Posted By Jeff Fletcher on March 14, 2009 10:31 am
A once-a-week look at stuff other than baseball…
I love the NCAA tournament. It is my favorite non-baseball sporting event of the year. One of the regrets of my sports writing career is that I’ve never gotten to cover the NCAA tournament. I was less than a minute away in 1996, when Cal State Northridge was leading the Big Sky Conference championship game, but they blew it.
Before you fill out your brackets for your office pool, here are some expert tips. (By “expert,” I mean “someone who has a blog.”)
- Always pick the MAC team to win a first-round game, at least. The MAC is the best mid-major conference in the country. Everyone in the MAC is capable of pulling off a regular-season upset of a major-conference team. The team that gets out of that conference is dangerous in the NCAAs.
- If you are undecided on a game involving an ACC team, always pick the ACC team. The ACC rocks.
- Don’t get carried away on the upsets. I know it’s no fun to pick favorites, but there’s a reason they are favorites. They are probably going to win. It’s not rocket science.
- Always pick one No. 4 seed to make the Final Four. Doesn’t it seem like a No. 4 seed always makes the Final Four?
Before you go and invest your life-savings in a tourney pool based on this advice, bear in mind that I am a baseball writer. Of course, these days that still might make it a better investment than anything you’ll find on Wall Street.
OK, on to other things…
- Phoenix is empty. The economy obviously is having an impact on spring training. Spring training seats and restaurant tables are not so tough to come by. There’s not even as much traffic on the freeways here.
- Had my little poker tourney down here among some fellow writers, broadcasters and baseball people. Todd Steverson, the A’s first base coach, won. He actually won one last year.
- Poker tip of the week: People aren’t bluffing nearly as much as you’d think. You can always use some contrived line of thinking to determine that the guy who just pushed his chips all-in is making a move on you, but in reality he’s not probably not. Every time you think someone could be bluffing you, look down at the second hand on your watch. If it’s between the 12 and the 2, call. If it’s anywhere else, fold. That’s makes you call about 15 percent of the time, which is reasonable.