I only say so because he said so.
I won the office pool last year and the year before, and finished 2nd each of the two years prior. (Yes, its a big office, with over 400 entries each year)
Last year’s win funded a Caribbean Cruise, the other funded a trip to the Greek Isles. This year, people started asking me to do their brackets for them, so I figured I’d write about it:
Here are 10 ways to win your pool:
1. Check your “Fan Picks” at the door. When emotion walks in, reason walks out. I don’t care if your Nana graduated Summa Cum Laude from Albany back in the day, it won’t help them against Florida.
2. Pick the Champion. It’s obvious, but to win, you have to pick the overall winner. All the other picks are great but if you don’t pick the overall tournament winner, you don’t win the pool. Someone in your pool will pick the winner, it might as well be you.
HINT: Nate Silver has Louisville ranked with the highest overall % chance to win. Nate Silver is a statistical maestro, correctly predicting last year’s tournament champion (Louisville) and also correctly picking every electoral vote in the 2012 election. (Fun Fact: Success Leaves Clues)
3. Take the Underdog early. You get more points for picking the Underdog, so pick the Underdog. Everybody knows a 12 always beats a 5 and lately a 13 beats a 4, so have some fun with it.
4. Pick Harvard. #12 seed Harvard faces a battered #5 Cincinnati team in the 1st round. Harvard was a #14 seed last year and beat a #3 seed.. and nobody on that Harvard team graduated. They’re all back. They’ve all been here. They all know exactly what to do.
5. Pick North Dakota State. #12 seed North Dakota State is the best shooting team in the country. Also, they start 5 Seniors. A group of men who all collectively know this could be the last time any of them ever take the stage. To them, it means more than anyone could ever possibly imagine.
6. Go With Experience. Rings win Rings. Coaches who’ve been to the Dance perform much better than Coaches who’ve never been there (or never advanced). These are college kids on the grandest of all possible stages and its on the Coach to remind them to ignore the hype and flashing lights and just play their own game. As a general rule: Never bet against Roy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Coach K, or Tom Izzo until the Sweet 16.
7. Don’t Buy Into The Wichita State Hype. They’re undefeated. But they’re also untested against a Top 10 team. I think the NCAA wanted to make it as hard as possible for these posers to reach Texas, so they made the Midwest region as bulletproof as possible. It — is — stacked. 4 teams in that regional alone have won the tournament in the last 6 years, 7 have been to the Final Four.
8. Arizona has the clearest path to the Final 4. I don’t really like Arizona. The Pac-12 isn’t that strong a Conference. They’ve lost bad games this year and they’ve looked shaky during limp wins, too. But they’re finally healthy now, and they have a 7-footer who moves like a 2-guard. Also, they’re in the lightest of all 4 regions. Out of the 4 teams headed to Texas, I think Arizona makes it to Arlington with the fewest blows received.
9. Don’t pick Duke to win it all. You love them or you love to hate them. They’re the Yankees of College Hoops, and during the regular season, sure, Dick Vitale and the Refs of the ACC swing from Coach K’s nuts, but that nonsense doesn’t fly in March.
10. It’s all about Legs. If you’re Bigs are winded, you’re in trouble. If you’re hands are on your head at halftime, you’re in trouble. You have to go at breakneck speed for 6 games in a row, and of the entire field, there is only 1 team that plays a full-court press every second of every minute of every game.
This year, they’re a 4 seed. Last year, they won it all. This year, they’ll do it again.
Louisville, get your slippers, it’s time to go dancin.