starts…well…in March, duh!! Actually, the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament starts in just a few days with the kickoff starting on Sunday with the selection of the 65 teams that’ll be playing this year.
It may surprise some of you that I’m not really that big of a college sports guy. I’m not exactly sure why that is…it’s just something that hasn’t really appealed to me. I am a big sports guys…just not into the college sports thing as much. So, in high school and for much of my college life, the only thing that made March special to me was the realization that it was the month before my birthday…and that was about it.
Somehow (and I don’t remember how this happened exactly) I was elected to manage our company’s March Madness basketball pool. Please note that no money is wagered for or against any team…we’re not gambling, but just having fun. I will admit that it became a family competition when Rochelle wanted to play too and created her own bracket sheets. After the tournament is over, it becomes a question of interest from my mother-in-law…how did Rochelle do in the tournament in relation to me. Well, since none of us really follow college basketball, it’s usually anyone’s game. I do have a few rules to live by when making my selections. I’ll share these rules now, but be warned that I haven’t really done too well in my company’s pools.
1) Never pick a team to win because you ‘like them.’ I like the mascot name for Southern Illinois but if they’re playing Duke, it’s a no-brainer.
2) Plan on upsets in at least the 1st 2 rounds. Although upsets become more rare in later rounds, the 1st round is notorious for upsets. The trick is predicting who will get upset. More on that later.
3) Always pick the #1 seeded team from each region for at least the 1st round. There’s a good reason they are #1…and they have NEVER fallen to a #16 seed so far (though some have come very close).
4) Regarding upsets…watch the 5/12 matchups. It seems like every year there are 1 or 2…sometimes 3 #12 seeds that have beaten the #5 seed. Odd, I know, but something to look for.
5) Keep in mind, if at all possible, where the games will be played. The tournament is supposed to be a neutral playing field, but with so many teams it rarely happens that way. The team nearest it’s home base will typically have a crowd filled with it’s fans…nothing quite like the #6 man on the court!
6) Watch some basketball a few weeks before the NCAA Tournament. I don’t put much faith in the winners of conference tournaments because there are some teams that’ll lay a goose egg in their tournament to rest up for the NCAA Tournament, knowing that they’ll get in because of their RPI. So watch the games leading up to the conference tournaments. This way you’ll also get a feel for some of the players too.
Other than that, you’re on your own!! Good luck!!