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Patrick Hruby

Atlantic Sports Roundtable: NCAA bracket madness

Is it possible to win your NCAA tournament office pool? No. Yes. Er, maybe. This week's Atlantic online sports roundtable offers friendly advice about how to fill out your brackets.* A brief excerpt:

Patrick Hruby: March Madness defies March Methodology; college basketball knowledge is inversely proportional to bracket-picking proficiency; year after bitter year, the guy in your office who likes Butler because, you know, he has a bulldog calendar on his desk, and really, aren't they just adorable? walks away with your $20 entrance fee ... as such, I have a suggestion. A plea, really. Bracket America, stop trying so hard. Unlearn what you have learned. Don't pretend to be a bracket wiseguy.

Jake Simpson: Since I routinely lose to people with little to no sports knowledge every year, I can only offer a best guess for beating the bracket: Pick chalk, along with one or two sleeper picks. Unless we get a repeat of the mechanical 2007 Big Dance (Elite Eight of four one seeds, three two seeds and a three seed) there will be at least one bracket where a mid-level seed makes a run and even reaches the Final Four.

Hampton Stevens: ... don't pick any Big Ten team not coached by Tom Izzo. Self-explanatory, really. You can count on whatever lumbering, low-scoring club comes from Wisconsin or Ohio State to take a tumble early, but not Michigan State. Unranked at the start of the the season, Tom Izzo's mighty Spartans won themselves a No. 1 seed in the West, and tip off Friday afternoon against cute, little Long Island University-Brooklyn. Three times, Tom T-to-the Izzo's club has gone into the tournament as a top-seed. Three times, the Spartans have made the Final Four.

Read the full article at the Atlantic online

* For recreational purposes only. Gambling is illegal.**

** Unless it involves riverboats, Native American reservations, special enterprise zones, the state of Nevada or the various state lotteries that act as regressive taxes to cover the shortfall from regular taxes we continually vote down -- in which case, ante up!