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Daily blurbs from the Guru
If this is your first visit to this site, you should first stop by my home page to find out what this site is all about. And please support this site's advertisers. They make free sites like this one possible.

Go forward to more recent blurbs.

12/23 - Congratulation to twilson, who finshed the RIFC regular season in the #2 position and emerged last night as this year’s RIFC champion, overtaking runner-up Toral. Twilson is also a two-time winner of Football Pickoff, so he evidently knows his NFL football.

Full results from the RIFC and the qualifying leagues can be found in the RIFC 2014 Final Recap thread.

As we approach the end of the NFL regular season, please note that I will not be posting DFS stats and salaries (FanDuel, etc) during the postseason. My processing routines do not adapt well to playoff idiosyncrasies, and with a limited number of teams in play each weekend, you should be able to manage it all on your own.

Football Pickoff will continue through the playoffs, as usual. And if you haven’t played Football Pickoff all season, you can always start now, as there will be separate standings available just for the playoff weeks.

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11/13 - The NBA Stat Summarizer has been enhanced.

You can now select to summarize only home games or away games. So if you run two summaries – one for home games, and one for away games – then you’ll effectively have home/away splits for all players.

You can also filter out any games in which a player played less than a specified number of minutes. I had already allowed you to select based on starting/non-starting, but this will further allow you to filter out games in which a player – starting or not – appeared for less than a user-specified number of minutes.

Finally, I’ve now integrated the DFS salary data with this report, so you can get current (or past) DFS salary and position data (FanDuel, DraftKings, & DraftDay) for each player as of any specified game day.

Have fun. Let me know if there are other selection criteria that might be useful.

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11/6 - I added some stats export features this morning. Check these out:

The NBA sortable stats now provides an option to export data in a SCSV (semicolon separated values) text format, suitable for importing into Excel or other applications that can accept text-based imports. The data presented is essentially the same as that which would otherwise be produced in the standard html format.

I’ve also released a NBA Stat Summarizer, which allows for greater flexibility in selecting date ranges and also enables inclusion of only stats for games started (or not started). This routine produces most stat components (e.g., pts, assist, rebounds, etc.) as well as related fantasy points for FanDuel, DraftKings, and DraftDay. It does, however, lack salary data.

If you are interested in either of these facilities, please give them a try. I have done some testing, but it’s always possible that I’ve overlooked something. If you find errors, or if you have ideas for further enhancements, please send an email to

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10/31 - NBA reporting is rounding into form. Sortable stats and daily point summaries are up and running, as well as the individual player pages. I’ll soon be adding some new features, including easier sortable stats exporting and simpler game-day selections, but I first want to be sure that the status quo is working properly. Other than a few DraftKings position discrepancies (Related to my feed from DK – should be fixed soon, I hope), I’m not aware of any glitches. I’ll rely on all of you to tell me what, if anything, you think isn’t working yet.

Links for the NBA reporting can be found in the left menu.

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9/23 - Calling all Hoops managers!

Emails have been sent to all managers in last year’s RIHC leagues. Please check your email, and respond ASAP. If you can’t find the email, or if you didn’t play last season and would like to try it this year, please post in this thread. The NBA season starts 5 weeks from today, so we need to get organized now.

Prize notifications for GuruGolf were emailed yesterday. If you were expecting to receive a prize, check your inbox. A season-long listing of all prize winning teams (best ball and worst ball) is on the news page of the GuruGolf site.

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9/15 - Congratulations to the two full season champs in GuruGolf:
Best ball champion: Smith32
Worst ball champion: Valkyrie Bogies

For the FedEx Cup Contest, these were the GuruGolf contest winners:
Best ball: Eagles
Worst ball: point3bac

Interestingly enough, the top season-ending franchise value ($5890) was also achieved by Smith32. Did he win the championship because he achieved the highest value, or did he achieve the highest value because he had the best stroke play? Hard to say – and maybe a bit of both. But it sounds like the price change formula is synching fairly well with stroke value.

Prize determinations for the entire 2014 season will be resolved and emails will be sent to all winners sometime in the next week or so. If you qualified for a prize, please be sure that your registered email address is current (see the GuruGolf “My Account” page). Note that each registrant may win only one prize during the season. The prize awarded will be the prize with the highest value for which the registrant has qualified.

Thanks to all for a great season! GuruGolf will resume with a new season in early 2015.

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9/9 - NFL player detail pages and Weekly Points reports are now loaded with Week #1 point and salary data for Fireleague, DraftKings, FanDuel, and DraftDay. Be aware that these are my own independent point calculations, based on the scoring formulas published at each game site. There may be some discrepancies if the site has a different formula interpretation or different underlying stats – although I’ve done some spot checking and so far, everything seems to be in agreement with what I’ve seen reported at the sites (other than a few minor stat discrepancies.)

Sortable stats will be updated for all four games over the next day or so. Meanwhile, if you notice anything that seems to be incorrect in any of the football reporting, please let me know. There are lots of nooks and crannies, and you may find something that I haven’t noticed.

Football Pickoff Standings are complete for week #1. Positive scores were achieved by 46% of all entries, which is fairly balanced. But if you didn’t enter for week #1, you can still enter now and your opening zero will put you slightly above the median! Congrats to Gillette, who posted the top score (+552) with 13 correct picks, including a doubling of Tennessee over Kansas City. On to week #2!

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9/8 - I’ll be spending a good bit of time today reconciling a lot of football data. So far, I’ve got preliminary week #1 points posted for FireLeague in the daily point report, but until I do some more analysis, those points won’t be ported over to the player pages, sortable stats, or the Assimilator. Hopefully, that will be done by sometime tomorrow.

I’m also working on similar data for FanDuel, DraftKings, and DraftDay (which merged operations with FanThrowdown over the weekend). Again, expect that info to be available by mid-week.

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9/5 - Hall of Fame Day!

Before we turn the calendar on another season, it’s time to recognize those who excelled during the past year in various RotoGuru competitions. I am pleased to announce the RotoGuru Hall of Fame Class of 2013-14:

  • Michael Wehner, champion, 2013 RotoGuru Invitational Baseball Challenge
  • Martin Lee, champion, 2013 GuruGolf
  • John Holt, champion, 2013 RotoGuru Invitational Football Challenge
  • Nadim Mahassen, champion, 2013-14 RotoGuru Football Pickoff
  • Jason Hall, champion, 2014 RotoGuru Market Madness
  • Larry Fritschel, champion, 2014 RotoGuru Market Madness (excl. basket units)
  • Will Tyrer, champion, 2013-14 RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge
This is a particularly accomplished class, as five of the seven have been enshrined in prior years as well, some in other sports. For a more detailed recap and brief bios of all enshrinees, please visit the RotoGuru Hall of Fame.

Congrats to all of these competitors.

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9/2 - Progress.

I now have preseason data posted for the Fireleague Salary Cap football games.

I think everything is working OK, but please let me know if something looks wrong. The prior year point data is based on what I reported last season. In some cases, it’s significantly different than what is shown at the Fireleague site, as they have included the first week of playoff stats in their prior season totals. I’m sure that’s a mistake on their part.

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8/30 - Miss me?

It’s been almost two months since my last blurb. I’ve been traveling quite a bit this summer, and focusing mostly on Frankly, I’m not sure what my ongoing RotoGuru blurb strategy should be. But that’s a topic for another day

I came out of hibernation today to provide an update on football preparations. This morning, I launched Football Pickoff for 2014. I know the layout is a bit antiquated by today’s web standards, as it’s essentially unchanged in appearance since the game was introduced way back in 2002. There have been some “behind the scenes” advances to automate things that used to be done manually. But in terms of basic functionality, my attitude is “if it ain’t broke…”. I think it’s all working properly, but please report anything that seems incorrect or out of date.

I do plan to provide sortable stats for several football formats again this year. First up will be Fireleague – which is the successor game to the old Smallworld format. I hope to have those stats (players, prices, etc.) up sometime early next week. Later, I’ll be adding sortable stats for the affiliated daily contest sites, starting with FanDuel and DraftKings. Not sure if those will be up before NFL Week #1, but frankly, the sortable stats aren’t of much value until after some stats start to accumulate. In any event, I’ll get them out when I can.

Speaking of daily contest sites, two significant sites were bought out by DraftKings over the summer. DraftStreet and StarStreet were both taken over by DK, which now seems to be the primary competitor of FanDuel. I suspect there will be more consolidation in that space over the next year. Both DraftStreet and StarStreet once offered interesting game alternatives (weekly contests for DS, and a stock market version for SS), but it seems that there just isn’t enough interest to sustain those one-off formats. Too bad, as I enjoyed both of those game styles.

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6/23 - The Travelers Championship may have lacked many marquis names on Sunday afternoon, but the tournament did get a marquis finish from Kevin Streelman, who not only birdied the final seven holes (surging from -8 to -15) to claim a one-stroke win, but he one-putted his last ten holes. Putt for dough!

Nine GuruGolf teams had Streelman this weekend, but not the top best ball team, Smith32 (-51), who didn’t need him. Worst ball honors went to Cyberwahoo4 (+45), who also sent out a Streelman-free foursome.

This was a rough price-change week for a lot of GuruGolf teams, as the more expensive golfers generally fared not-so-well. 29 golfers entered the tournament with GuruGolf prices exceeding $1000 – roughly 1-in-5. Only two of those golfers ranked in the top-ten for the week – using my proprietary GuruGolf value model, which rewards birdie and eagles more than it penalizes bogeys, and which also scores each hole based on relative difficulty. Streelman still ranked #1 for the week. The only two $1000+ golfers in the top ten were K.J. Choi ($1110) and Sergio Garcia ($1480). Meanwhile, a number of high priced golfers took it on the chin this week – even some who made the cut. Notable in that last group were Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, and Keegan Bradley. All four of those guys were ranked in the 40-50 range for the week, and as the highest priced golfers in the field, that pulled their prices down. It’s unusual to see some GuruGolf teams with all four golfers making the cut and still losing team value – but that happened in a few instances this week. The curse of being able to afford high-priced golfers, I guess. In any event, the pricing model was the same this week as for all weeks; the results just look a bit wacky.

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6/16 - The U.S. Open failed to deliver much drama this year. Now, If Martin Kaymer had just stayed home it could have been quite different, as the battle for second was crowded throughout.

Here are the two GuruGolf prize winners for the U.S. Open:
Best ball: louky5 (-35)
Worst Ball: Eagles (+61)
Interestingly, only one GuruGolf team had Kaymer, and that team did manage to have all four golfers make the cut – but still finished three strokes off the lead.

There are four tournaments between the U.S. Open and British Open. The next GuruGolf prize contest will cover those four weeks - the "Open Faced Sandwich" contest.

The NBA Finals failed to deliver much drama either. Often, you can stay away from NBA games until the fourth quarter and still see most of the tension. But last night you had to watch to 1st quarter to see any semblance of a story other than total domination by the Spurs. Looking back over the whole series, LeBron’s cramping in game #1 turned out only to be a footnote. The real story of this series was the total mismatch over the final three games.

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6/9 - GuruGolf best ball honors for the weekend went to RV-JeffG (-49), while gurudan claimed worst ball honors with a +52, including a very strong +16 on the final day.

This weekend also closed out the "Spring to the Open" Contest. Here are the two prize winners, both with fairly solid margins:
Best ball: shankopotomus 4 (15 stroke win)
Worst ball: gurudan (8 stroke win)

Best ball and worst ball prizes will be provided for this week’s U.S. Open. Remember also that the U.S. Open is not eligible to be a mulligan week for the full season standings. Also, if you would like to add any of the unlisted U.S. Open golfers to your foursome this week, please send me an email ( by Wednesday morning and I’ll add them.

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6/2 - Only two GuruGolf foursomes had tournament winner Hideki Matsuyama yesterday. One of those was mine! But the top best ball team, cyberwahoo2 (-53), didn’t need him. Neither did the top worst ball team, NYAHS TEAM (+58), who got all four of his golfers through the cut, and then watched a bunch of double bogeys emerge – and even one quadruple bogey.

We’re down to the final week of GuruGolf’s “Spring to the Open” contest, and at least three teams are in contention for the best ball title, while a bunch of teams are clustered near the top of the worst ball standings. RotoGuru logo golf balls hang in the balance!

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5/28 - Over the past week or so, I've made a number of enhancements to various pages and files.

1. I've started reporting batting order in some places. On the individual player pages, it appears in the third column of the daily history, just after the ^(starter) indicator. It's similarly shown in the daily point summary, and you can access it in daily stat csv extract by appending &bo=1 to the url. (example:

2. In addition to batting order, I've added the game score to the daily point summary. Here's a sample URL:

3. In the individual player pages, the projected starting pitcher (and his L/R indicator) are now shown for the current day. Here is a sample page for Troy Tulowitzki. Notice that batting order sequence for each game appears in the 3rd column (immediately below the "Daily Results" separator), and the opposing starter is shown for the current day (hover over the L/R indicator to see the name and game details).

4. An alternate CSV file format is now provided for the Batter vs Pitcher report. The alternate version eliminates all quote signs (") and replaces all commas in names with semicolons. While Excel can easily accommodate the original format, the alternate form may be useful for other means of access, as commas will be used exclusively as data delimiters. Links for both CSV formats appear just above the body of the report.

All of these enhancements were made in response to suggestions from users. While not all requests can be implemented, I'll at least consider all ideas. Suggestions may be sent to

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5/19 - Congrats to Kooldad-5, who took GuruGolf best ball honors (-48) over the weekend with a very balanced foursome – each golfers posting a score between -6 and -8. Three teams shared worst ball honors with a score of +44.

We’ve just passed the quarter pole on the MLB season. Four teams have winning percentages above 60%: Detroit (.692), Oakland (.636), San Francosco (.622), and Milwaukee(!) (.614). Only three teams have winning percentages below 40%: the Cubs (.357), Houston (.364), and Arizona (.391). The D-backs have responded by hiring Tony LaRussa to be “Chief Baseball Officer,” so we’ll have to see whether they can climb back to their customary .500 ways.

Of more fantasy relevance, I took a look at the ESPN player rater. The top two players are both on Colorado. Troy Tulowitzki ranks #1. He was a consensus late first round pick in the RIBC draft this year, so that’s not a shocker. But #2 is Charlie Blackmon, who was only drafted in two of the five RIBC leagues, and the earliest of those was in the mid-24th round. It’s pretty clear no one saw that coming. In the top RIBC league, team “Holt 2014” added Blackmon as a free agent addition on April 4th. Those are the types of pickups that can be difference-makers – assuming that Blackmon’s prowess persists.

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5/13 - Since the start of the season, I've been gradually tinkering with the layout and contents of individual baseball player detail pages. If you haven't looked at one recently, you might find some useful data that you didn't realize was there.

Here's a sample page: Yasiel Puig

The top of the page has links to seven other sites. If you have a favorite site for player detail info (such as split stats or career history), I've probably got a direct link for you.

The next section shows the current position eligibility for the six affiliated contest sites. For Puig, that's not a very interesting list, but for some players, this is a convenient place to pick up on some of the position idiosyncrasies of other sites.

Next, we get to the day by day histories. The top section shows per-game averages over various periods for each scoring system. You can also see how those averages change if only games started are included, and how those starting averages break down by the opposing starter's left/right split. I'm not sure I've seen that breakdown so conveniently presented anywhere else.

Then you can see the day by day results, which also show whether the player started (and at what position), the hand of the opposing starter, and the daily points and prices for each contest site. If you hover the cursor over the pitcher's hand, you can see the name of that pitcher. If you hover the cursor over any daily point value, you can see the underlying stats. And if the player played in a doubleheader (as was the case for Puig on May 1st), you can see the results for each game separately. There is also a link to each day's boxscore at

By default, this page shows the last 30 days of history, but there is a link below the table for the full season of history.

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5/12 - As darkness crowded in, I was afraid that The Players Championship was headed toward a Monday morning playoff, which would have meant I would need to wait until Monday to close out the tournament on GuruGolf as well. Not a big deal, but an annoyance, nonetheless. But then Martin Kaymer holed a putt on 17th that got me jumping out of my seat with an exclamatory “Whoa!”. For a final round without Tiger or Phil, that was about as much excitement as there had been all afternoon. And I suspect most viewers had already moved on to other things, with Kaymer sporting a 3-stroke lead during a weather delay.

Only one GuruGolf team had Kaymer this week. But the weekend winner, Shank Attack (-52), did it with Furyk instead. Worst ball honors went to little moe with a symmetric +52.

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5/5 - This weekend’s GuruGolf results were more balanced than the prior week’s debacle. Finding four golfers who made the cut was still a challenge (just 13 foursomes pulled it off), but 50 teams did find tournament winner J.B. Holmes, including 10 of the top 15 teams this week. Two teams tied for the top best ball score of -45, while Raz2 claimed the worst ball honors by three strokes (+49).

The NBA offered up five game #7s this weekend, but only two of those games went down to the wire. Kind of anticlimactic. I ended up watching the golf tournament instead of the Spurs blowing out Dallas.

Baseball offers up 13 games today, which is a pretty full slate for a Monday. The weather looks mostly benign, which is a nice sign after a pretty brutal week of postponements.

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4/28 - The Zurich Classic was a brutal event for most of the top GuruGolf teams. Only two of the current top 14 teams had as many as 3 golfers survive the second round cut, and although most of the top teams had two survivors, some of those golfers failed to play on Sunday (due to a second “MDF” cut after the third round). The string of red numbers in the weekly $change column (where red is not good) is stunning. Only one team had four golfers play all four rounds. Probably a good week to rub some dirt on the wounds and move on.

If you’re interested in more “beefy” blurbs related to baseball, check out I’ve lined up a stable of correspondents this year – some from established fantasy baseball sites, and some just “regular guys” who play daily baseball contests. I’m hoping to be able to regularly provide some fresh daily content over there. As a consequence, daily baseball commentary in the RotoGuru blurb-space is likely to remain limited.

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4/21 - Two GuruGolf teams tied for the top best ball score (-45) this weekend. Not surprisingly, they had three golfers in common – Kuchar, Huh, English – and they also had the two top dollar value gains for the weekend. On the worst ball side, Nog’s Nutcrackers posted a 3-stroke margin with a +51.

Turning to baseball, I’ve added a new feature to the RotoGuru sortable stats and individual player pages. Stats can now be identified and tracked by the throwing arm of the opposing starter.

For example, here is a FanDuel report showing point data for past games against starting pitchers who throw with the same hand as the current day starter. Hover over a player’s name in the table to see the details of the next listed opposing starter. If it’s a right-hander, then that player’s point data in the table is only for games in which he started against a right-hander. Note that this is not a pure lefty-righty split; it is based only on the throwing arm of the starter. If a lefty starts a game but is later relieved by a righty, all stats for that game are categorized as lefty starter stats.

As always, click on any column heading to sort the table by that column.

If you click on any player name, you’ll go to the day-by-day point history for that player. This table now shows the throwing arm of the opposing starter for each game – and if you hover over the L/R indicator, you can also see the starting pitcher’s name.

I used to provide the ability to filter for only hitters who were facing opposite handed starters. With this latest update, I’ve eliminated that capability, as I believe that the new approach is much more relevant. I considered leaving the old approach in as an option, but was afraid that the distinction might be too confusing. I think that once you get accustomed to the new approach, you’ll find it to be of significant utility.

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4/17 - The NBA regular season has come to a close, and now – especially to many casual fans – the real season begins. I’ll try to keep the NBA stats processing going through the playoffs, since the daily contest sites will continue to offer contests for the next several rounds, at least.

Congratulations to longtime Gurupie Coldwater Coyotes for winning the 2013-14 RotoGuru Invitational Hoops Challenge, ending the three-year reign of domination by Florian. I’ve started a wrap-up thread in the Hoops Forum for final standings and comments from participants in any of the RIHC leagues this year.

At long last, I hope to send out notifications to the prize winners in the Market Madness Contest later today (or tomorrow at the latest). If you expect to receive one, check the email address that you registered under.

The RBC Heritage golf tournament is under way on Hilton Head Island, and Harris English is the most widely owned GuruGolfer this week, on roughly 35% of all foursomes.

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4/15 - Finally, I have the sortable stats up and running. While the generally layout and functionality is similar to that of recent seasons, there are some new features this year that should be of particular value in supporting daily contest lineup decisions.

Here's a quick rundown on the current capabilities:

  • The six affiliated contest sites (Fanduel, DraftStreet, StarStreet, FanTrowdown, DraftKings, and DraftDay) are incorporated, including point histories and salaries.
  • Points are totaled (and averaged) over four different periods: YTD, 30-day, 15-day, or 7-days. Pick your favorite period(s), or switch back and forth.
  • You can see the salary changes for the past day, past week, or YTD. This may be a useful screen to see which players are trending. You can also see (via color coding) if a player's current salary is his max or min for the season.
  • You now have the option to view points for all games, or just points for games in which a player started. The latter option conveniently allows you to screen out data for games in which a player did not start.
  • The schedule filter allows you to see only players for teams scheduled to play on a given day.
  • You can select to see only scheduled starting pitchers. You can also select to see only hitters who are facing an "opposite handed" starter. In each case, if you hover your mouse over the player name, the underlying matchup details should appear.
  • Links to each player's detailed game-by-game history are provided, as well as quick links to that player's info page at ether RotoWorld or RotoWire.
  • You can sort the table on any linked column.
  • You can show all players, of just those who are currently on an active 25-man roster. Active players reflect reporting at, and are updated hourly.
  • You can filter out players with salaries above a specified threshold.
Hopefully, the selection options are relatively intuitive. Contest salaries should be updated for the new day at 11pm ET each night, and point data should be updated at 4:15am ET.

Since the updates are now set up to run automatically, there is always a chance that some data will be screwed up if the various data feeds fail. I'll do my best to make sure that all data is getting populated on schedule, but if you notice anything that looks goofy, please let me know via email. Your eyes are my best spot-checking tool. Don't assume that I'm already aware of any apparent glitch.

With this "basic" version of the sortable stats now up and automated, I hope to add some additional filtering capabilities - particularly regarding lefty/righty matchup histories. Not sure how soon that will be incorporated, though.

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4/14 - The final day of the Masters was devoid of the usual excitement on the back 9. Justin Spieth made a run for the first seven holes, but then Bubba quickly turned a 2-stroke deficit into a 2-stroke lead and from then on, there was never really much drama. Disappointing.

Congrats to the GuruGolf team medalists for the Masters:
Best ball: Northeastern Chieftains (-43)
Worst ball: Philadelphia Flyers (+55)
The "Spring to the Open" Contest starts this week, and includes the eight tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open.

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4/9 - Today’s blurb is coming to you from the re-crowned college basketball capital of the world (i.e., Connecticut). Who says history doesn’t repeat? For the second time since 2004, UConn sits atop both the men’s and women’s college basketball heap. The two teams are now 13-0 in championship games. That’s an astonishing stat. If you assume each game is a coin flip, the odds of going 13-for-13 is 0.012%. Now, in some of those years, the women’s team was probably much better than a 50-50 proposition. But even if the women were 80-20 favorites each year (and some years they clearly were not), the 13/13 odds only rise to 0.84%. Go figure!

The Masters golf toon-a-ment tees off tomorrow morning. Get your GuruGolf foursomes set! Remember that prizes are awarded to the top GuruGolf team in both best ball and worst ball scoring for the Masters. So even if you haven’t participated yet this season, why not register and pick up a foursome? You could score a sleeve or two of coveted RotoGuru logo golf balls!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’ve made some significant progress in retooling my baseball stats processing. The stats now cover all six of the affiliated daily contest sites listed above, and are now updated automatically early each morning. While the sortable stats are not yet available for 2014, I do have the following pages/reports ready:

  • Daily point recaps - a listing of all player points for each game for each contest scoring system, showing listed position eligibility, salaries, and stat details.
  • Individual player detail pages, with links to related player pages at many other sites, plus a day-by-day history of stats, fantasy points, and salaries.
Now that I have this data assembled and organized, the next step is to feed it into the traditional sortable stats reporting. That should be done within the next week, and this year will include some new filtering capabilities that should be useful for daily contest analysis.

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4/8 - Apparently, defense can win basketball championships as well as football. Kentucky managed to score only 54, their lowest point total of the season.

Kudos to jasonfhall, who repeated as the Market Madness Contest champion by 98 points, having not only Connecticut and Kentucky as longs, but also the #7 seeds, the #8 seeds, and the AAC basket. He had only two negative scores on his entire scorecard, both on the long side. He’s also my son – so he doesn’t qualify for the financial prize, which will roll down to the runner-up. The winning score without basket units was by lfrit2. All prize winners will be notified by email in the next week or so.

The best possible score this year would have been G$1701. That’s a high total, with 420 bonus points for UConn (six times 70) and 240 from Kentucky. In addition to the six longs of the final two teams (team, seed basket, and conference basket for each), longs included two #11 seeds (Tennessee and Dayton) plus the #11 seed basket.

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4/7 - The NCAA baskbetball championship game is tonight, and the baseball season is now a week old, so what do I talk about today? GuruGolf, of course!

The top best ball score for the Shell Houston Open was by the Northeastern Chieftains (-46), while worst ball honors were claimed by JAYDENS TEAM (+49).

In addition, the first GuruGolf Contest of the season is now completed. The winners of the "March to the Masters" Contest are:
Bestball: Tosh1 (by 9 strokes)
Worstball: valkyries Bogies (by 7 strokes).

Note that all prizes will be awarded at the end of the season. This will allow me to avoid awarding duplicate prizes to the same manager, while ensuring that every manager receives the best award for which they qualified during the entire season.

I’m still working on baseball stats processing for 2014. I decided to step back and rewrite many of the routines almost from scratch, as much of the stats processing was originally created 15+ years ago. So it’s going to take a few more days to get some 2014 product out there. Patience!

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3/31 - The start of thebaseball season is a very busy time at RotoGuru World Headquarters, as there are a lot of programming processes that have to be tested and reconfigured to work in the new season. It’s going to take at least a week to get the sortable stats and related RotoGuru baseball pages up and running. Aside from that, should already be reasonably functional – as far as I know.

Market Madness standings were pretty volatile yesterday, with both a #7 (UConn) and #8 (Kentucky) advancing to the Final Four, with their associated bonus points added to the tallies. I haven’t figured out the various possibilities, although my oldest son Jason is in the lead as of now and a threat to repeat as champion this year. And everyone that had the pretourney favorites – Michigan State, Louisville, and the #4 seed basket – took a beating this weekend.

In GuruGolf, longtime Gurupie Tosh1 took the best ball honors (-47), while a pair of teams tied for the top worst ball score of +53. Now we move on to the Shell Houston Open, which is not only the last event before the Masters, but it’s the final event in the opening contest period, the “March to the Masters” contest. Both the best and worst ball contests are still up for grabs – but particularly the best ball, where 10 teams are still within 10 strokes of the lead.

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3/24 - What an entertaining toon-a-ment so far! So many games went down to the wire. We had a lot of great plays down the stretch, and a few boneheaded plays. Lot’s of “Whoa!” moments.

From a seeding perspective, there were 8 upsets in the first round (round of 64), which is right on the historical average for that round (25%). Ditto for the second round (5 upsets – 30%).

One of the Sweet 16 games will be played between two double-digit seeds – Stanford(10) vs. Dayton(11). That’s a bit unusual, as historically there have been only two games after the first weekend between two double-digit seeds. The last one was in 2011, when VCU(11) beat Florida State(10) in the Sweet 16. VCU advanced to the Final Four that year. The only other instance was in 1997, when Providence(10) beat UT-Chattanooga(14) before losing in the Elite 8 to eventual winner Arizona(4).

None of the regions have “chalk” for the Sweet 16. Three of the top four seeds advanced in two regions, with Baylor(6) crashing the party in the West (Arizona’s bracket) and UConn(7) advancing to the Sweet 16 in the East (Virginia’s bracket). The #3 seeds have probably fared the worst, with only Iowa State still alive.

If you look at the Market Madness standings, it’s still difficult to get a sense of the true leaders. In general, you’d want to have a low number of shorts still alive and a lot of longs, as the most points in the later rounds come from the long side. But with seed baskets, not all longs are created equally. For example, the SEC seed basket still has three teams alive. The ACC basket has only Virginia. So, unless you are a glutton for analytical drudgery, my best advice is to wait another week and then evaluate the landscape.

Meanwhile, back on the PGA Tour, top seed Adam Scott faded on Sunday as Cinderella Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Congrats to longtime Gurupie philflyboy2 who posted the top best ball score (-49) by two strokes, while Black Hawks 1 smoked the worst ball competition by seven strokes with a +59. Seventeen foursomes had Matt Every this week, but after earning the extra trade for his win, he immediately withdrew from this week’s Valero Texas Open, effectively taking that trade with him.

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3/21 - What is it about this tournament that gets me staying up late to watch Oklahoma vs. North Dakota State? Or San Diego State vs. New Mexico State, a game that didn’t end (in overtime) until about 1:30am? Madness!

We enjoyed quite an exciting opening day of the tournament, with four overtime games, four seed-based upsets, and a close call for Louisville. Had they lost to Manhattan, you’d have probably heard a sonic boom emanating from all of those busted brackets.

I had a little excitement for awhile yesterday. I entered the Billion Dollar bracket this year, and was perfect after the first 8 games, and also was on the right side of all four of the early evening games at one point. Then UConn and St. Louis snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with overtime wins, and Warren Buffet was safe - from me, at least. There are still plenty of entries that went 16/16 yesterday.

Market Madness standings are updated for day 1, but there really isn’t much to evaluate yet, as the early standings are dominated by entries with significant starting cash, a consequence of having shorts worth much more than the longs. So don’t pay much attention to your relative ranking just yet.

There are 314 entrants this year (up about 8% from last year.) I've posted a sortable summary of 2014 unit selections. Click on any linked column heading to sort by that column. A few quick observations:

  • Favorite shorts are Wichita State, Virginia, #5 seed basket, and Atlantic 10 basket
  • Favorite longs are Louisville, Michigan State, #4 seed basket, and Florida
  • Wichita State was the most active unit, with 203 shorts and 33 longs.
  • Every unit had some action. NC Central had the lightest activity, with one long and one short

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3/20 - It will be an afterthought for most sports fans this weekend, but the Arnold Palmer Invitational teed off this morning. David Hearn and George McNeill are the two most popular GuruGolfers this week, each on just under 30% of active foursomes. With all of the focus on the basketball tournament this weekend, I hope I remember to process the GuruGolf standings at the end of each round. Remind me if I don’t.

The tourney starts shortly after noon, and I’ll be posting standings updates several times today – generally after each grouping of games. Scoring is updated manually, so if you see what appears to be a scoring error, let me know. Several brain farts are typical for me during this contest.

Fortunately, the RIBC draft ended in the wee hours this morning, so I don’t have to focus on that during today’s frenzy. The first games of the MLB regular season are on Saturday (in Australia), but it’s hard to imagine that anyone will be paying much attention with the “Round of 32” going on in the background. Actually, though, the first baseball game on Saturday starts at 4am EDT, so I guess you could get up (or stay up on the west coast) and watch that game without any basketballs distractions.

What a weekend!

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3/19 - I don’t recall a year in which there has been such an overwhelming consensus among all of the NCAA pundits. It seems as though everyone is picking Louisville to face Michigan State in the final game. Both are #4 seeds (whether they should be or not), which probably means that the #4 seed basket will be a heavy long in the RotoGuru Market Madness Contest. (That’s purely speculation, as I haven’t looked over the actual entries yet.) If so, you’ll need to find some other picks to differentiate yourself from the pack. That doesn’t mean you have to pick against the #4s. But you may not be able to rely on those picks to cement your win. And if Louisville and Michigan State do perform as predicted, you’ll probably need to be long each of them and the #4 seed basket to be in the running, as collectively those units would produce 200 bonus points plus the game points.

You get three entries. Maybe you want to use one to go with the flow, and another to take the road less traveled. I’m thinking of doing that myself.

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3/18 - If you are new to the Market Madness format, don’t despair when you read the scoring rules. Even if you don’t “get it”, fill out a set of picks and try it for a year. Once you’ve lived through a tournament, you’ll catch on, and be much better prepared next year. If you want a few simple tips, try these:

  • For your shorts, look for first round upsets, and short the loser. For example, if you think that Coastal Carolina(16) will beat Virgina(1), then short the Cavaliers. You might also try shorting one or two of the top seed baskets (1-3). For example, shorting the #1 seeds gives you plenty of opportunities to profit from an early upset - as long as the tournament doesn't go too “chalky”!
  • For longs, pick the 4 teams you expect to survive to the Final Four. In many instances, it's good to take those teams not only as single teams, but also in their basket forms - unless you think the other teams in those baskets are really overrated.
  • Pick one or two double-digit seeds as longs. These will pay off well if they make it to the Sweet 16.
Actually, my best advice is to use the scoring simulator. Pick each of the games as you would for a typical bracket, and then let the simulator calculate the returns under your scenario. Use those returns as a basis for your picks - picking your longs from the top of the listing, and your shorts from the bottom. Or let the simulator do that for you (if you're running it while logged in to the contest site).

Every year, there is a lot of attrition between the contest registrations and the actual entries. It's not unusual for as many as 25%-30% of the registrants to not submit a set of picks. I'm sure that some of that is simply forgetfulness, but I suspect a larger issue is the confusion factor. One of the dominant feedbacks that I get from people who play for the first year is that they felt pretty befuddled when making selections, but once they see how the tournament and the scoring play out, they can't wait for next year. The simulator was designed to help you get over that initial hump.

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3/17 - Time for some Market Madness!

The contest is up and running for the 17th year. This is the longest running contest at RotoGuru, and although the scoring formula seems a bit complicated, most of those who have taken the time to try it out keep coming back for more. Free to play, enter up to three times. Why not?

It’s a little hard to focus on GuruGolf during all of the basketball and baseball drafting hoopla. Congrats to Poorman 2 who posted the top best ball score of -44 in spite of having only one player who shot under par for the tournament. Worst ball scoring honors were earned by valkyries Bogies, aided by John Daly’s 90 on Friday. Daily’s scorecard featured a +8 on one hole, complemented with three double bogeys and nothing better than par.

RIBC baseball drafts are winding down. All four of the qualifying leagues should wrap up within the next 24 hours. The RIBC draft is laggin behind, currently approaching the end of round 18 (out of 25). Looks like we’ll be drafting for a few more days. Once all five of the drafts are completed, I’ll post a consolidated summary of all picks.

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3/10 - Last weekend’s GuruGolf tournament (Puerto Rico Open) is always one of the more difficult ones to manage through, as the top players are all at the competing WGC event. We avoid the WGC events in GuruGolf because they have no cut. But that means that you have to pick from a bunch of cheap players. Ten teams managed to find winner Chesson Hadley, though – including one that tied for the top best ball score of -51. Scoring at the top of the GuruGolf best ball standings was clustered together, while on the worst ball side, Beerhunters2 ran away with a 6 stroke margin (+43).

RIBC drafts continued on throughout the weekend. The RIBC rationale thread is now up, and will be updated at the end of each round. The quality of the rationales is quite good so far. In particular, look at the rationale for pick 3.12 – it’s destined to become a classic in RIBC lore.

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3/7 - All five RIBC drafts are now underway. This is a little earlier than normal, but with the MLB season opening early with two games in Australia in just a little over two weeks, we needed to get moving. To recap, here are the links to each draft in progress:

RIBC     AAA ESPN     AAA Yahoo     AA ESPN     AA Yahoo

All five drafts started with Trout & Cabrera as 1 & 2, followed by either McCutcheon-Goldschmidt or Goldschmidt-McCutcheon. From there, we begin to get some divergence.

RIBC rationales will be posted after a 2 round lag. Hopefully, that thread will be up and running this weekend.

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3/6 - The fourth RIBC qualifying league draft is now underway. Follow the AAA ESPN draft with this link. And when the RIBC draft opens later today, this link will track it. For now, it just shows gobbledygook. (And that’s probably the first time in 16+ years that “gobbledygook” has appeared in a RotoGuru blurb.)

The Puerto Rico Open is off and running. The most popular GuruGolfer is Chris Stroud, on about 43% of all active foursomes. He hasn’t teed off as of this moment, so we have no clue how that will work out. Early morning scoring is low, but that’s normal for this event. Last year, the winner shot -20, and the cut line was at -3. Worst ball scoring will be difficult.

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3/5 - The Puerto Rico Open tees off at 6am ET tomorrow morning. If you set your GuruGolf lineup early, you’d better recheck it, as eleven golfers have withdrawn since Sunday. As of this moment, 93 GuruGolf foursomes still have at least one inactive golfer.

Three of the RIBC leagues have started drafting. Here are links to track them, if you wish (grid at top, sequential picks below that):
AAA Yahoo     AA ESPN     AA Yahoo

The other AAA league and the RIBC will be starting in the next day or so.

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3/3 - The first GuruGolf tournament is in the books. Curiously, no GuruGolf manager invited tournament winner Russell Henley to join a foursome – although he was the listed provisional golfer in a few instances, none which were activated. Congrats to Cyberwahoo7, who posted the top best ball score of -45. Amazingly, that same team also shared the worst ball honors (+49). It’s an unusual occurrence, and yet it’s happened twice already in 2014. Go figure.

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2/26 - GuruGolf tees off for 2014 with The Honda Classic tomorrow. Foursomes must be locked in by Thursday morning’s opening tee time of 6:45am ET. All GuruGolf teams are on an even playing field as of this moment, with the same number of trades and the same dollar value to work with. So let’s get it on!

Spring training games start today. Actually, there have already been some games between MLB teams and college teams, but today we’ll have the first games between MLB teams – six altogether. The first 2014 data points to add to your preseason fantasy draft analysis!

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2/24 - It’s time to awake the hibernating RotoGuru bear.

GuruGolf is up and ready for the first official tournament, this week’s Honda Classic. Registration is free, so if you haven’t tried it before, give it a shot! You have until early Thursday morning’s first tee time to set up a foursome to comete in both best ball and worst ball play.

It’s also time to get serious about the RIBC baseball leagues. AAA league managers will be notified of their league assignments soon (today, hopefully) so that registration can begin. AA leagues are still forming. As of this moment, I have 27 managers to fill 32 slots – so there is still time to enter a AA team. Sign up here. We need to fill these leagues quickly, as drafts should be starting early in March. The MLB season starts in slightly less than 4 weeks!

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2/10 - GuruGolf has been launched for 2014. The rules and setup are all the same as in 2013. This week’s tournament is effectively a practice round, which enables me to shake down the system’s mechanics to ensure all is working correctly. After the Northern Trust Open, all rosters will be cleared, and the official regular season will begin with The Honda Classic on February 27. (The intervening WGC Match play event does not lend itself to GuruGolf play, so there will be a one week layoff between the preseason and the regular season.)

All registration (login) info is retained from prior years, but you’ll need to set up you teams once again to start the season. Send me an email if you can’t remember your password. If you do use your existing login, please doublecheck that your email address is still current. You can find that info on the “My Account page.”

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2/3 - The NFL season is now in the books, as are the Football Pickoff results. Congrats to ISLAM, who (as it turned out) needed to double Seattle for the Super Bowl – and did. The Midseason champion was GS: No Family Co., and the playoff champion was ms louky, who correctly picked all 11 playoff game winners. All prize winners will be notified by email by the middle of February. Thanks to all who played, and please come back next year.

GuruGolf will be back in action by the end of February. The first official tournament will be the Honda Classic, which tees off on February 27. I’m hoping to open the game site next week to allow for a “practice round”, but that depends on getting some testing completed later this week, which is not a given. Stay tuned.

I also need to get started in organizing the RotoGuru Invitational Baseball Challenge. That won’t happen this week, but hopefully that will get underway next week.

In other words, we are now officially in “hurry up and wait” mode.

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12/16 - Bucking tradition, three of the four RIFC leagues have the #1 seed still alive for the title game. And the managers of those teams are all from the same family.

Based on results from Football Pickoff this past weekend, NFL stands for “No Figuring League.” Less than one-third of all active slates posted a positive score, and half were in negative 3-digit territory. Kudos to HuumpDaay, who picked 13 games correctly, including a double of Justin Tucker’s leg.

Brad Stevens was hired as a rookie NBA coach for the Celtics this year, presumably to coach Boston to a run for the top lottery pick. If that was the goal, he’s been a dismal failure, as the Celtics (12-14) are currently ranked 4th in the Easter Conference. Admittedly, the NBA East stinks after you get past Indy and Miami, but if the current pace persists, Boston won’t even be in the draft lottery. Not sure if that works to his long term advantage or not.

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12/5 - Tough choice tonight: Houston at Jacksonville in the NFL network game, or Knicks at Nets on TNT. Of those four teams, the Nets have the best winning percentage, 27.7%, and the four teams have an aggregate winning percentage of only 21% (which will rise significantly tonight.) Must see TV.

Interesting occurrence in the RIFC this morning: As a result of an official stat change, I_Am_Canadian lost one point in last weekend’s game. The consequence is that his team drops from the #6 seed to the #7 seed, as he’s now 0.5 point behind Bonka (for the full season), instead of 0.5 point ahead. It will be interesting to see if/how that impacts the first round playoff games, since the 2/7 and 3/6 matchups are now changed. Fortunately, it only impacted the seedings, and not the overall playoff qualifications.

I added another daily contest affiliate to the RotoGuru family. Sortable stats and player salaries are now available for DraftKings. If you are looking for a daily contest alternative, DraftKings has a broad range of contest offerings, a well-designed and intuitive interface, and now – statistical analysis at RotoGuru. If you want to give it a look-see, please click on the DraftKings link to register.

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12/3 - Wow, I am really slacking off on these “daily” blurbs. More like “every now and then” blurbs.

It looks like the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Seattle. They effectively have a three game advantage, since the only two teams that are two games back (N.O. and Carolina) each lost to the Seahawks. And winning on the road in Seattle looks like a daunting proposition.

Home field advantage in the AFC is still up for grabs. Denver has the edge if they can win out, but New England would overtake them with a one-game shift in standings, based on the tiebreaker. And Kansas City, Indy, and Cincy are still in play, if Denver and the Pats should falter.

The RIFC leagues have completed the regular season. Eight teams from each 14-team league now advance to a three-week single-elimination playoff. For teams that have dominated through the regular season, this is the most maddening part of the season, as history shows that the top seed seldom prevails. I don’t have time to sift through all of the QL results, but for the nine years of the RIFC, the top seed has only won the playoffs once – and that was my team in 2005. The #6 seed has won three times, the #2 and #3 seeds have each won twice, and the #5 seed won once. So while it’s a maddening experience for top seeds, it’s a time of hope for all the others. On any given weekend…

In this year’s RIFC, the top seed is Holt, who dominated all season long, averaging almost 170 points per week, more than 25 points better than the weekly average for any other team. Can he buck the trend? He won from the #5 seed slot last year, but…

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2013: November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2012: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2011: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2010: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2009: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2008: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2007: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2006: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2005: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2004: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2003: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2002: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2001: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

2000: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

1999: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

1998: December . . . November . . . October . . . September . . . August . . . July . . . June . . . May . . . April . . . March

RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to Guru<>.

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