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How To Pick Your Bracket

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Lavoy Allen and Temple will play Penn State in the NCAA Tournament

By: Andy Wheeler

Right now, my Bracket is perfect. It’s completely spotless. I don’t have one game wrong…but then again I don’t have one game picked yet.

It’s amazing really how filling out their “Bracket” will change people over the next few days. For the most part, we’ll pour over information trying to pick winners among 68 teams we’ve probably never seen play before.

We’ll act like experts. We’ll pretend we know. And what’s worse if we actually are lucky enough to nail a couple of upsets, sentences like “I called that!”, “I knew it all along”, and “I told you I know what I’m talking about” will come out of our mouths.

We are all liars and gamblers this time of year. We root for teams like Hampton to knock off Duke, which will never happen…just so we might be able to say “I told you so!” when something that has never happened before happens.

There are levels of Bracket pickers out there. Let’s break them down shall we?

The Experts:
They are hardly ever right. Anybody stupid enough to classify themselves as an “Expert” on an event with 68 different moving parts that largely is dependant on teenagers/college kids not getting distracted over a 3 week period is a moron. Now they’re probably going to have pretty decent brackets, they’ll hit all the easy games. The games you’ll really need their help for they’ll be wrong. At least that’s my experience. Always beware of someone who calls themselves an expert no matter what the subject.

Hardcore Hoop Heads:

These are the people that watch every game their team plays. They also watch every game they can get their eyes on. They know who has good guards. They know who has big men that might get overmatched. They know what team is vulnerable to good man to man coverage and who can beat a zone.

Hoopaholics is a better name for this group. And oddly…their brackets in my experience never end up being as good as they should be. They are oddly mortal like the rest of us because they almost know too much.

Seasonal Gamblers:

Block pool for the Super Bowl, they’re in. Weekly football pool to pick just the winners, they’re in. Fantasy Football or Fantasy Baseball…sign them up! These are the same people that drop $20 on a 50/50 pool at charity events because they like the odds and the action.

In my experience, these are people that are very dangerous picking brackets. They can prep and pick quickly. Very rarely do they have a problem picking an upset because they have no emotional attachment to a team. They know who the really good teams are, and when it comes down to it…can make the tough choice easily by just picking the better team.

These folks may not have watched one game all year…but in a great example of the beauty of gambling will be glued to the set as long as they have a chance of winning their bracket.

And yes…this is where I fall in our breakdown. My only weakness of course is I always pick Temple to go to far…and all other teams I hate (Villanova, St. Joseph’s, La Salle, Pennsylvania, Duke and UMass) I have losing too early.

The Morons:

I’d like to take this moment on behalf of all the seasonal gamblers out there to thank all you morons for your donation to the pool or pools I’ll be taking part in. You know who you are.

“I went to Morehead State, so they’re going to The Elite 8.” Moron!

“I’m from Boston and Boston University totally has a shot against Kansas!” Moron!!!

“My cousin went to Bucknell…I think they can take out UConn!” M-O-R-O-N!!!!!!!!

Keep making those donations please! We really appreciate your participation and your money!

See you next year!

Their Uniforms Are Pretty:

This may seem like I’m picking on the ladies here…I’d say I’m mostly poking fun while being dead serious at the same time. I hold this group in the highest reverence because THEY ARE THE MOST DANGEROUS GROUP OF ALL!

Seriously, look at the facts. How many times have you looked at your office pool or friends pool and somebody’s wife or girlfriend or a female co-worker is in the Top 5? This happens very frequently in my experience.

And if you are anything like me, I want to know how somebody did it. How were they that successful picking something so difficult to predict.

How did you choose North Carolina over Duke? “North Carolina has prettier uniforms…so I chose them.”

Now one would think that this SHOULD fall in the “Moron” category, but there is too much proof that this actually works. Think about it…bigger program…better uniforms. So this year, with the tournament as wide open as it is, I’m going to use this theory as I pick my games if I’m stumped.

So here are my picks.

We’ll start in the East.

First Round:
Ohio St., Villanova (hate this pick, but they can’t lose 6 in row can they?), West Virginia, Kentucky, Xavier, Syracuse, Washington and North Carolina.

Second Round Winners:
Ohio St (they DESTROY nova). I got torn on WVU vs. Kentucky…so I went to the Uniform theory…and West Virginia has sharp uniforms. Syracuse wins and then I also went to the uniform theory for UNC/Washington…and the purple looks sharp on the Huskies. Now if Pretty = Sharp I’m all set.

Third Round:
Ohio St beats WVU, Syracuse beats Washington

Fourth Round:
Ohio State wins.

To the West we go.

First Round:
Duke, Tennessee, Memphis, Texas, Missouri, UConn, Temple, San Diego State.

Second Round:
Duke, Texas, UConn, and Temple (Yes I’m a moron, but I can’t help myself)

Third Round:
Duke, UConn

Fourth Round:
UConn wins at the buzzer…you heard it here first.

The Southwest is next.

First Round:
Kansas, Illinois, Richmond, Louisville, First Four #3 (I think USC wins the play in game and beats Georgetown), Purdue, Texas A & M, Notre Dame

Second Round:
Kansas, Louisville, Purdue, Notre Dame

Third Round:
Kansas, Notre Dame

Fourth Round:
Notre Dame (I’m Irish and I don’t like Kansas’s uniforms as much as I do Notre Dame)

And finally we go to the Southeast.
First Round:
Pittsburgh, Butler, Utah St., Belmont, Gonzaga, BYU, UCLA, Florida

Second Round:
Pittsburgh, Belmont, BYU (How do you pick against the Mormon’s when they have a guy named Jimmer on their team?) and Florida.

Third Round:
Pittsburgh, BYU

Fourth Round:
Pittsburgh

So my Final Four consists of 3 Big East teams…which is a problem…but they are the best conference so I’ll live with it for now. In the final game I have UConn beating Notre Dame for the National Championship.

Good luck to you, no matter what level of Bracket picker you are.

Follow me on Twitter @TheAndyWheeler

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