Monday, May 14, 2012

Congratulations on making it past Bracketology 101! Welcome to Advanced Bracketology! Yesterday we covered the structure of the bracket and common methodologies for filling out the bracket. Today we are moving on to study the more advanced theories: aka, the do’s and don’ts.

Things You Shouldn’t Do.

1. Don’t bet more than you can stand to lose! Sure that $1,000 prize looks like a shiny mirror-ball trophy dangling in front of your eyes but if the fee for entering the pool is greater than that pair of hot designer shoes that you have been coveting for months…..get the shoes. Remember what I said: the odds of guessing it all correctly are 9.2 quintillion to 1! Granted, odds of winning your office or online pool are drastically lower since it’s on a point system, but it’s still a risk.

2. If you don’t bet too much, don’t take it too seriously!

However, if you throw down $1,000 on the pool, totally take it seriously! But free pools and ones with $5 fees should be fun! You don’t want to bog youself down with thousands of stats and figures and player analysis. Throw a few teams on there just because. Maybe you like the mascot, maybe you just like word Gonzaga, or maybe there is a little voice in your head that is saying “pick Siena.” Have some fun and go with those random teams, you never know!

3. Whatever you do, Don’t listen to the experts!

During March Madness, EVERYONE thinks they are an expert, and justifiably so. Again, there are how many possible outcomes of the tourney: 9.2 quintillion! You can spend hours watching SportsCenter and reading every analysts predicitions and since they dissect every minute detail you are likely to be completely overwhelmed with info. And rarely do they all agree. So unless you have a personal fave columnist or sports analyst, steer clear of them.

and still have your bracket go to total hell in the first two days of the tourney because some random underdog teams nailed a half-court shot at the buzzer. It’s unpredictable, that’s what makes it madness!

4. Don’t Pick a #16 seed to beat the #1 seed

#1Yes it would make a great underdog Cinderella story. However, a #16 seed has never beaten a #1 seed. That doesn’t mean it can’t happe. There have  even been times over the years when a #16 has come really close or at least given the #1 a fight.

But picking Morehead to win over  Louisville because you giggle everytime you hear someone say their name probably not the best idea.  However, if you truly hate UNC , everyone in your fam are Duke fans and it’s practically against your religion to pick them to every win a game, then go ahead and pick Radford.  Just be prepared, it could destroy your brackets from the get-go.

Along the same lines, only 4 #15 seeds have ever beaten a #2.

5. Don’t put all your #1 seeds in your Final Four basket

You may be tempted to put all the #1 seeds in one basket, er, in the Final Four. I mean they are ranked #1 for a reason right? Seems like a quick  bracket shortcut to just move the best to the end. But, actually, the only time all four #1 seeds went to the Final Four was in 2008.

On the other side, the only times a #1 seed was NOT in the Final Four was in 2006 and 1980 . So make sure you pick at least one, if not two, to make it into the Finals. The fun is deciding which ones aer your faves!

6. Don’t Brag Too Much When You Win

Remember, other people are upset that you jsut took all their money. Be polite!

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Things you Should Do

1. Do Follow your Gut!

Some match-ups are notoriously unpredictable, like the #8/#9 and the #7/#10.  Like I said above, if there is a little voice in your head telling to pick a team, go with the voice. This is the one time of year that it doesn’t mean you are crazy.

2. Do your homework

You do need to have some facts before picking your teams whether it be learning all the stats and records for the teams and players or just finding out the team mascots and colors.

3. Do Pick the underdogs

The best part about the tourney besides the amazing last second shots, the passion and intensity of each game, and the hot player is the amount of upsets. There are always underdog teams that defeat the higher ranked Big Names and the fun part is trying to guess which ones it will be this year!  Don’t go too crazy, though. Make sure your Elite 8 is filled has at least 4 teams ranked #1-4!

4. Do Remember to Balance Your Heart With The Facts

This is kinda like the do not pick a #16 to beat a #1. Maybe FSU really is your team and has been for years but that doesn’t mean you have to put them winning the championship. You have to look at the path they would have to take to get to the Big Dance. If it looks like a really long, unhill battle against a lot of bigger teams, maybe you should pick them for only the first two rounds. There is always next year!

Like in my case, Kansas has been my team for about 12 years. Luckily for me, they are usually ranked pretty high in the tourney, but unlucky for me they have a history of not doing so well in the rounds. I sometimes have to go against my heart—which always wants to put KU as the winner—and only bring them to the Final Four!

and finally…

5. Do Watch the games

Only half the fun is in filling out the brackets, the other half is watching your teams, the ones you so carefully picked, win and advance through the tourney!

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You have successfully graduated from the Stiletto Sports School of Bracketology! Let the Madness celebration begin!

About the author: Jennifer Taglione is the owner of this fabulous website Stiletto Sports. Despite writing well over 500 posts, she still maintains that she is not a sports writer! She is however a huge fan of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Sanchez, the Celtics, and totally kicks butt on March Madness brackets! Connect with her by following her on Twitter @StilettoSportsJ and subscribing to her weekly newsletter. For more info check out the About the Editor page!

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