The Vitale Cup: DeCourcy charges down the standings

I began this contest with the idea of handing out an annual tongue-in-cheek award to the website which comes up with the worst pre-season top-25 college basketball poll. We can all take ourselves a little too seriously sometimes, so I figured I would call the award the Vitale Cup, named after one of my favorite announcers and a man who definitely doesn't have a problem taking life too serioulsy.

Unfortunately my colleagues didn't necessarily feel the same way, and butt-hurt abounded with the initial release.

This caused me to have three reactions: initially I thought it was funny that people would take this seriously. I mean, we have a panel of 15 "experts" and no one had Kentucky ranked lower than 4th, and no one had Oklahoma State, Butler, Colorado State, or Oregon ranked at all. But then it began to get under my skin a bit, and I felt that if you didn't want someone to quantify your predictions alongside of several other people who made similar predictions, then don't release a top 25. Finally, as my competitive streak took hold, I just shook my head and said "what the hell, let's do this thing."

There have been a few adjustments to this round, thanks to some great help from readers. One person pointed me to the Bleacher Report top 25, another reminded me to include the Blue Ribbon Yearbook. And finally, over beers, I had a long discussion about scoring and was convinced to make a small change. The original rules stated that 2 points would be deducted for every team included in the predicted top 25 (plus a bonus point for being the most wrong). A friend found it more equitable to have that 2-point penalty reduced to a single point if the incorrect team received any votes at all for the top 25 (those teams in the "also receiving votes category". Sounds good to me. Moving on.

If anyone has their Lindy's or Athlon guides still sitting around, I'd love a copy of their top 25s to include with this.

The new scoring elevated everyone, and there are no longer any teams in the negative. As a reminder there are two goals to this contest: 1) beat Vitale, and 2) don't lose or you'll have your name inscribed on the Vitale Cup.

Anyway, here are this weeks standings:

NBC Sports 2
Jon Rothstein 6
Dick Vitale 7
Hoops Vision 7
Yahoo! 8
b/r 9
Blue Ribbon 10
Sheridan Hoops 11
Rush the Court 11
Sports Illustrated 14
Run the Floor 14
SB Nation 14
Mike DeCourcy 15
Team Rankings 18

This week was right in DeCourcy's sweet spot. Not only did he gain three points from a scoring error I discovered in round 1 – which would have tied him for 7th – but things fell just right for his predicted top 25 that now he has risen (or fallen) to 2nd. That's good, because this ain't golf. HIgh scores are what you want. Team Rankings has the lead for the 2nd straight week, but what was an 8-point lead has been sliced to three. But that doesn't really matter. There's no award for having the highest score. The award if for what's on the other end.

At the top of that list, NBC Sports and Jon Rothstein remain on the wrong side of the cut line. But there is a lot of basketball left to be played.