Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Brackets Are Nearing Completion! $1 Billion Clams is on the Line!

Here it is!  One of these two brackets will win $1Billion!!!    

So, Mr. MMPG:  You’re telling me there’s a chance?”

(Not Really! – ed.)
Research Summary
I know many of you probably sleep at night or don’t like to surf the internet looking for obscure facts and figures regarding the NCAA Tourney.  I’m going to give you some bullets (with links, where available) points that you should really take into consideration when selecting your picks:

-Most Probable - Potential Cinderella Teams – (What jumps out at me here?  SDSU is potential upset bait in the 1st and 2nd rounds…):

First Round Cinderellas

§  #11 Dayton – over ohio
§  #12 Harvard – over Cincinnati
§  #13 New Mexico State  - over SDSU!!!
§  #8 Memphis – over Virginia!
§  #10 Stanford, St. Joseph’s – Over Kansas & Villanova!
§  #11 Iowa – over Duke!
§  #12 Harvard, North Dakota State, NC State – Sparty, SDSU, Louisville!

-  This season, based on RPI rating by seed (lower RPI’s in the higher seeded positions (ie – Sparty, Louisville), is trending as a season that SHOULD PRODUCE 10-11 upsets by SEED (or more!) vs. an average of 7-8 upsets in a regular season.  This means that if you love picking the upset, it’s your season!

Lots of other stuff that is in my brain and I’m just ready to give birth to a bracket or two already!
Elite 8 and F4 Summaries

South: The Gators are the defacto no-brainer out of this region and if you’re in a pool that doubles for every round, I’ve learned that it just doesn’t pay to take an early upset of a 1 seed that is a favorite.  Yes, the UCLA thing might happen (With Steve Alford being one of the worst tourney coaches around, I’m thinking no), but you’re giving up so much value in the 8 point, 16 point and finally the 32 point round that it’s not worth it.  So, stick with the higher seeds (1-4) and don’t sweat missing the 8 - 9 seed that made it into the F4….If someone has that, well, they’ve probably got a lot of other problems with their bracket.
The other seed from that region boiled down to the fact that Kansas probably isn’t going to get out of the 1st weekend and I just don’t like Syracuse.  Hating the ‘Cuse has served me well in exiting them early and usually getting it pretty close to right.  I hate taking them further in my bracket than they actually go and New Mexico rides the upset train out of the Sweet 16. 
EAST:  Still pissed Angry.  Here’s why:  When looking at the relative strength of the RPI’s against the Midwest that has the Best RPI (Lowest) and looking at everyone else’s percentage to the Midwest, here’s what you get:

Meaning the East is 16.6% EASIER than the Midwest….Sheesh.  Anyway, In the B1G Special Bracket, I have Sparty facing Iowa State with Sparty going to the F4 and defeating Florida.  In the Money Sheet, I have made what I think is the “Differentiator” decision and taken Iowa State over Sparty.  With EVERYONE jumping on the Sparty Bandwagon (There’s very little room left on it, by the way), I really don’t want to be part of that crowd when things go bad….   I think this is the right spot to try to earn some points by ignoring the en-vogue favorite and going with a bit of a sleeper…Not that ISU is a sleeper, but they aren’t Sparty and they won the toughest conference tourney (big 12) and have proven they can play exterior and interior defense and offense.  Plus, big players don’t bother them.  In this way, I would jump probably half the field with an 8 point pick and also have a decided advantage over the field that is taking Sparty…Contrarian thinking game theory at work here. 
In one of the two 6-11 pick where I took the chalk I am riding the Tar Heels out of round 1 and they lose a Squeeker of a game to Iowa State…Roy Williams is hard to go against here…but can they get to the Sweet 16?  I’ve changed my mind on the Harvard Cincinnati pick…I wanted to go with Amaker, but Cincinnati looks just too good on paper.  But when I did that and looked at the Sparty – Cinci match-up…Hmmmm…..It’s possible.  Not Probable, but possible.
WEST:  In the B1G sheet, I’m putting it all on Wiscy to do what it probably won’t do;  hence, “The B1G Sheet  (You figure it out!).  However, I do think they have a shot to win the whole thing if they can manage to get to the F4 past Oregon, Creighton and ‘Zona (LOL).  In the Money Sheet, I have ‘Zona over Creighton (after Creighton wins the battle for the State of Nebraska) and I’m still not entirely sure on that pick.  And it’s NOT the way you think:  I was actually thinking of taking Creighton to the F4, but I think ‘Zona will be too much….Please note that I am RIDING THE BISON to the Sweet 16!  Oklahoma is Oklahoma and SDSU is lousy from the 3Pt line and they have had difficulty getting out of the 1st weekend.  The Bison are the only team that have this type of 1st-2nd round set-up with really weak offensive and defensive teams.  PLEASE NOTE:  This is the one pick that I will scrutinize and agonize over tonight before actually sending my sheets.  Right now, I’m sticking with the Bison.  But I may change….It’s a year of really weak 12 seeds and I’m just not feeling that upset.  Long live the 11 seed!
MIDWEST:  Again, it’s all about thinking how the REST OF THE WORLD is going to pick their elite 8 in this one and looking for some value.  I’m in a really big pool where there’s very little edge to be gained by picking dook into the Elite 8.  I will hang with the crowd (in the Money Bracket), but I want to win the pool!  Therefore, make the statement and take the chalk to the Elite 8 against Louisville – The Cards absolutely SUCK from the Charity Stripe (They are WAY worse in FT% than last season)…I’ve made more correct decisions on which way to pick teams based on that statistic alone.  And take the upset special of Iowa over dook, assuming Iowa wins tonight.  If Tennessee makes it, all bets are off and I will go back to dook.  Now, I will say that I thought long and hard about where the Shockers may stumble…Long and hard.  I think the world will probably take the KU upset which is why, again, it pays to keep potential high seeds alive unless you’re absolutely sure they are going to go down or not make the Sweet 16.  However, taking Louisville in the initial upset protects me a little and hedges my picks on the top side…everyone will be taking Louisville or Kentucky and very few if anyone will have Witchy State, making NOT taking the 1 seed negligible – or you could reverse the entire thinking and ride Witchy to the Final 4.  And here’s another hedge:  Again, taking Michigan in both brackets makes sense from that perspective as well as most of the pickers will have had them losing in this round or the previous round.  In fact, more than a few of the bracket models (the better ones) have Michigan losing to dook and dook losing to Louisville.  HOWEVER!  Another model that weights COACHING more than some of the other attributes shows that Beilien is one of the most over-achieving coaches in the NCAA!  So, what do you want to do here?  Stay with the bandwagon and talking heads that have never picked a 100% correct bracket either or apply some history and logic?  To each his own here.
Midwest Footnote:  Mitch McGary has been running on the hardwood and has stayed in shape cycling and doing some other stuff…wouldn’t that be a shot of adrenaline to a MICHIGAN team that literally has all the other parts in place?  Look out if that happens! 
Final Four
B1G Sheet:  Michigan, Wiscy, Sparty, Florida.  Michigan takes it all with a win over arch-rival Sparty….(I know…dreaming!)  I’m not 100% convinced that Michigan can pull off the Wiscy rubber match should it occur. 
Money Bracket:  Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Iowa State
This one has a little more going on and in two of the odds futures sites I look at had Florida and ‘Zona playing for all the marbles.  Again, if this bracket is still “Live” come the Final 4, most people who have Florida will probably have them winning it all, and it makes sense to go the other way in case you need the points.  But often times I’m sitting there wishing I had just taken the favorite…
You never know!!!

And if you’re STILL having trouble with your brackets, this is always fun!  The WSJ has a blind pick ‘em website that lets you look at several metrics but doesn’t reveal the team’s identities until all the picks are in.  Surprisingly, on my first time through I picked about the same as with my eyes wide open…with the exception of Witchy State.  I may have to go back and re-think that !


I will probably e-mail all my picks tomorrow and these brackets are subject to change on a whim or last minute nugget of information I pick up somewhere.  But I believe the Elite 8’s and Final 4’s are set at this point.
And, as always….Choose Wisely!

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