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NCAA Tournament Bracketology: SportsMaven vs. President Obama, First Round

Posted by sportsmaven on March 20, 2009

Virtually every college basketball fan who watches ESPN knows that President Barack Obama is a HUGE basketball fan.  it is also well known (or at least it should be by now) that President Obama took a moment to step away from blistering AIG executives for handing out bonuses and in true American fashion, filled out his own 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket, which is posted on ESPN and now becomes some form of public record, visible to the entire sports loving, internet consuming, content craving public.

Photo by: Pete Souza

Photo by: Pete Souza

In the American spirit of competition and for love of comparative analysis, I wondered how my picks compared to basketball-crazy, sports passionate President Obama’s picks.  It is well known that the President loves to talk smack about all things basketball, so lets see how he compares to the SportsMaven:

The photo of President Obama’s picks:

President Obama's NCAA Basketball Picks

President Obama's 2009 NCAA Basketball Picks

For those who don’t recall my picks, here is a link to the full post.

So how’s the comparison after the first half of the first round games?

  • President Obama went 11-5, missing picks on BYU, Butler, Illinois, Clemson, and the upset special, VCU.
  • SportsMaven went 14-2, missing picks on Illinois and Clemson.

Stay tuned for an updated post on the final results for the first round, but so far, looking strong against President Obama.

Posted in Fighting Illini | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Picks

Posted by sportsmaven on March 19, 2009

Three hours until tip off of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  Today launches two of the most unproductive work days of the year.  I’ve already completed and posted my women’s picks yesterday.  The men’s bracket is more of a challenge.  In the women’s game, the difference between the best and worst teams is much greater than in the men’s game. That fact makes the men’s brackets more difficult to choose, as more teams have a chance to upset higher seeded teams.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

There are really four strategies you can follow in doing your brackets.  The first strategy is just to pick the higher seed and let the lesser teams get washed out and separated.  There are always going to be upsets, but how do you decided which high seed is vulnerable?  You don’t.  Let the law of averages rule overrule luck.

The second strategy is to pick which teams will be upset in which rounds.  Play the hot hand, requires some working knowledge of which teams are peaking going into the tournament and which teams are upstart enough to engineer an upset.

The third strategy is to find an expert’s brackets and choose those picks.  The ESPN experts picks.  Leverage their knowledge and exposure to the game to make your picks.  You might even do well with this strategy if you want to win the office basketball pool.  It’s not sexy, nor a challenge, but it seems better than the last strategy – what I call the women’s pick.  Pick by favorite team, mascot names, colors, and allegiances.  This is the most random of all methods, but one that seems to produce a winner on rare occasion.  Even resourceful women ask their men to make their picks, but those who opt to make their own, good luck!

So, for those who exercise the choose the experts picks, here are my picks.  Good luck if you decide to use these picks.  If you win anything, I want my cut of the payout:

First round winners:

Midwest Region: Louisville, Ohio State, Arizona, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Kansas, USC, Michigan State

West Region: Connecticut, Texas A&M, Purdue, Washington, Marquette, Missouri, Maryland, Memphis

East Region: Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Florida State, Xavier, UCLA, Villanova, Texas, Duke

South Region: North Carolina, LSU, Illinois, Gonzaga, Arizona State, Syracuse, Clemson, Oklahoma

Sweet 16: Louisville, Wake Forest, Kansas, Michigan State, Connecticut, Washington, Marquette, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Florida State, UCLA, Duke, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Oklahoma

Final 4: Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, North Carolina

National Championship Game: Louisville vs. North Carolina

National Championship: Louisville

I wrestled back and forth between Louisville and North Carolina before choosing Louisville.  This is, perhaps, Rick Pitino’s best team at Louisville and they look poised for a run all the way.  I thought going into the tournament that the two teams that the biggest chips on their shoulders would be Louisville and Memphis.  The arguments against Memphis always starts and ends with their soft conference schedule.  I think Memphis is one of the 4 best teams in the country.  I just hope they prove me correct in this tournament.

There are the picks, and with more than an hour to spare.  Check back often, as I will update my progress after each round.

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