While I question the assumptions behind the calculations of estimates that suggest that U.S. companies lose an annual $3.8 billion in productivity to the NCAA basketball tournament, I wholeheartedly spend a few dollars each year on several March Madness pools. Besides, after all the extra unpaid work we do for our employers, who are they to whine about a few minutes checking scores on company time, or chatting with colleagues about our brackets?
I generally avoid the strategy of mixing up my picks in the seperate pools, instead usually preferring to keep all of my metaphorical eggs in one basket and play the same bracket in all pools. I figure that if I win, I might as well clean up in grand fashion, rather than later regretting my decision to second guess my analyses by hedging my bets.
This year I have a Final Four lineup of UCLA, Georgetown, Stanford, and Tenesssee. At the moment I am doing quite well, with a 19-4 record after the first 23 games, but I find that one of the keys to winning the pool is getting to the Sweet 16 with at least 14 teams.
I have come close to winning a few pools in the last few years, and last year I was a Georgetown victory over Ohio State away from winning the lucrative pools. Alas, the gambling gremlins denied me my moment of glory, and I finished just out of the money when the Buckeyes eked out a victory over the Hoyas.
Feel free to list your Final Four picks and historic pool victories in the comments section.