Well ladies and gentlemen, the sweet 16 has come and gone. While I already know that I spoke about how shocked I was to see how much attention this bracket was getting, this past round took everything to a new level.
I am not a journalist…. I just make brackets about them. However, I have consumed enough media to know when a story simply writes itself. We had that a few times in the sweet 16. Here were the highlights.
The First One Seed Falls
I mentioned in the sweet 16 preview that I felt there was a chance we could see the first one seed go down and I was right. Dan Potash, a man of the people, was able to pull of the Cinderella story win over Steelers HOF beat writer, Ed Bouchette in rather dominant fashion, winning with 64% of the vote.
Potash has been a HUGE surprise at least to me in this bracket. It turns out that dressing up in silly costumes and getting bullied by hockey players every night will win you a lot of fans. At least in this town. Congrats to Dan on his big victory. Bouchette is not only one of the biggest names in Pittsburgh media today, but is arguably one of the best to ever do it in his field. But this year, in this bracket none of that mattered. It was Potash who stole the win.
Pittsburgh Media’s Power Family Pulls Through
Bouchette was the only one seed to lose in the sweet 16 but we were close to seeing another top dog go home early. KDKA TV and 93.7 the Fan’s Bob Pompeani found himself in a neck and neck battle with the Athletic’s Josh Yohe. Things were as tight as possible, as the vote was split at 50-50 with only a few hours remaining.
Then…. it happened. The Pompeani’s took charge.
Unlike Bouchette, Pomp had a mini army of blue checkmark reinforcements waiting incase he was in trouble. While I am sure he was hoping to hold onto this trick play until at least the elite eight, the campaigning from his two daughters was enough to boost him over the top for a win 51%-49%.
Now in all reality, do I think Pomp wanted to win so bad that he asked his daughters to help him get votes? Or did they both just happen to see this poll and independently decide to support their father?
My heart says both but my brain tells me it was probably just the second one. Either way, Pomp along with his two side-kicks are moving on to the elite eight.
Aditi Goes Down Swinging
A few hours into the voting, it looked to be all but over for Aditi Kinkhabwala. She was dealt the tough task of facing Penguins announcer and heavy favorite to win it all, Mike Lange. Even her own husband was counting her out. But then, she rattled off one tweet and it became a battle.
Following this tweet, this entire bracket went BANANAS. Aditi went from having 15% of the vote to at one time, gaining as much as 47%. Unfortunately for her, Penguins twitter found out that their boy Mikey was in trouble and swooped in to save the day. Lange ended up winning with 62% of the vote but the final score does not indicate how close this race really was.
Even if she did not win, what Aditi did do was take this to another level. Her poll ended with over 5,500 votes! A number that no other pole came close to. She might not have pulled off the upset but Aditi is by no means a loser in this bracket.
Print Journalism is dead
Well, maybe not in real life. Or at least not yet. But it is 100% dead in this bracket. Of the eight people to lose in the sweet 16, five of them were the remaining print journalists.
Bouchette along with Joe Starkey and Jason Mackey will all return to the Post Gazette empty handed while Josh Yohe and Mark Kaboly were also unable to advance.
Now… There are eight left standing. Some are on the radio, others are on the TV. Amongst them are a former Steeler, a former Penguin, the God Father, a Super Genius and some damn good broadcasters. The voting for the Elite Eight will begin tomorrow afternoon!