March Madness…Yeah Baby


Matt Monks, Delaware 105.9 Talk Show Host

I really enjoy this time of year. It’s college basketball’s version of the lottery, better known as March Madness. For sports fans, it doesn’t get much better than this. From the announcers to the teams to the coverage; it’s wall to wall and tree top tall … in the CB vernacular. Len Elmore, Verne Lundquist, Dick Vitale, Ian Eagle. These are just a few of the voices that will get you as pumped as a chest workout on leg day, only without the burn. Oh, and you may wish to substitute adult beverages instead of water. Just a thought.

By law, at least the law that I made up in my head years ago, you are mandated to work only half days, mornings only, the next two Thursday’s and Friday’s. After all, how can you be expected to focus and concentrate while Mt. St. Mary’s is getting it on with Villanova or Northwestern and Vandy are having a shootout? You can’t. No one can seriously expect you to. Nuff said.

You may ask, “Matt, I don’t know anything about any team/player/coach in the tournament, so how in the world can I be interested?” That’s the easiest question of all. Fortunately for you, I have the answer … and it’s only 2 words long. Ready? OFFICE POOL. That’s it.

Printable brackets are found all over the internet. Be the first in your office to print the printable brackets. Charge $1 per sheet, and Captain the office pool yourself. It’s fun, gets everyone involved, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and I promise the winner will be the secretary in the office that chose the teams by their mascots or color of their uniforms. Happens every year. Accept it.

Want to pick FGCU, Florida Gulf Coast University, to win it all? Thinking Arkansas looked pretty confident in their match-up in the SEC Championship game? First, and I’m only asking because I care, what in the hell have you been smoking? It’s certainly more than ribs. Second, each of these two teams has about as much chance of winning the tournament as you have of Dr. J’ing your way into the basketball Hall of Fame.

In fact, I know someone who can provide you a little guidance so that your bracket doesn’t get completely busted on day one of the tourney. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Short answer; YES!
So, if you’re thinking about being a bit more hardcore about the process of completing your bracket, and if you’d rather not be as embarrassed as that time you showed up with your boys at The Club only to see your Aunt Betsy on the main stage, here’s 5 bracket tips from a Davidson math professor as published on that will certainly help elevate your game.

1. Want to pick a team with a seed of 10 or higher? Keep these stats in mind: Of teams with a 10 or higher seed, only three teams have won four games in the tournament and only five teams have ever won three games. Of these teams, no team was higher than a 12 seed.

2. For teams in weaker conferences (conference RPI greater than 10), it is more difficult to tell how well they will play against stronger teams. To get a better sense of their strength as a team, look at the out of conference games that they play at the beginning of the season. Even if they lose, if it’s a close game or they limit the number of points scored by the other teams, that may indicate that they are a potential Cinderella team.

3. Seed Stats: 76 percent of upsets are by 10, 11, or 12 seeds (27 percent by 12 seeds alone)
4. One-third of lower-ranked teams who win in the first round are ranked within the top 30 offensively — 55 percent were ranked within the top 50.

5. Stats of winning teams – in the past 15 years, every national champion except one was a 1, 2, 3 seed. The exception was Connecticut, a 7 seed. Every winner has been within the top eight best-or-strongest conferences. Every winner has been ranked within the top 25 (using Pythagorean ranking method).

How’s that for confusing the beeswax out of you? I know, I know. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Keep your eyes open this year and you’ll see the guy in your office (there’s always a guy, trust me) who will tell you definitively how you’ve made your picks like a blind monkey on crack while his was chosen based on a tried and true method of mathematics, geometry and chemistry that has never failed. Until this year. You’ll see.
No matter what, enjoy the games. They’re really a lot of fun.

Quick, grab me another beer and some wings, and would you sit down already. You’re blocking the TV.

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