Who does not like easy money? If you actually thought of raising your hand kick yourself in the backside; it was only a rhetorical question.
We all like easy money, almost as much as we like proving that our knowledge of sports is superior to our friends. Every March guys and gals across the land get the chance to do both as they fill out their NCAA March Madness Brackets.
I am sure that there are many people who could actually start with the first game and work their way down as they progress to the Final Four. Personally I think those guys are nuts. Who on earth has time to actually watch enough games to know enough to do that? For that matter, who has the time to watch enough Sports Center to do that?
If you have a life outside of college basketball you could use a little boost to get a leg up on the competition. No problem! Read on and you will receive said boost.
Rule #1: The Inside Out Rule- to knock out a whole bunch of games real quick think about who you think will be in the Final Four. Write their names in the appropriate spot and then fill out the bracket in reverse. This will knock out a lot of games and keep you from having to make some tough decisions (guess) later on.
Rule #2: Befriend a Geek- there is something to be said for crunching the numbers and using statistics; if only the crunching process did not require so many sober brain cells! Pay attention to the stats and the decision is not nearly as hard: #1 and #2 seeds made the Final Four 63% of the time over the last 17 years; only four teams ranked lower than #6 made it.
Rule #3: Believe in the Geek- don’t think the #1s are good enough to make it to the Big Dance? Well you should at least consider taking them to the Elite Eight; nearly 75% of the time they get there. As for #8 and #9- they rarely get there (7% of the time).
Rule #4: The Upset Rule- upsets happen. Fail to pick one and you will likely regret it; pick the wrong one and you are screwed. To find an upset team, look for one that is coming off a loss, preferably an upset in the early rounds of their conference tournament. That way you are likely to find a really strong team in a low seed (thanks to one bad night). Your chances are better than half in this situation; teams seeded ninth or lower (coming off of a loss) and playing a higher seeded team coming off of a win are 55% more likely to win in the first round.
Rule #5: Upset Rule Part Deux- for some reason the #5/ #12 match-up has been where most people expect to see an upset. There is actually good reason for that. If your #12 seed has 6 or fewer losses on the season they have a 45% chance of winning. If they are coming off a loss they have a 43% chance. If a #12 seed happens to satisfy both pick them; the three times that has happened, the #12 seed won.
If you follow these rules and win, congratulations (and send me at least 10% of your winnings). Before the quick-witted folks ask this question in the comments section- if you lose, no, I will not be helping you pay anything.