March 17, 2009

How to Pick Your Brackets

If you go to or Sportsline, they all have bracket previews divided up by region.  These may give you things to talk about at the watercooler or make you sound smarter watching the games with your friends (thanks to Andy Katz, I now know that Cleveland State's Gary Waters is an emotional coach), but do they really help you fill out your brackets?

The sites that do have bracket advice seem to all be geared towards newbies.  Giving advice like "Pick all the #1 and #2 seeds in the first round" doesn't help people who can name all the #2 seeds that have lost since the field expanded to 64.  As for expert advice, I don't really want to make picks based on what other people say.  It isn't quite as satisfying to pick an upset if you just copied it from someone else.  I was thrilled to have Davidson over Georgetown last year because I had seen firsthand how good Stephen Curry was against Maryland a few years earlier.

Each year I plan to watch a lot of college basketball during the regular season so I'll be more knowledgeable when making my picks, but inevitably I end up only watching Maryland games.  So come tournament time, I turn to two resources that help me make my picks.  

The first is Jeff Sagarin's ratings that are a little more informative than RPI.  It helps just to get an idea of where a team slots in to the overall picture.  

The second is  I don't care about their rankings, but the site has a very easy way to see the full-season results for every team.  The best way to make picks is to look at who each team has played and what the results are.  Then you can make your own rules and decisions about each game.  For me, I love picking against teams that suck on the road.  collegeRPI makes it obious when a team can't win away from home.  

However you choose to pick the games, it's important to look at the full season results to see trends, blowouts, and overall schedule quality.

For the record, my Final Four is Louisville, Memphis, Villanova, and UNC.

1 Responses:

Lee said...

Nova? Wow. If that comes true I think it might win you some money...

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