Tournament of Pizza 2010

TOP2010: Postgame with the judges

Here's a quick postgame discussion with the judges after this week's final of the 2010 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. It's just a few minutes about the pizzas from Marino's and DeFazio's.

Thanks again to (from left to right above) Daniel B, Albany Jane, Renee and Joe for all the excellent judging and good times this year.

Update! An extended version of the discussion is posted after the jump. A few of the topics from the fun discussion: veggie pizzas, Pasquale's, Greg telling the judges they're crazy, and Joe maybe saying something his mom wouldn't want to hear.

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TOP 2010: The Final

TOP2010 the final

It's time for the match we've all been waiting for: the final of the 2010 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. We have quite an impressive pair of competitors in this final matchup:

Troy champ DeFazio's vs. Schenectady champ Marino's

First, how we got here. DeFazio's edged out Nunzio's 62-59 and Marino's ended Pasquale's incredible run with a 69-66 victory.

Unlike in previous rounds, the two pizzerias get to pick the pies they enter in the final. Steve visited the two shops this week and their choices look great:

DeFazio's
A whole-wheat crust pizza with spinach, sausage, kalamata olives, roasted red pepper pesto, fresh mozzarella and Pecorino Romano cheese.

Marino's
A classic pizza with sausage, peppers and onions.

Let's eat some pizza.

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In the kitchen with the TOP finalists

Check it out: Steve visited the two finalists in the 2010 Tournament of Pizza -- DeFazio's in Troy and Marino's in Schenectady -- to find out which pizzas they'll be entering in the final showdown. This video will make you hungry:

Bold choice by DeFazio's going with the whole wheat crust. And how about the way Mario from Marino's tosses that dough?

Thanks to Steve and the two pizzerias for joining in on the fun! And many thanks to Jennifer Gish for her help.

sunmark pizza banner

The 2010 Tournament of Pizza is sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, which now offers banking from mobile devices. They even have an app for iPhones and Android phones.

Earlier on AOA: TOP 2010: The Semi-finals

TOP 2010: The Semi-finals

TOP2010 semi-finals

We have nothing but winners left in the 2010 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The semi-finals pit the winners of the four regional brackets against each other. And the competition should be fierce, because all these shops are very worthy contestants. The match-ups:

Troy champ DeFazio's vs. Saratoga champ Nunzio's

Schenectady champ Marino's Flying vs. Albany champ Pasquale's

First, how we got here. DeFazio's charged past I Love 79-63 in the Troy bracket, Nunzio's moved past Cusato's 65-25 in the Saratoga bracket, Marino's Flying topped Pizza King 67-57 in the Schenectady bracket, and Pasquale's zoomed past Paesan's 78-52 in the Albany bracket.

In a twist, we switched out the broccoli ricotta challenge from previous semi-finals for... veggie pizza. Specifically, we ordered pizzas topped with green peppers, onions, mushrooms and black olives.

Let's eat some pizza!

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Steve's predictions for the TOP 2010 semi-finals

tournament of pizza 2010 bracket rd3 small

The brackets to this point. (Here's a larger version.)

By Steve Barnes

We're very happy that the Times Union's Steve Barnes -- who writes the Table Hopping blog and column -- has been joining in on the fun of the 2010 Tournament of Pizza. Steve went 3-4 in the second round and is now 10-12 for the tournament. On Wednesday, he'll have a video report from the two shops that make it to the finals.

Here's Steve's look at the semi-final match-ups. Results from this round of veggie pizzas on Tuesday.

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TOP 2010: Round 2: Albany

TOP2010 RD2 albany

The second round of the 2010 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, closes out with a stop in Albany. This is an intriguing match-up

Paesan's Guilderland vs. Pasquale's

First, how we got here: Paesan's topped The Fountain 70-58 and Pasquale's beat Lou-Bea's 68-38.

Paesan's is facing a formidable challenge in this round. Pasquale's sausage pie last year posted the highest score in the history of the TOP. But we're not eating last year's pizza.

So let's get to it.

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TOP 2010: Round 2: Troy

TOP2010 RD2 Troy

The second round of the 2010 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, moves on to Troy. And we have clash of titans here:

DeFazio's vs. I Love

First, how we got here: DeFazio's topped Giuseppe's 75-54 and I Love moved past Pop's 72-30.

So, two shops put up very solid scores in the first round. Can they do it again?

Pizza, please. We head back to EMPAC for the tasting...

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TOP 2010: Round 2: Schenectady

TOP2010 RD2 schenectady

The second round of the 2010 Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, heads back to Schenectady. And we have quite the matchup in this round of sausage pizzas:

Marino's Flying vs. Pizza King

First, how we got here: Marino's Flying scored a solid victory over Fireside 71-59 and Pizza King topped Johnny C's 64-46.

There's some serious TOP history here in Round 2 Schenectady. Pizza King placed second in the entire tournament in 2008 -- but it was upset by Marino's Flying in the first round last year. Marino's then went on to win the bracket.

So, let's get to it. We head back to the fragrant Anthology Design Studio for the tasting...

sunmark pizza banner

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TOP 2010: Round 2: Saratoga

TOP2010 RD2 saratoga

We're back to Saratoga for the first matchup in Round 2 of the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The pizzerias facing off in this round of sausage pizzas:

Nunzio's vs. Cusato's

First, how we got here: Cusato's beat fellow Clifton Parker Antipasto's 22-15 and Nunzio's topped Pope's 63-52.

You gotta figure Nunzio's is the favorite here -- it took second in the whole tournament last year, it scored reasonably well in the first round and Cusato's stumbled. But throw out the reputations! It's all about the pizza on the plate.

We head back to the lovely Spring Street Gallery for the tasting...

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Steve's predictions for Round 2 of TOP 2010

tournament of pizza 2010 bracket rd2

How the brackets shape up now. Here's a larger view.

By Steve Barnes

We're very happy to have the Times Union's Steve Barnes -- who writes the Table Hopping blog and column -- back for Round 2 predictions in the 2010 Tournament of Pizza. Steve lit it up in the first round, picking 7 of 8 matchups correctly. He'll be visiting the two finalists for a video segment ahead of the championship round.

Here's Steve's look at the Sausage Round matchups. Results from Round 2 start Tuesday.

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TOP 2010: Round 1: Albany

TOP2010 RD1 Albany

The final stop in the opening of the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, in Albany. The matchups in this cheese-tastic round:

The Fountain vs. Paesan's Guilderland

Lou-Bea's vs. Pasquale's

There are some serious favorites in this bracket. And Pasquale's is the two-time defending TOP champ. But it's all about the pizzas you turn out now.

Let's eat some pizza!

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TOP 2010: Round 1: Troy

TOP2010 RD1 Troy

The first round of the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, now makes its way to Troy. The matchups in this cheeeeeeese round:

DeFazio's vs. Giuseppe's

I Love vs. Pop's

Some big-time reps in this bracket. DeFazio's is renowned, but Giuseppe's was a huge favorite in the crowd voting. I Love is the returning bracket champ, but Pop's is a well-organized newcomer.

Let's hope for some exciting pizza performances! We had a fitting venue: the ever impressive EMPAC at RPI.

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TOP 2010: Round 1: Schenectady

TOP2010 RD1 Schenectady

Round 1 of the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, rolls on to Schenectady. The matchups in this cheesy first round:

Fireside vs. Marino's Flying Pizza

Johnny C's vs. Pizza King

Lots of drama in this bracket. Marino's was the surprise winner last year, but it's up against a time-tested favorite in Fireside. And Pizza King, the 2008 overall tournament runner up, is looking for redemption from last year's first round upset. Or will Johnny C's represent for Rotterdam?

Let's eat some pizza! The judges gathered at the elegant and fresh Anthology Design Studio on State Street in Schenectady for the tasting...

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TOP 2010: Round 1: Saratoga

TOP2010 Saratoga judging

Our esteemed judges, in action at the Spring Street Gallery.

As is tradition, Round 1 of the Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, opens in Saratoga. The matchups in this round of cheese pizzas:

Cusato's vs. Antipasto's

Nunzio's vs. Pope's

Can defending bracket champ -- and tournament runner-up -- Nunzio's hold off old-favorite Pope's? Who will prevail in a showdown of Clifton Park shops?

The judges got together at the lovely Spring Street Gallery for the tasting...

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Steve Barnes' Tournament of Pizza predictions

tournament of pizza 2010 bracket

This year's brackets. (A larger view.)

By Steve Barnes

Updated 12:55 pm

We're very happy to announce that as part of a collaboration between AOA and the Times Union, the TU's Steve Barnes -- who writes the Table Hopping blog and column -- will be handicapping each round of the 2010 Tournament of Pizza. He'll also be visiting the two finalists for a video segment ahead of the championship round.

Here's Steve's look at the opening matchups. Results from "the cheese round" start later today.

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Tournament of Pizza 2010 brackets

pasquales 2009 final

Pasquale's gutsy pick for last year's tournament finals. Will the brackets break their way again?

Simmer the sauce! Toss the dough! And fire up the oven! The Tournament of Pizza, sponsored by Sunmark Federal Credit Union, is back!

For the first time in the storied history of the TOP, the crowd helped picked the tournament field. More than 500 ballots were cast and eight pizzerias got spots in this year's tournament.

As is tradition, the winners of last year's regional brackets automatically qualified for the field.

That left four spots, one in each bracket, for the selection the committee to fill.

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Tournament of Pizza field crowd voting results

Thumbnail image for i heart pizzaFor the first time in the august history of the Tournament of Pizza, two slots in each bracket were up for a crowd vote (based on nominations).

And results are in! Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote! We saw some of these coming. Others were quite a surprise...

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Tournament of Pizza voting leaderboard

i heart pizzaWith a little more than 24 hours to go in the crowd voting for this year's Tournament of Pizza field, there's a leaderboard after the jump. Some of the early standings aren't surprising to us (The Fountain) -- but we didn't see some of these coming (Giuseppe's!).

The top two vote-getters in each bracket will get spots in the field of 16. (Voting ends Friday at noon. Vote now!)

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Tournament of Pizza 2010 voting

i heart pizza

We can't wait!

Update: The polls are closed! Thanks for voting!
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The return of that august tradition, the AOA Tournament of Pizza, is almost here. For the first time, half the field will be filled based on voting from the crowd.

The ballot is after the jump. Please vote for one pizzeria in each bracket. You can only fill out one ballot from each computer. Voting ends this Friday, September 10, at noon.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a nomination!

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Tournament of Pizza 2010 nominations

i heart pizza

It's almost time!

That most august tradition -- the Tournament of Pizza -- will soon return. That means we have some brackets to fill out. And we need your help.

For the first time, this year's tournament field will be selected in part by a vote from the crowd. So, we need nominations.

Got a good pizza place in mind? Just post a comment with the name of the place and the town where it's located. We'll gather up the nominations for a vote next week.

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