Let’s do another bracket contest. There’ll be no prize this time. We’ll be playing only for the love of the game.
The problem I always have with traditional NCAA bracket contests is that there’s little room for creativity. Outside of a few cases where one might think the selection committee seeded a team inconsistent with their true ability, the rational strategy is to pick the higher-seeded team in each match-up.
A few years ago, a friend told me about an alternate, unconventional way of running a bracket contest. I’ve always wanted to do this, but never had a forum where I thought enough people would be interested. But you guys will be hip to this jive, I’m sure of it.
Here it is:
- Each entrant picks a list of 16 teams from the 64-team NCAA bracket.
- For each game a team on your list wins, you receive points equal to the team’s seed. Example: If you pick an 8 seed and they win 2 games before losing in the third round, you get 16 points. This creates an incentive to look for lower-seeded teams likely to pull upsets.
- There are bonuses of 5 points each for (1) making the Final Four, (2) making the championship game, and (3) winning the national championship. So picking a 1 seed who wins the national championship would be worth 21 points (6 points for their 6 wins plus 5 points each for the three bonuses). This keeps the top seeds in play as potential picks.
You’re intrigued, aren’t you? I can hear the wheels already turning in your brain. Here’s the official bracket, so you can get started.
Entries must be posted in the comments section of this blog post by noon on Thursday. Just list your 16 teams in any order (hint: the best strategy is generally to pick one team from each 4-team “pod”). No tie-breaker. If there’s a tie, the multiple winners will simply have to divvy up the bragging rights into equal parts.