We all do it, even though we might not want to admit it. Men and women, young and old, all catch what is known in the medical world as Bracktus Pyrexia, Bracket Fever. Don’t worry, baby, Chris Fujimoto PhD has the medicine to cure what ails you. I don’t have the cure, but I can help you win that bracket pool with these sure fire tactics that’ll give you that edge over your friends and peers.
The Tournament is all about Matchups
Besides the 1-16 Matchup, any team in the tournament is beatable given the right matchup. So, the first thing you should do is learn a little about the makeup of the team. Do they play defense? How good are they at rebounding? Do they turnover the ball a lot? All of these questions and many more are important when evaluating whether or not a team will win, especially in the first round in the middle seed matchups. For example, Vanderbilt last season was a good team that was slightly overseeded and struggled against hot shooting teams. Their post play in Andrew Ogilvy was good, but the rest of the team offensively and defensively was baaad. In come the Siena Saints, a high percentage shooting team that could score like nothing. The result was a first round upset that wasn’t even close. Look for teams that matchup well against the other and you might find the upset you need.
Teams Crawling in the Dance
All of the teams, besides the automatic bid winners, lost their last game coming in to the tournament. This doesn’t mean that all these teams are the same. Some teams, Syracuse, are coming in riding a hot streak and can ride momentum to a good run in the tournament. Several conference winners are coming in on huge streaks: American U. are winners of 13 straight and 18 of their last 19. Memphis has won basically 1 million games in row in the weak Conference USA. Utah State won 30 games this season and rode a hot streak in the middle of the season and faltered at the end, but still has to feel good about having the highest winning percentage. On the other hand there are few teams who are crawling in to the tournament, and they could potentially be in for a quick exit. Marquette lost their best player Dominic James for the season, then proceeded to lose four straight and five of their last six games. The Golden Eagles are a different team without their leader and could potentially fall early, which would be sad for a team so talented. Clemson, who I hate with a passion, lost 6 of 10 after thumping Duke earlier in the season. They’ll probably fall in the first or second round, preferably to Michigan in the first.
Injuries make a difference
A healthy team will beat a hurt team, obvious. But there are a few teams with key injuries that will definitely hurt them. Illinois lost it’s starting guard Chester Frazier due to a hand injury and his status for their opening game against Western Kentucky is questionable. The senior was definitely a force defensively for the Illini and that, along with the dreaded 5-12 matchup could spell doom for Illinois. Marquette’s James was mentioned already but the biggest question in the tournament is: how healthy is Ty Lawson? The North Carolina guard was scratched for the ACC tournament and the Heels first round game with a foot injury. The only way that the Heels can go all the way is with a healthy Ty Lawson.
So, there it is. Soak it all in, and enjoy. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. My next post should be a Q&A session with my high school but if you have any questions feel free to throw them in.