NCAA Tournament 2014: 10 Reasons You’ll Lose Your Office Pool
March Madness: 10 Reasons You'll Lose Your Office Pool
The walls of madness are closing in around us. Even the most casual observers are licking their chops, waiting to get their hands on the annual NCAA basketball tournament company bracket.
Some are already beginning their trash talk, especially last year's winner. The one who has become so annoying you start having thoughts of reenacting the photocopier scene from Office Space.
The road to the Final Four is a truly unique event. One that rivals a Game 7 of the World Series and even holding its own when being compared to the mighty NFL playoffs. It's a place where anything can happen, and usually does.
Iconic images of the Michigan Wolverines Fab Five , the UNLV Runnin' Rebels of Larry Johnson and Jerry Tarkanian past and Steve Nash's 15th seeded Santa Clara Broncos upsetting the heavily favored No. 2 seed Arizona Wildcats are just a few that are burned into our memory. Along with the annual 50/50 love 'em or hate 'em split on the Duke Blue Devils.
With the landscape of college basketball ever-evolving, the way you make your bracket selections has to follow suit; parity around the NCAA has never been more prevalent than in recent years leading up to 2014. Sitting down and going through the match-ups can prove to be a daunting task. Especially if you fall into the trap of making unnecessary mistakes.
Here are 10 reasons you will find yourself opening up your wallet, forking over your cash when it's all said and done. However, if you flip it around and use this list as a guideline to success, let's just say you won't be the one having to come in on Saturday followed by a case of the Monday's.
As you agonize over your bracket, one can easily become frustrated, irritable and fall into the category of overthinking. Making you second guess your every move. This is where the sports cliche of "taking it one game at a time" can actually hold water. This is an office pool, you're not typing up your resume or gunning for a promotion. No cheating or cutting-corners is required here.
Conference records and strength-of-schedule hold plenty of weight, but when you start letting how the Big 10 has performed on the road against ACC opponents when the over/under was set at 135 or higher affect your mindset, you are asking for trouble.
9. Home Team Bias
Don't get me wrong, one of the reasons March becomes Madness is because you get to display your home-team bias--supporting your team is half the fun. Every single one of us is guilty of advancing the one we cheer for over a superior opponent at one time or another.
However, there has to be a line drawn. You must find a way to break free of the home-squad handcuffs. They are weighing you down. It's a win-win situation if your rooting interest advances even though you did not select them. At least you were thinking with your head and not your heart. Don't pull the annual fantasy owner mishap of drafting your favorite player three rounds too early.
8. Your Know-It-All Buddy
We all have them, either they are a co-worker, a regular at your Friday night poker game, your best friend from college or your sister's cousin's roommate. Outside influence can be the difference between a new iPhone 5s or handing over your paycheck.
Entertain your know-it-all friends and soak in as much information from the masses as you can, but when it comes down to it, it should be you and your bracket in the office lunchroom, alone. If your buddy is in the same pool as you are, all bets are off, make sure it goes in one ear and out the other. I'm sure that won't be a rare occurrence anyway.
7. You Have Completed Too Many Brackets
Playing the role of fantasy GM creeps up on you at every turn. The equivalent of being in one-too-many leagues is that of submitting an overload of brackets. Ever find yourself torn because Peyton Manning gave you five touchdowns only to have your excitement level tarnished because your opponent in your other league owns Wes Welker?
This leaves you stuck at the mercy of trying to hedge your bets. Tinkering with your selections so one Bracket won't hurt the other can blow up in your face in legendary fashion. Making it a rather pointless exercise. Try and keep the number to a minimum.
6. Going Upset Crazy
Any respectable office pool, home game or high-stakes contest rewards more points for picking the underdog. In fact, if you have any chance at bragging rights or breaking the bank, this is an absolute must. Only problem is, the potential to get too cute with your higher seed selections can cost you the entire tourney.
Take one or two flying under-the-radar teams and ride with it. There is a definite fine line between going chalk and running with your super-sleeper dark horses. The money is in the common ground.
5. You Live In The Past
Living in the past is a slippery slope; it can turn your tournament hopes into a short-lived scenario. Much like the above former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon's NBA career. This is taking your inner-homer to the next level as many team's former glory are used as a bracket-aid and fallback plan. This is not 1995, nor is it 2013, every Final Four should be treated as its own island. Just because North Carolina has a rich history, doesn't make the Tar Heels a lock by any means.
4. The Mid-Major Wildcard
No longer do we see the dominating powerhouse. The rise of the mid-major programs have set the NCAA world on fire in recent years. Throwing a wrench into an already existing head-scratcher of a process. The likes of the Toledo Rockets and Green Bay University are not to be taken lightly. The days of a 13th seed defeating a four being perceived as a shocking upset are officially gone.
Bottom Line: Your research-level requirement has never been this high.
3. Neglecting The Coaches
If you don't lend some of your focus to the team's bench, you're doing yourself a massive disservice. The NCAA is as matchup-based as any sport today, and in-game decisions are crucial in any team advancing to the next round.
This is not the NBA, it's still a game with a teaching mentality attached to it. The entire theory of college coaches not being able to hack-it on the pro-circuit should be abolished. It's a different job altogether. Investigating how a program got to the level it stands should be the primary. As well as a secret weapon for your selections.
2. You Have A Moderation Problem
Excessive gambling on the NCAA is bad for business when inputting your tournament winners. One's judgement gets skewed as teams that have paid off during the season become a safety valve. Treating this like the NFL playoffs would be a wise choice. One-and-done means exactly that -- keep the two on different playing fields.
1. Lady Luck
There is no drum roll needed for this No. 1 ranking. Lady Luck is out there and she means business. I urge everyone to take part in an experiment I have been running for the last five years. Alongside your selections, keep a second set for referencing purposes. Flip a coin to determine the winner of every game and see if your findings come out similar to mine. In five years, the pool's penny has recorded one top-five finish and two top 10s. Penny stocks could be a smart investment.
Lady Luck or LL as I like to call her, will be watching like a hawk come March.