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Wide White: NCAA bracket strategy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NCAA bracket strategy

I used to spend a lot of time filling out my NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket each year. I'd pick teams based on who was injured, who was riding a hot streak, etc.

This year I was too busy planning a memorial service to undergo my usual preparation. At around 2:00 AM on Thursday, just before the deadline to submit my brackets, I hastily filled out a bracket and entered it into 4 groups.

After round 1 I was in pretty good shape. I tweeted,
At 26/32 I'm in 1st place in all 4 brackets. With 4 Sweet 16 picks out though, I think that's coming crashing down tomorrow.
Sure enough, in round 2, 4 more of my Sweet Sixteen teams came crashing down. But with the craziness of the brackets this year, I'm in the same boat as a lot of people.

After 2 rounds, I'm currently ranked 3/6, 4/8, 2/12, and 19/120. I'm in a worse position than I was after the 1st round but am still in pretty good shape. Even with half of my Sweet 16 out, 7 of my Elite 8 are still going and my entire Final Four is intact. I have the highest possible score in all 4 bracket challenges.

What's my point? I didn't study, that's my point, and you really don't need to either. I just picked. And if you think I'm only doing well because of my institutional basketball knowledge, consider that my wife is currently tied with me (I have 2 more correct picks than her, but she did better in the 2nd round). While I have 8 of 16 Sweet 16 teams left, she still has 10 in it, along with 6 of the her Elite 8 picks and her entire Final Four. She has a really good chance of beating me. Two years ago, she won her entire company's office pool with over 200 people. Her strategy normally involves team colors and mascots for closely-ranked games. This year she didn't even employ that strategy. She just guessed, kind of like I did.

What makes all of this even better is an ESPN article on bracket picks that shows President Obama beating a number of sports personalities' brackets. Both Jamie and I are near the top of that list too, beating many people whose full-time profession is college basketball, like Dick Vitale and Tony Kornheiser.

I think my wing-it philosophy is going to carry over into future years. You can do all of the research in the world and you'll never be able to predict all of the upsets. All you can do is cross your fingers and hope your wife doesn't beat you for the 3rd straight year... (She almost beat me in her 1st try 3 years ago - it was a virtual tie - and beat me outright 2 years ago and last year.)



Blogger Keelie declared,

Yep, I think I'm done with my research too! I'm going to go with Jamie's strategy.:)(I love rooting for Marquette 'cause their uniforms are awesome!:) ) I mean, who can predict upsets? The word itself indicates nobody guessed they would win! Perhaps I'll just go with all underdogs next year and see where it gets me.:)
Although I have to admit, much to the great annoyance of Corey, I'm rooting for Ohio St. all the way! (I've always kind of been a fan, with family being alumni from there.)

3/22/2011 8:45 AM  

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