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Monday, March 13, 2006
 
How to Win Your Office NCAA Pool

Okay, same drill as last year. Get yourself a real set of brackets that shows the location of the early round games. Oddly, this set does not show the Final Four location, which is Indianapolis. Then get the Sagarin ratings from USA Today. In general, you will pick the team with the higher Predictor Rating (shown in blue), although you should always increase the rating by four points for any team that is playing near their home.

Here are the top ten teams in Predictor:

Duke 94.83
Texas 93.74
Connecticut 92.63
Villanova 92.44
North Carolina 91.54
Kansas 90.67
Memphis 89.95
Florida 89.8
Illinois 88.72
Ohio State 88.31

As you can see, looking at the brackets and locations, Duke has probably the easiest road to the Final Four, although their regional final against Texas should probably be for the national championship. Still they play their first two rounds in Greensboro (effectively home games) and their regional is in Atlanta. Villanova gets the gift of the first two rounds in Philly, while Florida plays in Jacksonville, Ohio State in Dayton, UCLA in San Diego, and Texas in Dallas. Figure all those teams to win their opening two games.

Memphis seems to me to be the least likely #1 to make the Final Four, with Kansas the most likely team to knock them off in the regional semis. I like the other #1 seeds to make it to the big dance, with Villanova seeming to have the easiest probable regional final. Early upsets? I like George Mason against Michigan State in the first round. North Carolina Wilmington should have the edge against George Washington as well.

The big winner? I reluctantly pick Duke, with senior leadership and excellent coaching providing the margin against U Conn. As I said above, the big test for them is probably the regional final against Texas.

Thanks for the Link: Respublica, Pajamas Media
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