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It's Wednesday evening, which means that the time you have left to fill in an NCAA March Madness bracket is quickly coming to a close. If you're like most everyone else in the country, chances are that you've wasted an entire basketball season, and now that it's time to put your "knowledge" to the test, you find yourself wishing you had gotten to watch more games this year.
But all hope is not lost!
Sure, some people might prefer more traditional methods of choosing brackets, like picking based on "which team might win" or some other nonsense, but we all know that person who doesn't really follow college basketball, but will most likely win a bracket somehow, and then be obnoxious about it all year long, even though they probably don't know the difference between a block and a charge. Let's call that person, "Andrew McCormick," for fun. I'm not bitter.
So this year, why not beat "Andrew" at his own game? Below we suggest a number of ways through which you can make this year's bracket picks, some you already know, some which might be unique. Either way, you're bound to beat "Andrew,"
1. Pick all the top seeds.
Okay, well this seems straight-forward enough, right? There's nothing sexy about this approach, and it's not a glamorous way to win, but at some point, you have to figure that the higher-seeded teams are seeded as such because, well, they're better. So, pick all the best seeds, every time, and then you're left with a Final Four of Kentucky, Wisconsin, Villanova, and Duke. From there, you'll have to take a bit of a guess as to who to go with after that, but if you're following this method, I'll just give you a #protip that Kentucky has not lost a game yet this season. Not a single game.
...but then you won't get Virginia as the champion. And can you really live with yourself?
2. Pick all the top seeds, then flip a coin.
So now we're venturing into the territory where you know that the top seeds are typically better, but you also know that at some point, somebody will upset someone. So under this approach, we pick each of the top seeds during this first weekend, so that the Sweet 16 round is left with all the 1-4 seeds from each region. From here, they're all good teams, and really any one of them could win it all, right? So why not just flip a coin? Flip coins all the way to the finish. Sure, be biased, if you want, and go best of 3, I mean 5...7, darn it, if the coin doesn't land UVA's way the first time.
3. Find a child. Any child will do.
You know what really irks me? When the old guy in the office (sorry, old guys) submit a bracket based on what their 7-year-old kid told him to. Seriously, what does that kid know anyway? As it turns out, a lot. Or at least, he has great luck. So in this scenario, what you need to do is go up to your son or daughter and - what's that? You don't have one of those? That's fine, I have good news. It doesn't need to be your own son or daughter. It can be anyone's. I highly encourage you to go walk the streets (especially if you're in New York or some other major metro area where there's a lot of "character") and grab (not literally) the first child you see and force him or her to fill out your bracket for you. If you see blue lights, run.
4. The egg drop.
This takes a while, I'll give you that. And it also takes a lot of eggs. And, if you're really doing it right, a lot of time, because what you're going to need to do is dye one egg for each team in that team's respective colors. If you're feeling fancy, you're probably going to need to paint the team's logos on each egg as well. Go on. I'll wait.
Still painting? Geez.
Okay okay, I'm going to just go ahead and assume you're done. For each matchup, you're going to put the two eggs into some sort of cushioned box, stand on top of a chair, and drop it. Repeat until one egg breaks and the other is still in tact. That's your winner. Both eggs break? Back to the paint bucket, buddy.
5. Animals are smart.
You might not have your own Paul the Octopus, but chances are that you have some sort of pet, or know someone who does. Print up all the logos, line em up, and have the animal pick your winner. Don't have a pet? We at STL have one that we're willing to rent out for a price:
6. Genealogy - this is a real thing!
Quick, name Virginia's most famous alumni! If you said Thomas Jefferson, well, you're wrong. But, we do have a lot of really cool alums, like Tina Fey and Katie Couric, multiple Kennedy children, etc. Quick, name some famous Michigan State alums!
I'm not coming up with too much off the top of my head. Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers (Joey #SWOON!...oh did you think I was going to write a post about basketball and not bring Joe Harris into this??), etc. A couple other billionaires. Anything else?
Okay sure, there's Magic Johnson, and to be fair, that's an actual basketball-related great. But I have to think that Virginia's list is a little more impressive than Michigan State's. I'm giving this to Virginia here.
7. University Academics
Look up every school's US News ranking. Your academic powerhouses - Stanford, Yale, MIT...they're not even in the tournament. (Yes, I am aware that Harvard is in.)
OK now rank every school in the field of 64 by their US News rankings. Turn your list upside down. BOOM, there you have it. Pick accordingly.
8. When all else fails, just be superficial and pick the hottest teams to advance.
It's a win-win for everyone involved. The longer an attractive team is in the tournament, the more eye candy there is. The more eye candy, the higher the TV ratings. They're happy because they make money. We're happy because we get to stare at attractive people.
This works for both guys and gals. You can either pick the most attractive players or pick the most attractive cheerleaders. Turns out, superficiality is nondiscriminatory.
So there you have it. Eight WINNING methods to beat (or be) "that guy" in your office pool. There are literally one million other ways you can do this. What's your favorite method of picking teams?
By the way, it's not too late to join the STL Bracket Challenge!