Mule Madness - Bracketology

Mule Madness

Mule Madness – Bracketology
Four Teams Remain

Commentary by Mike Bruckner, VP of Public Relations

And down the stretch they come...oops - that’s horse racing. But, there are some real thoroughbreds still in the race for the Galgano Division-III Challenge.

The four remaining teams in Mule Madness features the baseball team with a 39.85% participation rate taking on the track & field/cross country teams, who bring a 41.15 percentage into battle. The baseball team lost in the first round, but had a big surge this week and utilized the wildcard option to earn its way into the semifinals. The other match-up features the top-ranked softball team (44.28%) vs. the men’s lacrosse team (42.85%). These are some lofty numbers. My guess is the first one to hit the 50 percent mark has a pretty good chance to take home the trophy – and all the hardware, extra bonus dollars and pizza that goes with it.

Top Seeds: There are NO top seeds remaining. Field hockey fell in the first week. Men’s and women’s basketball teams were relegated to the consolation bracket last week. Men’s tennis also fell last week. The baseball team earned a wildcard bid and earned a spot in the semifinals with a big surge this week. There is still an opportunity for teams to win from the consolation bracket and earn significant bonuses. The defending champions, the football team, are just outside the top four at 40.46%. A two-minute drill and an all-out blitz could be enough to provide a huge boost to the D-III Challenge. Women’s soccer at 34.97% might also have a chance to emerge as the consolation bracket champs.

The Sleepers: At the start of the campaign, the Swami had the cross country and track teams as the sleepers. Hackett’s Heroes are proving the Swami correct as they have vaulted into the semifinals, hurdling past several teams. Much better than last year, when they cracked the Swami’s crystal ball.

Upset Alert: The soccer teams were the upset alert. Men’s soccer hasn’t even mustered a corner kick yet. They continue to make the bracketologist look bad. The early prediction was that the soccer teams would be the ones to watch out for. The women’s soccer team is just outside the top four. The best chance for the women’s soccer team to make a splash in this year’s tournament is by winning the consolation bracket. They are a #1 seed in the consolation bracket and earned a first-round bye.

Consolation Bracket: Football, women’s soccer, men’s basketball and women’s basketball all drew #1 seeds and have byes in the consolation round. The other consolation matchups are field hockey vs. volleyball, women’s lacrosse vs. men’s soccer, wrestling vs. golf and Billy Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs, I mean men’s tennis vs. women’s tennis. These teams can’t win the overall title, but a chance to win some major bonuses in the Galgano D-III Challenge. The Consolation Bracket will feature the 12 remaining teams in a 2-week, single elimination bracket. There will be 2 rounds of competition each week until the tournament concludes on April 6!

Longshot: The longshot pick before MULE MADNESS started were the two tennis teams and the volleyball team. Bad pick here. Apparently these three teams only know how to put the ball over the net, but don’t understand net revenue and net profits. Foot fault by the Swami. A top four finish was my prediction for tennis and volleyball, but now I don’t think either of them can get higher than fifth.

Overview: As mentioned in the crystal ball report, the participation rate for former athletes had been hovering around 12 percent a year ago. The MULE MADNESS campaign has been a MONSTER SUCCESS. With bonuses, last year, the student-athletes and former student-athletes hit a remarkable 44.4%. I expect several teams to go over 50 percent this year. With bonuses, can the Mule family hit the 60 percent mark this year? Football has 207 donors. Can it hit 250? Football and track/cross country (188) have the most donors. Baseball (98), men’s basketball (95) and field hockey (94) should all hit the 100 donor mark.

The Real Madness: The Swami’s real picks were quite good during first round action – Ohio State and Harvard notwithstanding. The crystal ball has a final eight of Florida, Syracuse, Arizona, Wisconsin, Louisville, Duke, Michigan State and Villanova. Nova and Duke let me down. Swami’s four were Florida, Arizona, Duke and Michigan State. Three of the four are still alive. Florida Gators cut down the nets.

Final thought: I’m going to pick the softball team and the track/cross country teams this week, and I’ll take the softball team to go all the way. Stay tuned. Mule Madness Bracketology and March Madness will return next week.

And don’t forget your gift REALLY COUNTS this year: The reason we call this the DIII Challenge is because trustee Jerry Galgano '80 P'11, P'14 is adding these gifts to yours:

• $10 to every gift received from a freshman, sophomore or junior student-athlete or by a former athlete who graduated from Muhlenberg in the last ten years (2004-2013).
• $500 to every team that reaches 100% participation among senior athletes AND the head coach.
• $1,750 to the top three Mule Madness teams: $1,000 to the winning team; $500 to the runner-up and $250 to the top team in the consolation bracket.

For last week's commentary, check out Bracketology - Mule Madness D-III Challenge.