TheSportsMuse is a contributor to Midwest Sports Fans. Follow him on twitter @TheSportsMuse.
Participating in bracket pools in March Madness is as old as, well, the event itself. And let’s be brutally honest; one of the reasons that the NCAA Tournament enjoys such immense popularity is the fact that, whether your stakes are $1 or a considerably higher sum, most people in America love the madness at least in part because their wallet has a vested interest in the results.
Much like with the NFL season, I find that the most enjoyable pool associated with the NCAA Tournament is a survivor pool, or as the guy who runs mine calls it, the Win or Die. The rules are pretty simple: pay an entry fee, pick one single winner each day of the tournament without regard to those annoying point spreads, pick any team no more than once during the whole tournament, win and advance to the next day, last one standing wins, winner take all.
Sounds easier than one of Charlie Sheen’s goddesses, right?
Well as those who have done it can attest, it’s brutal. It is total strategy from Day 1, but you have to be able to adjust on the fly to account for the things you can never account for at the beginning of the tourney (like a #12 meeting a #13 for the right to advance to the second weekend, etc.). And my pool has a tiebreaker that consists of the sum of all the seed numbers you picked correctly throughout the pool, so all correct picks, sadly, are not created equally.
I have studied, I have participated, I have lost on Day 1, and I have had heartbreaking defeats at the Final 4. And now, I am ready to help you prepare your strategy to win your survivor pool. And if nothing else, I am at least giving you somebody else to blame it on, in addition to the players, the coaches, the announcers, and the ugly lady rooting against your team in Row 1, who they keep showing on TV (yes, I am talking to you, Pacific fan, who had the audacity to root against St. Joe’s in 1997).
Here are the five golden rules to have a chance to win your survivor pool.