Saturday, March 28, 2009

March Madness- rethinking my strategy

Last year, David and I wanted to fill out brackets and compete against each other (we are very competitive), but we forgot about printing the brackets until the first game was over.
This year, I remembered just in time and filled out my bracket. I sent a blank one and a copy of mine (so he would know I wasn't cheating) to him and he filled his out and sent it to me. I am the official scorekeeper. I don't know what the prize for winning is, but I hope it's not that good, because I am not going to win. David started out really strong (only missed 4 teams in the first round), and is still doing okay--he had picked 3 of the final 8.

I just did our up-to-date totals, and noticed that all 4 #1 teams are in the semi-final. The other 4 teams are all 2nd or 3rd seeds. Unfortunately, I didn't take any of that into consideration while filling out my bracket.

When I choose my winners, I ask myself a series of important questions, and ignore those seed numbers off to the side.
My questions are:
1. Have I been to this campus?
2. Do I have a t-shirt from this school?
3. Have I seen one of this school's teams play in real life?
4. Do I have a personal connection to this school?
5. Have I been to this state?
6. Can I name this school's mascot?
7. Do I know and/or like this team's colors?

Whichever school gets the most "yes" responses is the one that I pick to win. Very sensible, no? You may think it's silly, but this actually worked with over a 65% success rate in the first round. 22 out of 32 teams isn't too shabby!

A few instances of this working successfully in Round 1:
Louisville vs. Morehead State: 1. No/No 2. No/No 3.No/No 4.No/No 5.Yes/No 6.No/No 7.No/No That's 1 Yes for Louisville vs. 0 Yes for Morehead. So I picked Lousiville.

Duke vs. Minnesota: 1. Yes/No 2.Yes/Yes(well, a sweatshirt) 3. Yes/Yes 4. No(but after I went there for a football game, I wished I had!)/Yes (this was one of my top-choices for college) 5.Yes/Yes 6.Yes/Yes 7.Yes/Yes Total: Yes for Duke=6 Yes for Minnesota= 6. Luckily, points for my questions are weighted just in case of tie. Question #1 is a I go with Duke and...Duke wins!

You might be thinking that the fact that the 2 teams I chose to win actually won has more to do with the fact that they were seeded #1 and #2 than with my 7-question system. But then how would you explain this?
Clemson (#7) vs. Michigan (#10): 1. No/No 2. No/Yes(sweatshirt) 3.No/Yes 4. Yes (one of the cars assigned to my assigned lot at Carthage had a Clemson window cling in it)/No 5.No(maybe? I don't know what state this is in?)/Yes 6.Yes/Yes 7.Yes/Yes Total: Clemson-3, Michigan-5. Not only did Michigan win, but they got me 3 bonus points.

Before you adopt my system and bet the farm in next year's bracket, be is not fail-proof.
When I chose #14 Cornell to beat #3 Missouri, David questioned my logic. I explained that while I had answered "no" to the first 3 questions for both teams, I answered "Yes" to #4 for Cornell. When I was 10, we went on the Disney Cruise, and the family assigned to our table had a daughter who was going to be going to Cornell. I remember really liking her, so of course I had to pick Cornell to win. That one didn't work...
2 other major failures for me in the first round were Ohio State & Wake Forest. They sure look great on paper...I have been to both campuses, have t-shirts from both schools, have seen both teams in real life, know their colors, mascots, and Ohio State was actually my 2nd choice college and I was *thisclose* to going there.
I think it was really a freak accident that these teams lost...David had picked them too (probably based on something silly like seed or recent performance) and he lost those points.

The teams I chose for the semi-finals and National Championship are out now, so my total is only 58 points for the whole tournament. David currently has 86 pints and has a potential to earn another 16 points this weekend if Louisville & UNC win. And another 28 if Louisville wins it all. Maybe there's something to his system after all...

Do you fill out a bracket? How are your teams coming along?

1 comment:

Dogeared said...

This mostly went way over my head (apart from understanding it has to do with college football, yes?), and I recognised the bracket thing from HIMYM (when Barney's trying to find psycho girl out of all the possible girls he'd messed over.

But I like your system!

And ooh, not long until you're in the UK now, right?

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