Friday, April 5, 2013

NCAA tournament pool tiebreakers: We could do better

Let's hope the majority of  NCAA tournament pools don't come down to the tiebreaker after the national championship game on Monday.

Most, if not all, of them will use total points in the championship game to settle it. Here's the problem: When you fill out your bracket, the only information you have to go on is the two teams you have in the final. But if you correctly picked the final two teams, you probably won't need the tiebreaker.

So it's basically a guess of a number between 130-170, give or take a few. Is that any way to settle a tie?

My suggestion: Total points by (team, conference, state, etc.). A couple examples:

-- We're in Ohio, so a tiebreaker could be total points scored by Ohio State in the tournament. There's some strategy involved because you have to tailor the number to how far you think the Buckeyes will advance, and your tiebreaker total will be tied to how well your bracket does.

-- Or total points scored by the Big Ten in the first round.

-- Or total points scored by teams from Ohio in the first round.

You could go plenty of ways with this depending on your affiliations and how into statistics your group is, but at least the tiebreaker would be based on something more substantial.

For the record, my first thought about a different tiebreaker was most correct picks in the first round or Sweet 16 teams, etc. But depending on the scoring system, it would be hard to arrive at a tie after the national championship game without having those numbers the same.

-- Howard Primer


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