June 21, 2021

Rules to live by in your bracket pool

first_imgStill need money to buy that history textbook for your upcoming midterm? Concerned you forgot to budget for $8 beers and detox fees during your spring break trip to Panama City? Want to upgrade that case of Keystone to a keg of Keystone?Well, the weather is nice again, so you can make that trek to the blood bank and let them siphon off your plasma twice a week.For the more belonephobic penniless college kids, however, the month of March presents an easier way to bump the bank account into triple digits once again. Just win your neighborhood March Madness pool.Now, I know you have probably read that winning brackets are mostly luck — everyone knows at least one mom who has cashed in despite not knowing what state Butler resides in — and sure, gambling is technically illegal. But following these guidelines will make winning your bracket easier than taking home the Pac-10 title.[Ed. Note: The Badger Herald is not responsible for any losses accrued following Bleach’s advice. The Herald fully expects Bleach to live off ramen noodles for the foreseeable future after he crashes and burns over the next two weeks.]Pro Potential PaysWhile Cinderellas such as 2006 George Mason can make a miracle run to the Final Four, only a few select teams are capable of winning six straight games to cut down the final nets.There is one simple test to determine which teams are capable of hanging around for the last dance:Pro potential.For the past ten tourney champs, every team except Syracuse in 2003 boasted at least three future NBA draft picks. And that Syracuse team had Carmelo Anthony, who may as well count for two picks all on his own.This means any inkling you had of talking yourself into West Virginia, Georgetown, Kansas State or a resurgent Villanova should be put to rest. The only possible teams that can win this year come from the small pool of Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse or Duke, if you believe three future NBA picks come from those rosters.Any other pick is just throwing away money.Read the Kenpom BibleSince stat guru Ken Pomeroy started publishing his efficiency stats in 2004, each National Champion has finished in at least the top 16 of defensive efficiency and top four of offensive efficiency.Going off the evidence from past six teams to finish the season on a winning note, only Duke (No. 1 offensive, No. 4 defensive) and Kansas (No. 2 offensive, No. 5 defensive) have a shot this year — though it should be noted Kentucky and Syracuse are top 20 in both categories.At this point, you have a choice between the Jayhawks or the Blue Devils. Considering Kansas won it all just two seasons ago and Duke hasn’t advanced past the Sweet 16 since 2004, picking the Jayhawks to Rock Chalk their way to another championship may as well be money in the bank.Like the walk home Thursday at 2 a.m., you need balance!Although nailing down the national champion in Kansas is a good start, a winning bracket requires finding a few upset specials as well. While there is no hard and fast rule for what to look for, beware of teams that rely on one player to carry them. Though James Harden, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo and Kevin Durant all made for high draft picks, all of their teams underachieved in the tourney when the stars suffered a down game. Having the balance of two or three good players offers protection that one great player cannot.This year’s star dependent teams include No. 2 Ohio State (Evan Turner at No. 6 nationally using 34.1 percent of his team’s possessions), No. 4 Maryland (the Terrapins go has loco Greivis Vasquez goes) and No. 6’s Marquette and Notre Dame.When looking for a team to get upset, schools dependent on one stud are not a bad place to start.Games slow downThis one is pretty self-explanatory: possessions are more valuable. Coaches will stress for days over inbounds plays. They need to control pace. Running teams start to walk it up and slow teams won’t shoot until the shot clock hits single digits.Vulnerable teams here include Washington (10th fastest), Villanova (11th fastest) and Kansas State.In games that often come down to which team can impose their will on the pace of the game, the walk it up — or in Wisconsin’s case, crawl it up — style often prevails.Notre DameI am just throwing everyone a bone here. I have never picked Notre Dame correctly once in my life.I am going to pick them to win their first two games.Do yourself a favor and take Old Dominion in the first round.With rules like these, tournament pools no longer become gambling. They are more, “just hand me my winnings now” pools.So go ahead, book that plane ticket to Mexico.You can thank me later.Michael is a senior planning on quitting school to celebrate his newfound money. Want more gambling advice? Think he needs gambling advice? He can be reached at [email protected]last_img

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