I had no idea that Monday is National Bracket Day. Well, I was aware that this is the day you start filling out your brackets for the NCAA tournament. But I had no idea there was a national day for it.
This post is a slight departure, as it focuses on the NCAA tournament and making a bracket. I'll be participating in an in -house tournament featuring various ChicagoNow bloggers. But before you throw rotten vegetables at me for straying from horse racing, keep in mind that the popularity of the NCAA tournament and of filling out brackets borrows a lot from horse racing.
- Terms like "favorite", "chalk", and "upset" that are used to describe teams are used to describe horses.
- College basketball has conference tournaments to determine the final field of 68. Horse racing has prep races (like the Illinois Derby) to determine its final field for the Kentucky Derby.
- It's a very popular thing to gamble on. We're looking at you, Mr. Office Pool creator.
- Your goals are roughly the same. You try to predict an outcome given a number of different variables.
- Watching past videos is helpful. Watching videos of past horse races or basketball games gives you a possible understanding of the future.
Now I admit that I don't follow college basketball as intensely as horse racing, but I do stick to a few rules when making the bracket. They are similar to rules I stick to when handicapping and wagering at the track.
1) Work backwards. What's the result you want? Figure out what the result will be and work from it. In horse racing, this is more along the lines of wager construction.
2) Make a plan. Once you have your result, what it does take? Separate contenders from pretenders. This in racing is the hard nuts-and-bolts handicapping.
3) Don't be afraid of being different. Differences of opinion are what make horse racing so fun and what make for great conversation about your bracket. More importantly, if you have a good contender that you think can do some damage, don't be afraid to use it.
4) Don't be afraid to lose. You're bound to have it happen. You lose to that person that can't tell a fruit basket from a basketball. It happens. There's next year for the NCAAs and plenty more chances at the track.
Amazing the similarities between horse racing and making NCAA brackets. Perhaps you might enjoy doing one that you might do the other. A good bracket may be the recipe to experimenting at Arlington or Hawthorne.
And oh yes, I forgot.
--Going for 1st round upsets with VCU, Colorado State, and Davidson.
--Sweet 16 sleeper team? Purdue.
--Team that goes out early? Louisville.
--Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and North Carolina are my final four.
--I have the UNC over Michigan State for the title.