So you think there’s a science and an art to picking your NCAA teams for the big tournament? Witty Little Secret will now completely demystify the annual formula. Here’s how to pick your NCAA bracket like a girl.
By this afternoon, most American employees will succumb to March Madness, a disease that seems to temporarily cure such workplace maladies as deadlines, micromanagers, paperwork, and timecards. The first time I found myself in a male-dominated working environ, I was astounded at the time suck that this annual event drew in. I had no choice but to join them in this odd bonding ritual. The option was to be labeled a non sport-watching girl. I was horrified, since I never EVER watched college basketball.
When I first embarked on my mission for college basketball awareness in 2001, I had a clean 24 hours to come up with my brackets. This was a distressing process for me because I could not research, read, interview, dissect, discuss and digest the plethora of websites and sports shows related to the topic. And lawyers must do this before they make a decision they are going to put in writing. Not only that, extra study and consultation is required when their own money is riding on the outcome.
But there was not time for such tomfoolery. I had to wing it. Lawyer Guideline #2: when the interminable list of duties fails due to procrastination and surprise, “fake it till you make it.” So I went with the complicated decision matrix I’m going to reveal here. This has been a secret of mine for ten years now, and it’s time I revealed my true genius. And it’s all for free.
Early Round Picks – Play the Odds
In the Early Rounds, look down the outermost sides of your bracket and just pick all of the obvious higher-ranking seeds. This means all of the 1,2,3, and 4 seeds move on and all of the 15, 14, 13, and 12 seeds lose. This rules out nearly half of your decisions and makes you look somewhat smart. Now, for the remainder of the teams for the first couple of rounds just pick by Vegas odds.
By the way, I highly recommend reading up on how Vegas odds actually work. Ahh, memories. Good thing there were some Cinderella teams that year. I read them all exactly backwards and I still placed in the top half of the competition that round.
Sweet Sixteen – Team Leaders
When you get down to the Regional Semifinals, the picks start getting harder. This is where some serious skill is needed. You will need to make the tough calls by chosing the best team leaders. That’s right. I’m talking about the mascots. I mean they do call it the “Sweet Sixteen” afterall. And that’s just sweet. Who can argue with fur, clothed animals, and people who live for making themselves anonymously ridiculous? I know it’s hard to compare a Jayhawk to a Wolverine, and it does seem somewhat subjective, but look at it this way: there’s really no shame in any of your choices. They are all equally pretty. So pick confidently!
Elite Eight – Off The Rack
Isn’t it obvious? This is the elite round, people. Pick the team with the most stylish uniforms. This methodology really threw me off in the years when they started bringing back the retro-duds and the new tighter designs. I just had such a hard time voting for basketball players in trim-fitting v-neck vests.
Final Four – Suck it Up
Look, if you thought the Elite Eight was hard, let me tell you, this round is even harder to pick. If you haven’t watched a game all season, you’d better have plenty sports fans in your life that want to impress you with their NCAA prowess. Go ask for advice and get some good information based on the bracket you’ve filled out so far. Don’t worry about how hard they laugh when they see that you still have Villanova in the running for the playoffs. All it means is that you now know who to eliminate. Be sure to make some comment about how your cousin goes to school there and he “made” you pick them. Also, be sure to actually pick the team your boss recommends when he’s the one scoring the brackets. (Another lesson I learned the hard way. Learn from my mistakes, people.)
National Championship Game – Go With the Legacy
Alright, this one is the biggest no-brainer of all. You absolutely positively must pick you or your family’s alma-matter team if they have made it this far. If you don’t have a family legacy like me (Rock Chalk!) then you must pick the school attended by a family member who is a fervent basketball fan. If you have more than one choice, pick your richest relative. In the unfortunate event that you don’t have any rich old uncles, don’t worry. No matter how poor your relations are, you and your family member(s) can always get behind the old alma-matter and sing songs and jump around like the cheerleader you always wanted to be.
With all that in mind, fill out your brackets and get your money in the pool. You only have a few hours left and you know there’s far too much traffic on the work computers for your boss to actually track your internet usage. Plus, he’s probably on ESPN reading up on best picks as we speak. Good luck, everyone!
Lori loves March Madness and is a ten-year NCAA bracket participant, which would qualify her as an expert witness if ever that need arose. She has had the privilege of placing in the top five and (theoretically) winning money in several bracket competitions using this foolproof method, which turns out to be just as predictive and successful as the complicated schemes of her actual basketball-watching colleagues and clients.