By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
You may have a co-worker who comes in to the office on Mondays during the fall lamenting having started this guy or benching that one on his boring fantasy football team.
Or you might actually be that annoying colleague.
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If you are that person, chances are good you're the same type of douchebag who likes to pick upsets galore in his office pool, knowing that for every 10 "this is the year a 16 beats a 1" picks, there's one Siena or George Mason that you might get right. And subsequently boast to those co-workers with logic you stole from Joe Lunardi's latest column.
So instead of trying too hard to look like the smart guy, why not just focus on winning the cash in your office pool?
If that's something you think you might be interested in, then just follow these five tips below:
1.) Don't pick many first-weekend upsets. Upsets are called upsets because they are surprises that are difficult to predict. Not many people picked Davidson in 2008 because they either hadn't heard of Davidson, hadn't heard of Stephen Curry or had no idea he was going to play lights out. When you pick some upsets, you'll get most of them wrong, and then the upsets you don't pick will actually hit, so it's a double-whammy, all for the sake of a few early round points that you don't necessarily need. The real value is earned in the later rounds.
2.) Don't pick the heavy favorite to win it all. This advice would have ruined you last year because everyone knew North Carolina was by far the best team, but this year might be a good year for you to try it. Everyone is understandably jocking Kansas right now, but are the Jayhawks as good this year as North Carolina was last year? No. If you're heading into Final Four weekend as a contender and everyone around you has Kansas, but you have Kentucky, guess who takes home the pile of cash and the loose women if the Wildcats win, which is hardly a ridiculous notion?
3.) Approach your bracket the way coaches prepare their teams for the tournament. Don't look at the empty white sheet and assume you have to have a bunch of bluebloods in the Elite Eight and Final Four. Break your forecasting down into two-game tournaments and think about the matchups within the matchups. Who wins the subregional? Who wins the regional? Who advances in the Final Four?
4.) Pick some upsets. I know this mostly runs contrary to the first point above, but you don't need to load up on one- and two-point wins on the first weekend. If you want to stay in the hunt for the loot, pick a couple of 3 and 4 seeds to beat 2 and 1 seeds on that second weekend.
5.) If you disagree with me so far, then I only have one tip left for you: Have the secretary who doesn't know anything about college basketball fill out your bracket. A gal I met recently told me one of her girlfriends won $10,000 -- yes, $10,000 -- in her office pool last year despite knowing nothing about the sport.
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