No. You are going at this all wrong. Everyone in the world knows that North Carolina, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh are going to make deep tourney runs. 99% of the world is going to put those three teams in the Final Four. Debating which one of them is going to win it all is futile. It won't matter. You are not going to win your office bracket because you picked North Carolina over Pitt in the final. Why? Because at least 1/3 of your office will also have North Carolina as the champ.
So....how do you win your office bracket? How do you gain back the respect of your office after losing to the 25 year old secretary who only ever talks about how Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston would make the best couple EVER!! Here's how:
Pick the cinderella team. Pick that one team that is going to make it to the elite 8 out of nowhere. Don't waste time researching UNC vs Pitt. If you pick that one cinderella, you will have coworkers amazed at your basketball knowledge. Praising your bracket like you have your very own entourage.
But back to reality. Before you can start ordering your coworkers around like Chef Ramsey, you need to figure out who that magic carpet ride team is going to be. First, let's go on a history lesson of the teams that surprised us all (all of us except for that secretary) the last five years. These are the teams that if you picked, you would have likely won your tourney challenge:
YEAR - TEAM - SEED - STAR PLAYER - FINISH
2004 - Xavier - 7 - Romain Sato - Elite 8
2005 - West Virginia -7 - Kevin Pittsnogle - Elite 8
2006 - George Mason - 11 - Coach Jim Larranaga - Final 4
2008 - Davidson - 10 - Stephen Curry - Elite 8
Now, for 2009....What we need is an under the radar team, with good talent, and excellent coaching. Let me introduce:
The Saint Mary's Gaels
Wait! Don't leave yet! I promise that this is not as stupid as it sounds. And when Saint Mary's is charging into the Elite 8 this year, you will know who to thank for your March Madness success.
Now the Gaels are currently a bubble team that might actually not make it into the tournament because of an injury to their stud point guard Patty Mills. However, Patty is coming back for the WCC tournament this week and a healthy Patty means that the Gaels should take the WCC crown.
Look at the Jan. 29th game vs Gonzaga. Patty Mills goes down in the first half with a broken hand and the Gaels led 39-33 at intermission. Mills had already poured in 18 points in the half on what is supposed to be an NBA ready opponent in Jeremy Pargo.
Saint Mary's was 18-1 and ranked 18th by ESPN/USA Today before the Mills injury. What you need to do is watch the WCC Tournament when Saint Marys plays Gonzaga in the final. If Patty Mills is healthy, go all-in with Saint Marys when you are filling out your bracket.
If you want to see visual proof. Start this video at the 40 second mark and also skip to 1:28. See a couple of Patty Mills' highlights against team USA.
If you are still not convinced of the bracket busting potential of Saint Mary's, you are probably right. I mean, it wasn't that embarrassing to get beat last year by that guy who picked Davidson because he has a son named David. Was it?
Let me know what you think...