Two years ago, an Appen Media employee picked the winners in her bracket not based on win probability, head-to-head statistics, offensive prowess versus lackluster defense or anything else we really expect to decide the winner of a game. No, she picked the winners based on how much she liked their mascot. And if you’ve ever joined a March Madness pool I’m sure you know the outcome. She won in a pool of over a dozen people.
Meanwhile that year, I had spent upwards of a hundred hours watching games throughout the season, and once the brackets were released, I spent dozens of hours researching every team, matchups, statistics, Las Vegas odds and every other bit of information I could get my hands on in order to make an informed decision.
So while this apathetic (not that I’m bitter) “fan” was celebrating her win, I was avoiding our office at all costs. When you’re the only sports writer, and should supposedly have the upper hand in sports-related matters, you catch a lot of grief when you only have one team in the Elite 8.
So this year I have decided to do something I have never done while filling out my bracket — just go with my gut.
And considering picking the winners of each game is like betting on black or red in roulette — unless it’s the third round, you didn’t pick either team to make it that far, and its suddenly like the roulette ball is lost — you have a 50 percent chance of winning each game. So going with your gut is probably the way to go.
Going with my gut also provides me, the man with much added pressure of being the only sports writer, with a good excuse if my bracket is busted after the first round. And let’s be honest, if history is any indication, my bracket will definitely be busted after the first round.
But as I write this, an hour before tip-off of the first game, I must say I just enjoyed a nice boost of confidence. One of my fellow reporters didn’t even know how to fill out the bracket, what the “numbers by the team mean” and how teams were picked. That reporter has chosen Gonzaga to win the national championship.
Again, if history is to repeat itself, the person with the least amount of knowledge of the tournament, the person just going with their gut, will likely win the office pool. My fellow reporter’s choice of Gonzaga to take the championship gives me a great confidence boost because maybe, just maybe, this will be the first year I have ever won a bracket pool.
Because I picked Gonzaga, too.