For the second year in a row we will be running our own NCAA tournament bracket challenge. And thanks to the bounce back season for UNC this year, both halves of our following will be interested in the big tourney. (someone keep poor, poor Seth Greenberg away from any sharp objects) We are in talks with a friend of the site to make something really fun for the winner this year… it’ll be appropriately awesome.
Like last year we will let ESPN do the hosting - so head over there and make your picks! If you don’t follow the links so well, just search for our Group: BluevsBlue. Password: bluevsblue. You will have to register in order to join the group, but it’s free. Please limit your picks to only one entry. If multiple entries are placed from the same participant only the first will be scored.
I always thought it was bunk that picking straight chalk should be worth the same as having the cahones to, say, pick George Mason into the Final Four a few seasons ago. So over the years Bart and I have worked out a system that is perhaps my greatest contribution to mankind. And it’s the reason our bracket challenge is better than everyone else’s: not every winner is weighted the same. We reward people for correctly picking upsets, or more precisely for picking teams that perform better than their seed would indicate. Here’s how it works:
- Correct first round winner - 10 pts
- Second: 20 pts
- Sweet 16: 40 pts
- Elite 8: 100 pts
- Semis: 200 pts
- Champ 400 pts
Now the bonus points for each round work as follows: If you correctly pick a lower seeded team advancing beyond what it’s seed number would suggest, then you get bonus points. The bonus points are always half the value for that round multiplied by difference of the seed number from the expected value for that round. Say what?? Everyone lost? Here’s how it works in real life:
Say you pick Belmont (13) over the offensive juggernaut of Wisconsin (4). The bonus points for correctly choosing a lower seed would be 5pts (half the value for round 1) X 5 (difference of Belmont’s seed from the expected ‘seed value’ of seeds found in the first round: 13-8=5). That would earn you 25 bonus points for a total of 35 for that single game. Our thinking is that correctly picking a 13 over a 4 is the same ‘value’ as getting 3 1/2 games of all chalk correct.
(Note: 8 vs 9 games are excluded from ‘upset’ status. These are always pick em games anyway
Now the Second Round:
Picking any teams seeded 1-4 net no bonus points. They are supposed to be there.
I have now picked Belmont to continue its run to the Sweet Sixteen, an low and behold they do it! I get 20 pts for the win in 2nd round. The bonus points are now 10 (half the points for that round) X 9 (difference between their seed  and the expected ‘seed value’ of teams supposed to be winning second round games  13-4=9). So the Bruin’s second round win nets me a bundle with 90 bonus points. I know that sounds like a lot - but there should be a reward for correctly identifiying teams that are going to out-perform their seeding.
Now the Bonus is 20 (half the 40 pt value of correctly picking Elite 8 teams) X (Actual Seed# minus 2 [since the teams expected to be in the final eight would be all 1 or 2 seeds])
So staying with our example - Belmont in the Elite 8 would give you 20 X 11 (13-2) bonus points, for an eye-popping 260 points for that pick. Hold the phone you are saying. That is crazy. Well it might be. We are always open to refining the system. But shouldn’t correctly choosing Belmont into the Elite 8 be worth the same as boringly picking Kansas to get to the Semi Finals. Which is more likely?? Exactly.
With our scoring, for example, someone who correctly picked George Mason to get the the Final Four a couple of years ago would probably have amassed so many points with that pick that choosing the eventual champ probably wouldn’t matter. And to my mind that is fine. If you had picked that, you deserve to win.
Fourth round and beyond:
Bonus for regional finals and Final Four is set at 50 X (Seed# - 1) So Belmont to the final four would net you 50 X 12 (13-1) bonus points. Yes that is not a mistake - 600 bonus points. See above George Mason example. Correctly picking a #2 to go to the Final Four though - would net you a more reasonable 50 bonus points (50 X (2-1) which is an appropriate reward in my mind.
Thats all we have for now. The best weekend of the sports calendar is nearly upon us WOOHOO!