Ever wish that more things worked like college brackets? That you could seed everything that way? Top 64 pre-game foods. Top 64 college players. Well, now you can do just that with your friends, with the Allstate BFF Brackets, which takes your 64 top Facebook friends (an algorithm seeds them based on interaction) and seeds them in four regions, exactly like the real tourney. Once the tourney starts, your friends advance with the corresponding seeds – till one is left standing. Check it out at here.
The bracket game out last night, and true to form, people were angry, and complained about the process. But guess what? None of that matters now. It's Monday, and you've got till Thursday morning to fill out your brackets. I wanted to go through a few different strategies that I have seen emerged in the bracket selection process, along with giving you the teams I'm rooting for, and who I have in my Sweet 16 and onward.
Bracket Selection Strategies:
1. Pick all #1 seeds in the final four. I call this Clark Kellogg method, because when he was a studio analyst, that was how he did his bracket every year... And up until a few years ago, it was always wrong.
2. Upset picks. You love the tournament because of the upsets. You know, a 12 usually beats a 5, a 13 usually beats a 4, and so on. So you try and predict those upsets... The main flaw in this strategy is you tend to pick mostly 12 and 13 seeds to win, are wrong more often than right, and have that 12 seed going a round or two too far.
3. Fan bias. You hate Duke, so no way you have them cutting down the nets. Or Roy Williams is a punk for taking all the top Iowa recruits for the state. I did this quite a bit, especially the first few times I did a bracket. Guess what? I had less fun picking the good teams I didn't like, to lose (and be wrong), than picking them to win and being right.
4. Clueless fan. You want to know where the teams are located, the team's colors are, what their mascots are, and pick accordingly. This person almost forgets they do a bracket, but almost always wins your pool.
5. Analytical fan. This person looks at Ken Pomeroy, at that model those Georgia Tech professors made, and tries to get as much statistical analysis about the teams as possible. They also watch as much college basketball as they possibly can. They usually finish last in the pool. I fall in this category.
On a serious note, I find that people who pick an Elite 8 and backfill tend to do better than those of us that go match-up by match-up. If you can get most of the Elite 8 right, you are going to win your pool due to the weighting of points in the pool. Going match-up by match-up, you find yourself picking teams to go far, that all gets ruined when they lose in the first or second round. I'm guilty as charged with going match-up by match-up, and am going to try the backfill method instead this year. Hopefully I will do better than last in my pool, but if not, it would be the same result as the other way.
Bracket Process Tips:
1. Make it a fun thing. The NCAA tournament is fun. This isn't life and death. Even if your bracket is worthless at the end of the first weekend, enjoy one of the best sporting events there is.
2. Nobody cares about your bracket once you choose it. If you got an upset right, fine. But nobody is going to think more of you that you had Wofford getting that first round win. Because guess what? Chances are you are upset guy, and got 4-5 upset picks flat out wrong. But don't subject your wife, kids, and co-workers into bitching/bragging about your bracket. If they ask you about it, fine. If you win your pool, go for it. But don't be annoying. People like this, make the fence-sitters hate sports and the tournament. Don't give us fans a bad name.
3. Have fun. Oh wait? I said that already? Well, it is worth repeating. It's sports. Have fun!Bracket Prognosis:
This is subject to change if something crazy goes down, but here is how my Sweet 16, and beyond are looking:
Ohio State over WVU
Syracuse over Washington
Ohio State over Syracuse to win the East.
Duke over Arizona
UConn over San Diego State
Duke over UConn to win the West.
Kansas over Vanderbilt
Notre Dame over Purdue
Kansas over Notre Dame to win the Southwest.
Pittsburgh over Belmont
St. John's over Michigan State
St. John's over Pittsburgh to win the Southeast.
Duke over Ohio State
Kansas over St. John's
Kansas over Duke 85-80
So those are my picks. They will probably all prove to be dead wrong. If anyone wants my more detailed bracket, email me. I'll send it to you, and then all you'll have to do is pick the opposite of me on the close games, and you will probably find yourself winning your pool.
Iowa State is not in it, so I try to jump on a couple of bandwagons for fun. It isn't always how I pick my bracket. To me, the bracket is who I think will win, but this section is more who I want to win. I will say, I have bad luck with this too. I bet a friend $10 BYU would go to the Final Four, and the next day Brandon Davies was suspended from the team.
Bandwagon #1: BYU. I love Jimmer, and I have $10 on the line.
Bandwagon #2: Belmont. I think they should have been something more like a 10 seed.
Bandwagon #3: Utah State. I need to hedge my Belmont pick... I also think Kansas State has peaked.
Some teams I am bear-ish on, are UNC, Texas, and Kentucky. All talented, but all inconsistent.
What about you? What are your bracket picks? Who are you feeling, and who are you not? I want to know, because you probably will do better than me in a pool.