The emergence of tank tops, televised baseball games and schools all-over the country rushing the court can only mean one thing.
The madness of the NCAA tourney is here. I got to be honest with some of my readers; I am little concerned that some of you are ill prepared to fill out your bracket and scared that you might do poorly in your pool. Never fear, for if you follow my advice, you will either win or have a scapegoat to be upset at.
While I am glad to help, I feel that I am in a dilemma here, and I want to be the best help possible. My guess is that a few of you have never heard terms like: box and one, four corner offense, annexation of Puerto Rico, grenade and the straight “ballinnng” three-quarters trap?
Have I lost a few of you? I had a feeling about that, so I will divide my advice into three sections, so everyone has a chance at winning their pool.
I know that selecting a team based on their school color is popular, but based on the outfits I see around the campus, I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead you can learn things about the colleges and pick the team with the best mascot. You can also impress your friends. You can ask, “Did you know that University of Maryland, Baltimore County mascot is the retrievers, and they won the American East Conference?” The beauty of it is you do not need even to have the slightest clue of who UMBC is; you can just say, “And their point guard (bonus points for knowing the player’s name) has a cute butt.” That off-the cuff comment will make for a good laugh and quickly change the subject.
If you do not want or care to research the schools, then just pick “chalk.” What I mean by “chalk” is pick the higher seed for every game.Sure it takes some of the fun out of it, but you will beat the “expert” who picks 15 upsets in the first round. If you want to make it interesting, start with six upsets in the first round, then pick five in the second, four in the third, two in the fourth and you are on your own in the final four and championships rounds.
I know facebook.com will have an option to pick random teams. If you pick this option, you are telling the world that you are lazy and cannot even think for yourself; so don’t. By the way, if your pool has a play-in game, you must pick the team with the shortest name. It is science people, just follow it.
One final piece of advice: submit a lot of brackets and then show your friends your best one.
For those of you wishing for the “perfect” bracket, I am going to tell you right now, it will not happen. I say the best thing you can hope for is a 95 bracket, but even that is pushing it. Having said that, let’s push for a miracle.
Do not get bogged down by the NCAA seeding; see the teams as individual teams and research these teams and their opponents and see what is written about them. I better not see four number ones in your poll; I might rip it up.
However, do not go crazy with picking upsets especially in the first round. The first round is the most important round, so wasting your time arguing who will advance out of the sweet sixteen is just that, a waste of time. Count on all one, two and four seeds going through the first round. You are better off if you pick that way.
Think to yourself, are your 14 seed and 15 seed Cinderella teams relying on one player, and has the team that you pick to lose not allowed a player over 20 points all season? Remember like the scale, numbers do not lie.
This section is for people who watch college basketball and know what the WAC, MAC, MEAC and the MVC mean.
Pick your champ before starting your pool and let your pool fill in after that. It is a good way to start and pick a No.1 or No.2 team to win the national title. Only one championship game has not had either a No.1 or No. 2 since 1989. See above about picking three or four No.1s for the final four.
Let the whole season count; teams play more than 30 games a season and should not be judged based only on their showing at the conference tourney. Did the team lose because they were tired, did the other team control the tempo, were shots not falling for a stretch and how often does the team get “cold”? It may take hours of research to find out the true answers.
Study the coaches; experience counts in the tourney. Sure players win games, but coaches win championships. Just check out the coaches who have won in the past, it is not purely accidental.
I hear a lot of teams will win because of their 3-point shooting and their ability to rebound, but if you want to be on top of your pool, then find which team is going to lose. This is what makes you an expert.
Good luck to you and win, win, win!