Beware the Ides of March Madness

Along with a number of other area bloggers, I’m participating in the “First Annual Pittsburgh Celebrity Bloggers NCAA Pool.”

My involvement would seem to indicate that the term “Celebrity” is being used very loosely here, but the two dozen or so other participants are rather impressive.

I watch very little basketball. I do usually tune in during the Big Dance for a game or two, but I have no knowledge to help in picking teams for this competition. I could just pick teams at random, or always choose the higher seed, but of course that’s not enough fun. Instead, I’m going with the vaunted Wacky Scheme method of picking winners.

Here’s my formula:

  1. For each matchup, list the people I know who attended each school. Pick the school with the bigger number of Friends of Cindy (FOC).
  2. If the FOC count is the same, give more weight to people closer to me. Close friends are worth more than acquaintances; relatives are worth more than friends.
  3. If the weighted FOC is the same, then consider whether either school has at any time rejected an application from me. If so, pick the other school. (Stanford is the biggest loser on this one. (Although ultimately I have been glad to have gone Sloan instead.))
  4. If I’ve never been rejected by either school, have I ever visited the school, or the state the school is in? Pick the school I’ve set foot on or near.
  5. If none of the above applies, is there anything interesting about the school name? For example, I selected Butler in the first round because I live in Butler, PA.

Repeat the process for each round, and here’s what I get.

Note that Georgetown, a #2 seed, legitimately makes it all the way to winning the championship in my scheme because my dear Aunt Ann and Uncle Greg both attended there, I lived near DC for a while and spent lots of time in and around campus, and I saw Ben Folds Five perform a concert there in 1998. Ohio State, in contrast, falls because they turned down my application to get an MFA there.

I feel quite good about my chances of winning this pool.

Think you have a better/smarter/weirder method of picking the winners? There’s still time to enter, if you hurry. Whoops, sorry. Games have already begun. See how much I know about this thing? I’m still gonna win though.

13 replies on “Beware the Ides of March Madness”

  1. yer gonna have to knock me off first! honestly i never watch basketball of any sort unless I’m in a pool (like this one) so I’ll be right there with ya.

  2. Spoon, you’ll need to lay out your bracket filling process. Or is that a trade secret?

    Stanford is knocked out already, so there goes my perfect score. Maybe I should have put that “hasn’t rejected me” criterion at the top of the list.

  3. Dang, I guess my brush with Post-Gazette greatness still doesn’t write my ticket into the upper echelon of the Burgh Blogocracy. Next year, remind me to start the “First Annual Semi-Obscure Yet With A Small Number Of Oddly Loyal Readers Who We Love Bloggers Pool.”

  4. Bob, is the Semi-Obscure Pool the NIT of local blogger pools? (I actually have little idea of what the NIT is … my brother just mentioned it to me. Further evidence of how little I belong in any such basketball pool.)

    Seriously though, I’m sorry I didn’t post about this earlier. You’d have been most welcome in the pool.

    Actually, I think I belong more in the pool you’re starting next year. Can I be in both?

  5. Hah — yes, my pool will definitely be the NIT (Not Important Tournament) of blogger pools. All are welcome. In fact, maybe we’ll do it with the NIT. Being a Nittany Lion fan, I’m far more familiar with the NIT than the Big Dance anyway.

  6. Ohio State certainly doesn’t deserve your vote after turning you down — and I went to Michigan, so OSU is an automatic no win for me. Then again, Michigan’s program hasn’t been very good since when we won the NCAA championship (and Rose Bowl) while I was at school there – ’89, I think. Damn.

    I like the method to your madness…better than judging by uniform colors. Good luck.

  7. Woy, I’d like to think I’m doing well, but since the other folks’ brackets aren’t posted yet it’s hard to tell. After round 2 you were only 1 point behind me, so it might be that you’ll catch up and blow past.

    But then again, I think I’m gonna kick your ass in this too. :)

  8. I have a similarly wacky system for making football picks: I pit the mascots of each team in a fantastic, fictional battle in my head (as in Tigers vs. Dolphins, Cowboys vs. Jets, etc.) Sometimes it is a straight-forward win and sometimes there is a crazy upset, but the victor of the imaginary battle is dubbed my winning team.

    All the boys made fun until the end of the first season — and now I’ve led our group in winning picks for the last two years.

  9. Oh, my I’m late to the dance! Your method of choosing teams is outstanding. I think you should copyright it and offer it as the gold standard to those who need a formula next year. Great Monday pick me up–even if I’m late.

  10. Kathie: It looks like the “Friends of Cindy” method of choosing teams wasn’t the correct one this year. I am now ranked #25 of 26 in the pool: — at least I moved up one spot. So painful to be at the bottom.

    Rachel: Team mascots are a tried-and-true method of making picks, and I’m sure your elaborate fictional battles are excellent. Good job in showing up the know-it-alls!

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