Monday, September 23, 2013

Bulltron Regional, Round 1: #1 Pornsak Pongthong vs. #16 Genius Dexter, #8 Bak Bak vs. #9 Jawanza Poland


I was considering Sriracha sauce one day (as fans of spicy food often do) when I decided to look it up on Wikipedia to learn of its origins. This search was interrupted by a disambiguation page, which informed me that I might be looking for a Thai soccer team named Sriracha FC. Curious whether the team and the sauce were related, I clicked onward, where after a quick scan of the team's roster I learned that oh my god, there is a Thai soccer player named Pornsak Pongthong.

This hopefully illustrates just how many amazing names are hiding just beyond our sight, waiting to be discovered on lightly-tread Wikipedia articles and obscure research papers and collegiate athletics databases. We're not only excited about the names we've discovered in compiling this field, we're also hopeful about the ones like mighty Pornsak who we'll discover organically when we least expect it. When you have similar encounters, I hope you'll let us know.

With that out of the way, let's move on to this year's contenders. With so many quality names, no matchup is a gimme, not even a 1 vs. 16. In this case, Pornsak's first opponent is Genius Dexter. There's something about the name Dexter that lends itself to greatness -- after all, the two prominent TV characters with the name are both geniuses in their own way. We liked the combo, so we gave this Dexter a chance to beat the best -- or get beaten by him.

[polldaddy poll=7417971]


Our second matchup of the day is the first of four 8 vs. 9 slugfests. As college basketball fans are aware, the 8-9 games in the NCAA tournament are usually the hardest to predict, with a collection of flashy Horizon League upstarts, toughened middle-of-the-pack Big Ten warriors and relatively unknown Western Athletic Conference champions squaring up for 40 minutes of hotly contested basketball. We hope today's contest is similarly close.

Fittingly, both Bak Bak and Jawanza Poland came on our radar as college basketball players. Bak, who came off the bench for the University of California at Berkeley, is not the only athlete we've encountered whose first name matches his last. Other such contenders include Majok Majok, Shayok Shayok, and Leek Leek. In the interest of variety we decided to include Bak and only Bak; his is the shortest, sweetest and most gallinaceous of the double names.

Also, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Bak was born during the Sudanese Civil War and is lucky to be alive today. We're glad he made it.

As for Poland, he was a standout at the University of South Florida who briefly gained national attention when he threw down a ferocious dunk in the NCAA Tournament against, coincidentally, Bak's California Golden Bears. If this tournament was decided by athletic ability, Jawanza would no doubt take this matchup, but our measuring stick is a lot more esoteric. His name is a classic combo: bonkers first name, subdued yet interesting last name. There will be a lot of other NOTY contenders who follow this formula.

[polldaddy poll=7417975]

Does Genius Dexter have the smarts to overcome that pong, thong thong thong thong? And will Bak's invasion of Poland result in a complete takeover? Let us know what you think in the polls.