It’s March, so you know what that means…only one month until new episodes of “Game of Thrones” come back on. Until that glorious moment, we are treated to another type of blood sport—March Madness!
Of course, the actual games themselves are not the most competitive and violent. The games pale in comparison to -- (trumpets, please) -- “The Bracket.”
The feeling of blood lust surging through your veins when you look upon that blank flowchart of 64 team names (some you’ve never even heard of) and think how you are not only going to win your contest at the office/dorm/online this year – you’re going to DOMINATE! You will leave broken dreams and busted brackets in your wake.
Maybe you’ll even fill out a perfect bracket. The odds are totally in your favor: 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1. Good luck with that.
While I can’t promise you a perfect bracket, I can offer you some tips that will keep you competitive until the final tip-off.
Tip #1: Ignore Everything You Read Here
Actually, don’t ignore everything, but feel free to go your own way. If you really think that Weber State will beat Arizona in round one, because “the state of Weber makes those awesome grills,” who am I to disagree? The main goal of filling out a Bracket, aside from beating and/or humiliating friends, is to have fun. This is America, so you’re free to pick whatever team you want. In fact, American is playing Wisconsin in the first round, which means if you pick against American, you may be supporting terrorism, just so you know (it’s a joke).
Tip #2: Don't Pick a 16 Seed to Beat a 1 Seed
Don’t pick Weber State. Seriously. In fact, don’t pick any 16 seed to beat a 1 seed. Since 1985, exactly ZERO 16 seeds have beaten a 1 seed. Another tasty tidbit: 88 percent of 1 seeds make it to the Sweet 16, so it’s not a bad idea to start by putting your 1 seeds on the Sweet 16 line and work back from there. You don’t want to get caught at Broken Bracket Mountain at the Sweet 16 with two or less Final Four teams still alive.
Tip #3: Advance No Seed Higher than No. 6 to the Final Four
Yeah, Wichita State (how many states do we have??) went to the Final Four last year as a No. 9 seed, but that is the one exception to a very predictable rule. Remember, you’re not going for perfect here; you’re trying to maximize your odds of winning. You don’t see Harvard and Stanford grads putting their teams in the Final Four, do you? Play smart to win.
You’re probably thinking, “Great stats, Scott, and kudos on the Weber State joke, but where are you getting this information?” Excellent question, dear reader. My stats come directly from the only source that matters: degenerate gamblers. Guys (and gals) who make their living betting on balls that are kicked, bounced or thrown, who study every stat and angle available. They have done the research, poring over years of historical data to give you these wonderful tips I impart to you. Ignore them at your own peril.
Here’s my final four, and it may be a shocker: Arizona, UCLA, Wichita State Shockers and Virginia, with Arizona beating UCLA in the final.
I know, I know – I’m a West Coast homer, right? Possibly. However, if Arizona is the best team in the country, and I feel they are, and UCLA already beat Arizona in the Pac-12 final, is it so far-fetched that they would meet again in the final?
And what about everyone’s darling teams, Michigan State and Louisville? Being a contrarian better (legally betting in Nevada only, of course), when I see everyone picking the same team(s) to win, my natural inclination is the run the other way. I like both teams, but if everyone is picking them, how do you expect to win by picking them as well?
Best of luck with your brackets, have fun and DOMINATE!