There’s a really good chance that you are sitting in the office today but you have yet to do a darn thing related to your job. Oh sure, some of you really dedicated folks may have checked your schedules and done some things on the computer by now but you aren’t fooling anyone. It really is OK because there’s an excellent chance your boss is probably doing the same thing you are on this Monday morning.
What all this means is that if you’re reading this then you’ve already printed an NCAA bracket or two and you’ve filled out numerous brackets on-line at ESPN, CBS and Yahoo. Well, I’m here today to remind you of a few things as you go back and check and then re-check your brackets many times between now and Thursday at noon.
First and foremost, leave your Final Four selections alone. Barring an injury that is announced between now and Thursday, your gut feeling is usually right on the first time around. If you’re going to make changes to your original Final Four selections then you better have a darn good reason.
The biggest reason you might want to make a change is if you have all four number one seeds slotted. This is because only once since 1979 have all four number one seeds advanced to the Final Four. Otherwise, leave your Final Four picks the way you first have them. You’ll only regret the moves later on.
When you start to look for upsets, you should know there is always one spot on the bracket where you should start. Almost every year without fail, at least one of the five-twelve match-ups will end up as an upset. The trick is knowing which one to select and I wish I had the answer for you on that but there isn’t a very good pattern. All I can tell you is that it will happen. A 12-seed will upset a five-seed and you can take that to the bank.
If you’re really brave, then you’ll look for the upset in the two vs. fifteen match-ups. This upset has occurred six times and most recently was last year when Florida Gulf Coast upset Georgetown on their way to the Sweet Sixteen. Considering the number of tournaments and the fact that this has only happened six times, you’ll want to be careful. That said, don’t dismiss it.
At some point, the inevitable will finally happen. Someday, somehow, a number 16 seed will eventually knock off a number one. It has yet to happen in the history of the NCAA Tournament but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been close calls. Several times in the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s, number one teams were pushed to the brink before escaping.
North Carolina trailed Fairfield at the half and then had to pull away late with the Stags within three points with three minutes two go. Perhaps the most famous instance however was when top seed Georgetown escaped Princeton by a single point. Granted, it hasn’t come as close in the recent decade but that doesn’t mean it won’t finally happen.
Are you feeling frisky enough to make such a selection? Keep this in mind if you do want to choose a 16 over a one. Pick the game where you feel that one seed has the slimmest chance of reaching the Final Four. Think Gonzaga from last year. Also, you need to make sure of your office pool’s scoring system. Sometimes round one games are worth significant amounts of points compared to other rounds because these games are often more difficult to pick. Therefore, check that out first.
Now…. Don’t you have some work to get back to?