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March Madness Bracket Tips

March 15, 2009


It’s that time of year again, when cubicle jockeys from coast to coast try their hardest to win the office bracket pool, in hopes of funding their desperately needed and impossibly expensive hair replacement and/or penile enlargement procedure.  I’m certainly no exception, which is why I’d like to offer some tips for filling out your bracket.  These tips have served me well over the years, including an incredible finish in the upper tier of contestants in the 2003 Big Dance Basketball Bracket Busters Contest (#32,147 out of 70,000, suckas!).

So, now that we’ve established my indisputable credibility as an expert prognosticator, please feel free to take my advice and follow these tips for virtually guaranteed bracket success:

  1. When trying to pick which teams will be upset in the first round, steer clear of those whose coaches are of Italian heritage (Pitino, Izzo, Calipari) and stick with teams coached by WASPs.  Look back at just some of the coaches who were victims of first round upsets in years past: Lute Olson (Norwegian-American), Jim Boeheim (German-American) and Bobby Knight (Asshole-American), just to name a few.
  2. Teams who needed a hot streak at the end of the season (including their conference tourney) just to make the field of 64 probably don’t have enough left in the tank to make an extended run.  They’ll probably still win their first round game, but are virtually an iron-clad lock to lose in the second round.
  3. Schools with confusing directionals or descriptors in their name (East Virginia AT&T, SW Paducah State, Bayou Tech) almost never pull off the big upset, but schools with bizarre mascots (Spiders, Mocs, Catamounts) have done so many times before.
  4. As rare as it is for all four (or even three of the four) top seeds to make it all the way to the Final Four, it is even more rare to have more than just a couple of notable early round upsets each year.  Never have more than one double-digit seed making your Sweet Sixteen, and never pick a seed lower than a 13 to win a first round game.  Lower seeds have won, but it is beyond rare, and not worth the risk.  Stick with the more likely upsets in those 6-11 and 5-12 matchups.
  5. Even if it’s not a team’s official home arena, playing a regional within 1-2 hours driving distance is as much of an advantage as an actual home game.  Single-digit seeds playing in these near-home locations almost always win, and should not be viewed as potential upset fodder.  The inverse is true, especially for teams in the 5-9 range who have to travel cross-country.

Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful.  I will post updates on my bracket throughout the tourney, to put my figurative money where my virtual mouth is…um, so to speak.  Good luck and happy bracketing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. mexicanjunior permalink
    March 19, 2009 10:13 am

    Bad advice…

  2. 30tocure30 permalink
    March 16, 2009 8:37 pm

    Aaahh…more info to rack my brains with in search of the elusive perfect bracket. I am beginning to think it is the Holy Grail…a lot of talk about knowing a friend of a friend who did it, but no physical proof that the sheet exists.

    The only thing you can count on with March Madness is the unpredictability of it all…

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