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NCAA Brackets For Dummies

Alex Quigley

Former rock DJ, currently a multipurpose Chicago media guy.

(An abridged version of this column appeared in Tuesday's Chicago RedEye.)

Some people call it the best sports weekend of the year. Some call it a blatant misuse of at-work resources. Some people call it Maurice. (No one calls it the third option.)

But if you've stopped to read this blog, chances are that you'll be involved in an NCAA Tournament pool this week. And no matter what your interest level or knowledge of college hoops may be, I'm going to give you the blueprint to follow all the way to Cash Money Land.

(Clarification: Cash Money Land is not a gambling-for-money reference. I would never promote illegal gambling in a public forum such as the Chicago RedEye. Cash Money Land is actually located two blocks south of the CTA Brown Line's Wellington stop. Look for an abandoned building. Knock twice, say "Alex sent me.")



On second thought, don't do this.

Follow my advice to the letter and you'll finish in the top half of your pool, guaranteed. First: automatically advance all four #1 seeds to the Elite Eight. Don't think. Just do it. They get there 73% of the time since 1985, and this year's top four teams are significantly better than the rest of the field.

Second: Advance all the #2, #3, and #4 seeds past the first round.  Don't think, just do it.

Third: pick two #9  and two #10 teams to win their first games, and one #11 and one #12. Of all teams in this step, choose only one to make the Sweet 16.

There's some great statistical breakdowns-by-seed right here, courtesy of

After all that: you're as good as any experts claim to be, essentially. Pick random winners from there. Pick higher seeds. Pick by mascot. Pick by color. Pick alphabetically. Whatever makes you feel good. It doesn't matter. This is how every winner in every big pool wins.



Your office pool's winner.

You'll need a little luck, sure. But if you're atop your pool come Final Four Weekend, you'll probably stay that way. And you'll have done it...your way. (And my way. I expect a 50% cut.)



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Chasse Rehwinkel said:


I had the good fortune of making it all the way to Cash Money Land a while back...and after eight year's of "fun" in a H.H. Holmes-esque torture chamber, three months of soul crushing labor in a Guadalajaran work prison, two weeks of Sharia-style canning in Indochina and a four month sea voyage from Malaysia on a ship colorfully nicknamed "drippy," almost all the nightmares are gone!

Thanks Quigley!

Goose said:


All I got was a free toaster and a shank wound.

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