The madness will officially begin for college basketball players March 16. However, the fans will be going through the madness for days leading up to the tip-off of the play-in game.
Why? Have you ever tried to fill out a bracket sheet? Unless you meticulously follow college basketball, I’m talking watching every game possible; reading whatever you can get your hands on, studying RPI numbers, statistics, records, opponents’ records, and probabilities- aargh!!! It is making me crazy just writing this.
The simple thing to do would be to not play. Come on. Can you say no? Guys, its like saying beer is bad for you, you hate red meat, and that you don’t like seeing nudity in movies! It is as simple and necessary as scratching things that itch, burping after a big meal, and checking out that long-legged blonde at the other end of the bar.
Fear not my fellow pseudo-gambling junkies. After some painstaking research (meaning a quick search of the internet while my wife got me a beer), I have found a few simple rules that will help me and hopefully you win your pool this year (I get 10% of any winnings people!).
- Rule #1: You can’t win them all so don’t even try. In fact, the first thing you need to do is figure out who you think the Final Four will be and write them in. Most of your points are likely in the latter rounds so get this right and it will not matter how you did in the first two rounds.
- Rule #2: Having trouble figuring out who you think will make it to Indianapolis his year? Guessing at the answer is really much easier than it seems; over the last 17 years 63% of the Final Four teams were either #1 or #2 seeds; only four teams in that same span were ranked lower than #6.
- Rule #3: Still need help filling things in? Go ahead and take your #1 seeds into the Elite Eight; nearly 75% of the time (over the last 17 years) they get there; as for #8 and #9- they have only made it that far about 7% of the time.
- Rule #4, aka The Upset Rule: Part of the fun is in trying to pick the upset of the year. It never fails; there always is one. Choose the wrong one, however, and you will soon find yourself out of the money.
- Rule #4a- Look for teams coming off of a loss. Often times a strong team can be suck in a lower seed due to losing their respective conference championship and missing out on the automatic bid. While the odds are not a lock, teams seeded ninth or lower playing teams coming off of a win are 55% more likely to win in the first round.
- Rule #4b- The #5/ #12 match-up has been a historic upset game. To pick the right #12 seed check and see if they have 6 or fewer losses on the season and if they lost their last game. Those with 6 or fewer losses tend to win 45% of the time and 43% of the time if they are coming off a loss. If a team meets both criteria pick them; the three times that has happened the #12 seed won.
This is by no means a guarantee of victory, but it will definitely get you started filling out your bracket. If you are still having trouble I suggest you do what I do- get another beer and so who has the hotter cheerleaders. There is no science involved, but he research sure is fun.
Beer: Cream Dream II: Electric Boogaloo from the Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis, home of the 2010 Final Four– Pick this beer up for the obscure 80s rap movie reference and keep drinking it for the taste and warm, fuzzy feeling it gives you. A west coast style IPA, this beer is all about the hops. Simcoe and Citra hops give this beer a distinctive tropical fruity flavor. At 10%ABV, in case your bracket bombs early a few of these will help you forget you even played.