Today, many of you will sit down to try and figure out what team in the field of 68 will win the NCAA Basketball Championship for your office pool.

You could spend the day analyzing the teams online and come up with an educated guess. Or you could wing it using one of my alternate methods.

What have you got to lose? Five bucks?

The chances of completing a bracket and not losing a game on it are one in 9.2 quadrillion. Yup, that's a real number.

It's so rare that Berkshire Hathaway billionaire Warren Buffet once offered a billion dollars if anyone in his company could come up with an unscathed bracket sheet. It never happened.

I know guys who have been analyzing data on college hoops teams for weeks, hoping to gain knowledge that will lead to their winning the office pool. They won't win.

Seriously, they won't. The Office Pool is one of those times where the more you know about college basketball, the more you'll screw it up. Because college basketball is illogical. It depends more on sleep schedules and human emotions than it does three point shots and who gets more points in the paint. These are 19 year old kids, not robots.

So, it's best to throw caution to the wind, and use one of these alternate methods to fill out your Office Pool bracket:

1. The Blue Method -- It's very simple, pick whatever team is wearing blue to advance. This sounds crazy doesn't it? But picking winners based on whether they wear blue as their main jersey color or not is a pretty sound philosophy. 12 of the last 15 champions in the NCAA men's tournament have worn blue as their main color (or blue trim when they wear their white jerseys). Stuck in a bracket where two teams wearing blue are playing each other? No problem, which team is more pure blue? If a team is wearing blue and red, for instance, go with the team that wears just blue. If one team wears a darker blue, pick them over the lighter blue team. Google Image search is your best friend for this strategy.

Here's last year's winning shot in the championship. Notice anything. The dark blue is beating the light blue.

Ronald Martinez
Ronald Martinez

2. The Senior Method -- Again, very simple. Which teams starts more seniors? Pick them. This may even help you pick an upset or tow in the early rounds. Why do you think Duke has won so many titles? Senior leadership. Seniors have more experience, get less rattled under pressure and have a calming influence on younger players. Michigan just went from the 8th seed to the Big Ten title. They have a lot of seniors. Conincidence? I think not.

3. The Travel Method -- Pick the team playing closest to home. While this theory doesn't work so much with the big programs like Kentucky and Kansas, who take thier kids all over the world to play, it does work with the Mid-Major teams, who rarely travel cross country. If a smaller school is playing a bigger school closer to the smaller school's location, they may have a shot at an upset.

4. The Chip On The Shoulder Method (or the incident method) -- If you are undecided in any given bracket, consider this, does either of the teams have something to prove? A case in point was last year's stunning upset of Michigan State, then a two seed, by 15th seeded Middle Tennessee. The MTSU Blue Raiders felt slighted by such a low seed, that they had a chip on their shoulder and channeled that energy into winnign the game to prove thier point. This is why you see coaches bitching about seeding or where their team is scheduled to play. they're trying to get their team pissed off about some perceived slight to motivate them. Also -- look for teams that have recently survived an incident, like Michigan's plane skidding off the runaway or a team dedicating a game to a teammate's family who suffered an illness or loss. College basketball teams are small groups of people who are very tight and will rise up if given a reason.

Here's Michigan celebrating winning the BIg Ten Sunday. Why? Because they survived a crash that reminded them that basketball is meaningless when faced with death. BAM! The stress went away and they won. Did you notice they're wearing blue?

Rob Carr
Rob Carr





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