the subject of one of the most poorly received Rick Reilly columns to ever land in Sports Illustrated. At 38, the super-hot wife of a super-rich CEO was not only a super mom, she was also a super cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens! Super awesome! Thank God someone was there to make her feel even better about herself by giving her head on the back page of a national magazine! Luckily, her well-deserved time in the limelight isn't quite over.


Stating the Obvious

Recession and print-death be damned—this week's Sports Illustrated is surprisingly good, with arresting essays on Baron Davis and Russian sports moguls. But that doesn't mean it's perfect.


An Interview with the Heisman Pundit

In the interminable stretch in between the conference-championship games and big-bowl season, there's only one truly exciting event for college-football fans. Sure, various coaching carousel machinations are fun to watch—Gene Chizik back to Auburn? Seriously?—but for sheer hype and politicking, nothing beats the run-up to the Heisman Trophy presentation. This year produced one of the closest votes in history, so we asked Chris Huston, who runs the meticulous and often prescient blog HeismanPundit, to give us his thoughts on the race and its aftermath.


Can You Say "Sloppy Seconds"?

If it weren't for Dallas Stars forward Sean Avery's big mouth and penchant for bedding celebrities, the nation might not have known that a hockey game took place on Tuesday night. Instead, we now know that one did occur, a few hours after Avery told assembled media this: "I just wanted to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about."


Nick Saban Never Smiles

Nick Saban, the head coach of the top-ranked Alabama football team, has something of a dual reputation. Outside of fan circles, he's widely known as the prime symbol of college football's corporate excess and deceitful posturing. Among college-football aficionados who think $32-million contracts are not necessarily appalling, though, he's known as the ultimate hardass; the heir to the stern Bear Bryant legacy. Or as Buzz Bissinger puts it, his face is "locked most of the time in a constipated grimace."

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