Using reverse bracketology to make a splash in NCAA pool

FullSizeRender-1For the past 30 or 40 years I’ve spent Selection Sunday scribbling with a pencil, scanning with the TV remote, and scrolling on the Internet in hopes of filling out a winning tournament bracket. Armed with stats, a strategy and educated hunches from watching four months worth of college hoops, I’ve seen every March Madness end in April Sadness.

Time after time and year after year, my can’t-miss picks, well, missed. Sometimes respectably, like a second-place finish in a bar pool in 1998; sometimes embarrassingly, like last season when my three of my Final Four picks decided to hit the NCAA Tournament drive-through window with one-and-done showings. All that homework just to flunk the final hoops exam.

To add insult to injury, I’ve seen some unlikely winners float to the top of tourney pools. As a longtime sports writer, I’ve been in pools with a lot of so-called experts only to watch in amazement as some casual fan treats their bracket like a jumbo-sized lottery ticket. They simply pick high seeds, or schools they’ve heard of, or teams that wear the prettiest uniforms – whatever bizarre lack of logic they decide to use to somehow pick crazy upsets that come true.

In 2011, a friend’s dog won a pool I was playing in by picking teams with canine mascots and against those with cats. Of course, the UConn Huskies defeated the Butler Bulldogs in the championship game, and some lucky pooch won all the loot. It’s one thing to lose to a idiot who picks games based on heads and tails by flipping a coin; at least they have an opposable thumb. The thought of all that prize money being blown on doggie treats and tennis balls is infuriating.

So I’ve decided to take a new approach to filling out my bracket this year – complete ignorance. I’ve always said the college basketball season is meaningless since the only thing that matters is making the Big Dance, but this time I took my own advice and paid zero attention to this season. I even bailed out on watching all the conference tournament games last week. I have no business giving anyone advice on picking games this year, which is exactly why I’m going to win:

* East: The logical choice here is Villanova since it is a No. 1 seed and the defending national champion, but this bracket has nothing to do with logic. Give me No. 2 seed Duke since the Blue Devils always seem to make the Final Four. My upset picks to look out for are No. 12 UNC Wilmington over Virginia and No. 10 Marquette over No. 7 South Carolina.

* South: Here’s one tip I’ve learned after living in the Carolinas for two decades; if you want to win a pool you’re not going to do it by picking North Carolina. Even if the top-seeded Tar Heels win the whole thing, there are so many other brackets with UNC on top that it’s almost impossible to win the tiebreaker. Give me No. 2 Kentucky to beat out the Heels for the Final Four, and my upset pick is my alma mater, No. 12 Middle Tennessee State, over No. 5 seed Minnesota.

* Midwest: Again, No. 1 seed Kansas is going to appear on most brackets, but picking all top seeds is borrr-rrring. Give me No. 2 seed Louisville to make a run for the Final Four, and give me No. 11 Rhode Island in an upset for No. 6 Creighton. As a side note, if No. 7 Michigan’s plane slides off the runway when the Wolverines touch down for their first game, just like they did before winning the Big Ten Tournament, it might make a couple of adjustments.

* West: Everyone is talking about No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Arizona meeting for a trip to the Final Four, but you can’t just pick high seeds and hope to win. There’s always at least one long shot in semifinals and I’m digging deep in this one. No. not No. 3 Florida State or even No. 4 West Virginia, but No. 5 Notre Dame. My upset pick is No. 11 Xavier over No. 6 Maryland.

* Final Four: My sheet looks like the ACC Tournament instead of the NCAA, with three of the four hailing from the ACC. My bracket also features a pair of fun showdowns – a Bluegrass State clash between Louisville and Kentucky, and an ACC title game rematch between Duke and Notre Dame. Give me Duke over Kentucky in the championship game, and show me the money.

It seems any bonehead can fill out a winning bracket, and this year that bonehead will be me.

Comments

comments

Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limbo

Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limboFor the first time in 35 years, a local high [more]

Pelicans' win streak ends; playoff tickets go on sale

Pelicans' win streak ends; playoff tickets go on sale Mike Rucker struck out nine batters over six innings on Wednesday [more]

Kickoff Countdown: Price has right recipe for Sharks

Kickoff Countdown: Price has right recipe for SharksFirst-year St. James High head coach Joey Price put a [more]

Coastal takes regional TV spotlight for UAB contest

Coastal takes regional TV spotlight for UAB contestThe UAB Department of Athletics and Raycom Sports have announced [more]

Kickoff Countdown: NMB looks to ride momentum

Kickoff Countdown: NMB looks to ride momentumThe North Myrtle Beach High football team enters the 2017 [more]

CCU caps brutal exhibition schedule against Clemson

CCU caps brutal exhibition schedule against ClemsonCoastal Carolina’s men’s soccer team took on another top-10 ranked [more]

Kickoff Countdown: Braves riding quality over quantity

Kickoff Countdown: Braves riding quality over quantityIt's safe to say that Socastee High football coach Doug [more]

Pelicans work extra innings to net third straight victory

Pelicans work extra innings to net third straight victory The Myrtle Beach Pelicans won their third straight game for [more]

Pelicans sweep past Dash for fifth consecutive victory

Pelicans sweep past Dash for fifth consecutive victoryStrong starts from Ryan Kellogg and Casey Bloomquist in Tuesday's doubleheader [more]

Kickoff Countdown: `MB's Got Talent' hits TV this fall

Kickoff Countdown: `MB's Got Talent' hits TV this fallMyrtle Beach High football coach Mickey Wilson has heard all [more]

Kickoff Countdown: Tigers have skill to fill roles, holes

Kickoff Countdown: Tigers have skill to fill roles, holesNext man up. It's not only a philosophy the Conway [more]

Chants fall to Tar Heels in exhibition, eye Tigers next

Chants fall to Tar Heels in exhibition, eye Tigers nextCoastal Carolina men’s soccer team opened the 2017 season with [more]

Pearson's blast lifts Pelicans to rare back-to-back wins

Pearson's blast lifts Pelicans to rare back-to-back winsTyler Pearson's two-run home run and Kyle Miller's pitching Sunday [more]

Kickoff Countdown: Young Panthers hold real promise

Kickoff Countdown: Young Panthers hold real promiseThere's a youth movement under way in the Carolina Forest [more]

Paula, Hodges flex muscle, help Pelicans snap drought

Paula, Hodges flex muscle, help Pelicans snap droughtAdonis Paula matched a career-high with four hits while Jesse [more]

Chants take a test drive in first scrimmage of season

Chants take a test drive in first scrimmage of seasonThe Coastal Carolina football team held its 12th practice and [more]

Pelicans tie season-high losing skid at five games

Pelicans tie season-high losing skid at five gamesP.J. Higgins' first inning solo home run proved not to [more]

UPDATE: Rainy conditions cancel CNB Kickoff Classic

UPDATE: Rainy conditions cancel CNB Kickoff ClassicFootball-starved fans along the Grand Strand will have to wait [more]

Pelicans' rally bid falls short on P-Nats' walk-off homer

Pelicans' rally bid falls short on P-Nats' walk-off homerA Zack Short homer in the eighth inning Thursday capped [more]

Lady Chants, Famili earn respect in preseason poll

Lady Chants, Famili earn respect in preseason pollCoastal Carolina senior Daniella Famili was voted the Sun Belt [more]

Ex-Pelican Furcal returns for Fan Appreciation Day

Ex-Pelican Furcal returns for Fan Appreciation DayThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans will welcome back alumnus and former [more]

Myrtle Beach falters, looks to avoid sweep by P-Nats

Myrtle Beach falters, looks to avoid sweep by P-NatsTrent Giambrone's home run Wednesday wasn’t enough for the Myrtle [more]

New faces, familiar funning set stage for Kickoff Classic

New faces, familiar funning set stage for Kickoff ClassicWith apologies to Conway National Bank, the "CNB" Kickoff Classic [more]

Coastal defense must hold firm while offense develops

Coastal defense must hold firm while offense developsThrough nine practices, the Coastal Carolina defense may have slight [more]

MB moves first home game to rival North Myrtle Beach

MB moves first home game to rival North Myrtle BeachThe Myrtle Beach High football team will play two games [more]

Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limbo

Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limboFor the first time in 35 years, a local high [more]

Pelicans' win streak ends; playoff tickets go on sale

Pelicans' win streak ends; playoff tickets go on sale Mike Rucker struck out nine batters over six innings on Wednesday [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach