Sunday, March 30, 2008

Connect Four

Forgive the pun, but I had to take a quick break from writing about the NBA to celebrate a breakthrough for office pools everywhere. You see, I decided to run a fairly simple matrix for this year's picks, since I hadn't seen enough hoops. I threw up my bracket in the comments section of a previous post and have been amazed to see it all come to fruition as if I had that sports almanac from Back to the Future II.

The matrix spit out the following for the best five teams in the country:

1. Kansas
2. Memphis
3. North Carolina
4. Davidson

I couldn't pick Davidson, because the Wildcats were in Kansas' region, so I had no choice but to put the top seeds through. Now they are all in the Final Four.

But it goes beyond that.

24 out of 32 correct in the first round, including Davidson (over Gonzaga), Western Kentucky (over Drake), and Kansas State (over USC).

14 out of 16 correct in the second round, with misses only on Marquette (against Stanford), and Clemson (they were knocked out by Nova.

7 out of 8 correct in the Elite Eight, with the only miss coming on Louisville (against Tennessee).

And, of course, 4 out of 4 in the Final Four.

Needless to say, it is better than I normally do.

The bad news? I couldn't resist letting my own opinions and emotions get in the way. I felt that UCLA depended too much on luck so I went with Xavier (the #6 overall team). I couldn't quite pull the trigger on Davidson in one of my brackets so I put Wisconsin (#7) through to the Elite Eight. Even though Memphis was a clear favorite in the South, I hedged by bet by tabbing Texas in a few pools.

So instead of having one of the great brackets of our time, I have my usual hit-or-miss affair. Sure, it's enough to have me in the running in a few pools (the ones where I went with Memphis over Texas), but it's not the stuff of legends.

The good news? I've still got my new formula and there's always next year.

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