First of all, I’m inordinately happy that I have an office to go to in the first place. I suppose one could crash the occasional office pool but it seems rude and just a little weird.
It was one of the best NCAA title games ever played. Butler is for real. Duke is an efficient team, equal parts brute force and smooth jumpers but the Bull Dogs hung in there with them every second of the game nearly nailing a desperation mid-court shot that truly would have been the greatest finish in the history of the sport.
♦ Take emotion out of the picks- everybody has their favorites, but sentimentality gets you nowhere. Because I work and live in DC, there are plenty of discarded bracket sheets that had lots of Georgetown’s and Maryland’s going far into the tourney.
♦ The early rounds do matter. You won’t win without taking some big games in the Elite-8 and Final Four rounds- but you have to have an edge in some of those early games. The formula I used pointed to six 1st round upsets and four of them came through. It also got me another upset in the 2nd round. In the end, that was precisely the margin that separated me from the runner-up.
♦ Find a winning formula! There were many out there to choose from in cyber-world; great sites created by true basketball and statistics geeks who know their stuff. I went with a system that was heavy on strength-of-schedule. There are so many match-ups in the tournament that would never happen in the regular season, that it seems factoring in the caliber of a team’s opponents is a pretty necessary ingredient.
♦ There are going to be upsets, but ultimately, it’s an established team in an established conference that’s going to go far or all the way. Most people thought Kansas was that team. I happened to think Duke was. I had the good fortune of watching them play in the ACC tournament and they had a real clutch quality about them.
♦ There’s still room for mysticism. One of the intriguing stats that I fell in love with was Duke’s national titles as a #1 seed. They won under such circumstances in 1992 and 2001. Now it’s nine years later again- and they did it. Note: watch out for Duke in 2019!
If you’ll forgive me, the pool’s commissioner is strangely silent this morning. Unless she has fled to Mexico, we have some business to conduct.
Hello, Mr. Lobster. Hello, Mr. Porterhouse….