Ladies and gentlemen, it is time once again for the greatest productivity slowdown in American commerce. All over this great land, workers are huddled around a single desk. Is it a technology upgrade? A new product placement? Are performance bonuses being handed out? Not even close. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament officially gets underway Thursday. Office bracket games, sometimes for a little money, sometimes for bragging rights, are happening in tens of thousands of workplaces. Gildshire Magazines, a nationwide leader in office camaraderie solutions, offers up our thoughts on what you might see in the three weeks to come. If you win your NCAA March Madness bracket game using some of our ideas, good for you.
- Don’t get too tricky. Everyone loves a good underdog, and the NCAA tournament will offer up some fun ones to watch. A few years ago Andy Enfield led Florida Gulf Coast on a long tourney run and parlayed into the Head Coach position at USC. That said, don’t litter your bracket with underdog winners. The cream will rise to the top in the tournament, just like it does on the farm.
- That said…A bracket that has all Number One seeds to the Final Four isn’t going to win either. At least, that’s what history tells us. This year’s Number One seeds are Virginia, Xavier, Kansas, and Villanova. Pick one or two out of that group and add in some 2,3, or 4 seeds to your Final Four.
- Tell your statistics to shut up! That’s what Charlie Brown told Linus when the statistical news for their baseball team was bad. In a way, the same thing applies when it comes to March Madness. The players are teenagers, for the most part. Under the bright lights of the big stage, many of them will shine. Some, though, will wilt. Trying to predict which ones will rise and which will fall is a difficult challenge for you. Imagine the pressure if you were in their shoes. A pure statistical method is comforting, but it won’t lead to the winner’s circle.
- That said… There are some statistics that have proven themselves over time. One good one is offensive efficiency. It measures how many possessions it takes to get to a certain point level. Another good statistic is rebounding margin. Combined, those two will give you a pretty good read on the team to move ahead in your bracket. Villanova is the top offensive efficiency team in the country, but they rank 82nd in rebound margin. Take a look at Michigan State. They’re the top rebounding team. They rank 6th in offensive efficiency.
- Can the Experts Be Trusted? First, we need to define our terms. An expert is someone who puts hours into his or her craft, learning what works and what doesn’t. An expert hones a system until it is sharper than steel. Experts don’t have lives. Instead, they have workshops, man caves, algorithms and probability charts. Can they be trusted? Yes, they can, at least to a point. (Remember that thing about the players being teenagers with unreliable nerve endings.) An expert isn’t someone who goes on TV every day, spouting opinions. Take their opinions with a grain of salt. Gildshire, without claiming expertise, has regularly outperformed the “experts” on ESPN’s “Around the Horn.”
Did that help? We hope so. Moreover, though, plan to enjoy some college basketball over the course of the next three weekends. NCAA March Madness is a spectacle of competition that encompasses electrifying talent with school spirit. Fans travel across the country to watch their teams try and do what has never been done. Namely, a 16-seed taking down a 1-seed. If that ever happens, your bracket and the bracket of every expert you trust will be busted beyond repair.
Tell me, though, aren’t you, in your heart of hearts, rooting for that to happen just once? What a day that will be for a school you didn’t know existed until you saw their name on a blank bracket sheet. It’s why they play the games on the court, rather than on paper. Enjoy NCAA March Madness 2018.