Just a reminder you have until Noon Est Thursday to join the Ladies…Bracket Brawl. Don’t worry if you’ve never picked a bracket before or haven’t watched a college basketball game this season — sometimes the best brackets are filled out by people who don’t spend too much time analyzing their picks.
But, if you need some help, here are some helpful strategies for picking your bracket (interspersed, for your enjoyment, with some cute college players):
The Seeds Strategy:
All the teams in the tournament are seeded in 1-16 in 4 regionals. Seeds are generally considered an indicator of how good one team is relative to another (1′s are the best, 16′s are the weakest). While it’s extremely rare to see a bracket proceed completely in seed order, in the last several years most of the final four teams have been 1 or 2 seeds, so a straight seed bracket has a good chance to do well. If you want to throw in an upset or two, keep in mind that 8-9, 7-10, and 6-11 matchups in the first round are often where they will happen — and that a 16 seed has never defeated a 1 seed in the history of the tournament.
The Location, Location, Location Strategy
This one played a big part in my bracket this year, thanks to the fact that the location of each game was finally easily accessible in ESPN.com’s bracket picker (just click on the little blue arrow next to each matchup). The location strategy basically operates on the theory that if a game is taking place in an area very close to one of the colleges’ home base, that team will have a larger fanbase at the game and thus, an advantage. It has to be used with some caution (remember what I said about the 1-16 games above) but when I was considering Texas A&M to be possibly upset in the first two rounds and then discovered they were playing those rounds in Texas, I quickly changed my mind.
The Random Variable Strategy
This can be a fun one to employ when you aren’t that familiar with the teams and want to make bracket picking as entertaining as possible. Basically, pick one common aspect of the teams that isn’t really a predictor of their quality — their colors, their mascots, their logos, etc. — and use that to determine who wins each match up. I happen to know Lady Bee used this in determining who would win the Cal – Louisville game — because she found Louisville’s angry cardinal logo cooler than Cal’s “Cal” script.
So come on, take a few minutes and fill out a bracket. Even if you aren’t going to be secretly following the scores all day at work like, um, some of us Ladies who shall remain nameless, you might be surprised how much fun having a stake in the games’ outcome can be. Happy Tourney Eve!