3.10.2009

March Madness Basketball Pools


It's time for my yearly donation.

My recent tax return will fund the multiple 10 dollar NCAA basketball pools that I'll soon be entering.

You'd think that after losing consistently over the years, that I'd stop joining the pools. Unfortunately, the golden goose taunts me. In fact, I actually won a pool one year. (kind of) My wife worked at a hospital which had a fairly sizable March Madness pool. I gave her the sheet I filled out, and somehow it never got entered. As it turns out, I would have won the pool, and the hundreds of dollars that go along with the sweet taste of victory. It is this single experience that keeps me entering every year.

I'll read the prospectus of every team, read expert's opinions, and craft multiple brackets. I look back on all the statistics, and always play the numbers. Don't ever bet on a 13-16 seed. Always pick one 12 seed to advance. Choose about 2-3 10-11 seeds to advance, and the 8-9 games are pick'em. I usually don't have all #1 seeds in the final four, and try to pick out a dark-horse to advance to the sweet sixteen.

This sounds like the perfect strategy, and one that should propel me to victory....unfortunately, I always pick the wrong teams. The above scenarios always occur, but just not with the teams I choose.

Plus you throw in the "home team" factor. What happens if your favorite college is in the tournament? Do you pick against them because you have money involved, or do you stick to your fan guns?

Another guideline to follow, is to never join in on one bracket sheet with other people. When they ask you what upset pick you want, you'll say you like Weber State as the 13 seed, and they'll bow out quietly in the first round. You'll never live that 2 dollars down for the rest of your life. With every mention of Weber State or March Madness, you'll be reminded of how you squandered their 2 dollars. A lengthy prison sentence is not worth joining in on a bracket with others. Do it yourself.

Inevitably, someone's wife will win the pool, and you'll find out that she thought that MSU was Montana State, or that Indiana has that "angry coach."

But there is an unbelievable positive with these pools. March Madness is exciting enough, but when you add money, you now have a vested interest in every single game that is played. You'll be watching the scores at work, and highlighting victories on your sheet. For the first two weekends, even the casual basketball fan should be drawn in to the smaller teams playing well, and Cinderella stories.

So do yourself a favor, and spend what will be the best 10 bucks of the year. Even if you don't win, you'll easily get your 10 bucks of enjoyment as you wait breathlessly on the outcome of each game.


March Madness pools get a slam-dunk 4 star rating.

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