Monday, March 12, 2007

Breaking Down the Brackets

June 19, 2008 Note: This is a post that originally appeared on Golden's Football Rankings and is reproduced here for posterity.

By now most of you have seen the brackets and have probably turned in a few entries in the office pool. For those of you who haven’t, I offer a few alternatives to the traditional bracket style pool:

Points by Seeds
Each player selects eight teams. You get points when one of your teams wins, based on their seed. One x seed in the first round, Two x seed in the second round, Four x seed in the third round, etc. The key is to pick the right upsets, the teams that are under seeded. Anyone who picked George Mason in this setup last year was golden.

Random Draw
This one is popular in our office when it comes down to the sweet sixteen. Eight players all put in ten dollars and draw two teams out of a hat. The one who gets the winning team wins the pot. Pure gambling. No skill, no analysis required, just simple, plain, dumb luck.

Last Man Standing
A little bit of a twist on the popular NFL game. Each participant has to pick one team to win each round. The trick is, they have to pick an upset (by the seeds) each time. If they pick correctly, they go on to the next round. No limitations on picking the same team twice, as teams rarely upset more than two teams in the tournament. This one takes a large number of participants, as its really easy for a lot of people to miss on their picks at the same time.

Fantasy Draft
For hoops junkies only. Requires 8, 16 or 32 players. Depending on the number of entries, each participant is put into a match for the first two rounds against another participant. Everyone “drafts” four players from the NCAA teams. The winner after the first round of games is the one whose players have the most points. After the first round they advance to another match. At the sweet sixteen, the remaining players re-draft. Can be really fun, but really time-consuming.

Based on the Golden basketball rankings, the most deserving teams left out of the dance were Air Force (ranked #35), Syracuse (38), Drexel (40), Akron (41), Clemson (43) and Missouri State (45). The teams that took their places included: Purdue (51), Georgia Tech (52), Arkansas (53), Vanderbilt (56), Texas Tech (64), and Stanford (74). Despite the rankings, the most glaring omission in my mind was Drexel, who had as many road wins as Big Ten teams #3-#8.

Under seeded teams
Teams that appeared to be seeded too low in comparison to their rankings in the Golden poll – Virginia Commonwealth (11 seed, ranked 16), Davidson (13 seed, 21), Arizona (8 seed, 18), Nevada (7 seed, 15), Kentucky (8 seed, 17).
Conversely, teams that appear to be over seeded: Virginia Tech (5 seed, 46), Texas (4 seed, 28), Virginia (4 seed, 36), and USC ( 5 seed, 39).

Final Four Candidates:
Midwest: Florida, Oregon (The Badgers only if Brian Butch gets healthy)
West: UCLA, Kansas, Virginia Tech, SIU, Gonzaga (their history as a double digit seed is impressive)
South: Ohio State, Texas A&M (don’t know what to make of Memphis, wish they’d joined the Big East instead of Cinncy)
East: UNC, Marquette, Texas, G’town, Wash St (easily the toughest region)

My picks right now(ask me again before Thursday, its bound to change): Florida, UCLA, Texas A&M, G’Town.