TOP 2009 semis brackets

The Tournament of Pizza so far

The Tournament of Pizza so far

Results in the semi-finals of the 2009 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, come out of the oven Tuesday. The semi-finals will be a contest of broccoli-ricotta white pizzas.

What? You haven't been following the Tournament of Pizza? Here's a quick recap to get you up to speed...

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The brackets
Sixteen pizza shops were split into four brackets that generally represented Albany, Schenectady, Troy and Saratoga (this year's field also included pizzerias from places such as Latham, Guilderland, Watervliet and Clifton Park). The filled in brackets (so far) are posted above.

The judges and scoring system

We added a fourth judge to our panel this year. And we changed the scoring from a simple "pick your favorite" system to a points-per-category system.

Saratoga bracket winner: Nunzio's
The pink shop's sausage pie posted a 74 the second round, the second highest score of the tournament.

Schenectady bracket winner: Marino's Flying Pizza
Marino's pulled a big upset in Round 1 with a 62-59 victory over last year's tournament runner-up, Pizza King.

Troy bracket winner: I Love NY
I Love was able to hold off 'Vliet favorite The Purple Pub in Round 1 and then caught a break in Round 2.

Albany bracket winner: Pasquale's
Last year's tournament champ burst into the semi-finals with an 80 in the second round, the tournament's high score so far.

Most shocking upset: Venezia over D'Andrea's
It wasn't so much that the Clifton Park shop topped last year's Saratoga bracket winner -- it was the way it happened. D'Andrea's had the unfortunate luck of picking the wrong day for not being its best. The Caroline Street shop's pie posted an 18 -- the lowest score of the tournament. Even good pizzerias can have bad days.

Biggest grudge match: Jimmy's vs. Vintage
These two Troy Round 1 competitors ended locked in the TOP's first-ever tie -- a 39-39 decision. Jimmy's advanced on its slight edge in the overall taste category.

Tough luck entry: Marisa's
The Guilderland favorite turned out some very good pies for this competition. And in Round 2 it looked like it might not knock off Pasquale's -- both its crust and sauce scored higher than the champ's. But some very mellow sausage -- the judges said it lacked flavor -- tripped up Marisa's on its way to the upset.

What to watch for
You never know what's going to happen in TOP. As we've already seen, good pizza shops can turn in less-than-stellar pies. That said, you have to figure that Pasquale's and Nunzio's are the favorites right now.

Results from the semi-finals on Tuesday.


Brocoli-Ricotta White Pizza? Does anyone actually eat that? None for me thanks.

Actually, I eat it (any chance I can get!)

@BobF: White pizzas are great. Similar to ricotta and broccoli, my favorite white pizza is probably with tomatoes (slices) and spinach... yum.

I assume when you do order a pizza, the business doesn't know that the pizza will be used for the tourney.
But, I do have to ask, will you be informing the winner of the tournament that they've won? Will you have some sort of trophy or award so they can have it on their wall?

@CJ: When we call to order the pizzas we don't tell the pizzerias that that the pies will be part of the competition. One exception is the final. In that round the pizza places get to pick the pie they enter.

>Will you have some sort of trophy or award so they can have it on their wall?

We didn't do that last year, but we're going to try this year. Pasquale's (last year's winner) has the print out of last year's final taped to their counter.

Unless this contest is being conducted at 4am after a disastrous night at The Ruck, I don't understand how I Love is still in the running. That's not pizza. It's a hangover cure.

And Broccoli-Ricotta White pizza is the greatest. True fact.

OMG, Marino's is by far the best pizza in the tri-city area! I lived in schenectady for over 30 yrs and was lucky enough to be there from the beginning for this local treasure. Not only is the pizza the best, Mario and his wife Anna were always delightful. I now live in Castleton, where sadly there is a dearth of good pizza. When i do go to Schdy i find my way to Marino's as often as is socially polite! YUMMMMMM!!!!!

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