Wednesday, March 16, 2011

There's Another Tournament?

March Madness (the real one, not our Geek Tournament) has arrived. With two play-in games already decided and two more to go (is this the beginning of an expansion of the tournament?), I figured now might be a good time to offer my suggestions on filling out your brackets. I won't bore you with a game by game selection, nor will I post my completed bracket, but I'll generously give you my predictions for the Final Four as well as a few underdogs you might want to ride for a few rounds.

Note: While I love basketball, you should note that last year my sons nearly beat my bracket selections simply by picking which team's mascot they liked in each game.

The Upsets: The make or break decisions of any bracket lie in picking the oh-so-difficult to see coming upsets. I personally like eleven, twelve and thirteen seeds. If you see one of those teams and have a good feeling about them, I say go with them as your upset. This year, I'm picking both Clemson, already winners of a play-in game, and Memphis to win their first round match-ups. While I enjoy seeing the double digit seeds advance, I usually avoid picking them t get any farther than the second round. This year, I don't expect a 2010 Butler to emerge, but I do have thirteen seeded Oakland coming out of the West to face Duke in the Sweet Sixteen, where they will, no doubt, lose.

The Strength of the Number Ones: No matter how diligently you pore over your bracket, you may be disappointed in yourself when you see all that thinking only lead to your selection of all four number one seeds to make it to the Final Four. Don't be so hard on yourself. They got the one seed in their respective bracket for a reason. However, being right about a one seed missing the Final Four is an especially satisfying feeling. Thus, I have decided to rank the number ones in the order I see them most likely to be knocked out:
  • Pittsburgh - This is the weakest of the ones. They'll have to face either Butler, Wisconsin, K State, BYU and/or Florida, all teams that I could see beating them.
  • Ohio State - Strong team, but somebody had to be second most likely to lose before the Final Four and I like both Kansas and Duke better.
  • Kansas - The only reason they are number two is because they might have to face Notre Dame. If Notre Dame loses prior to the Southwest champion game, they will walk in.
  • Duke - I'm not a Duke fan, but I've picked against them so often and have the scars to prove it that I hesitate to do so ever again.
My Final Four: Here is my Final Four - Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Wisconsin. Controversial, I know. I have only one number one seed reaching that round, which is something I personally recommend against, but it is what it is. Should you want to put more number one seeds in, the above section contains my suggestions on which ones to pick.

Have Some Stones: If you are entering a bracket for consideration, whether it be at your office or through a bookie (which I do not condone, mind you) then I strongly encourage you to do it right. By this, I mean enter only one sheet. Sure, you could try and enter a few different combinations of games, but have enough ride in your selection process, however random it might be, and stick with your original picks. You may not win the top prize, but You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you stuck to your guns.

That's all the unsolicited advice I have to offer. Should these suggestions lead to success, I am willing to accept any credit you might throw my way. If they cause you to crash and burn, then you should have come up with your own system. Either way, good luck.

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