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Mid-day talker: A great idea for an NCAA tournament pool, 2 hours too late

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • March 20, 2014 - 1:37 PM

While watching the very first Thursday game of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, we hatched a plan for a great format to run an NCAA tournament pool.

This was probably the worst time to hatch the plan because now we have the longest possible time until we can put the plan into action. That said, here is the basic idea (feel free to build upon this ... if you already run a pool in a similar way, we don't want to know about it because this was OUR IDEA. Got it?):

1) Everyone picks the games like normal. Follow us so far?

2) BUT: Let's say the tournament entry fee is $10. For another $10 PER GAME, you are allowed three halftime switches combined in the first and second rounds (OK, you know, the REAL first and second rounds, until we get to the Sweet 16). Let's say for some reason you were really keen on Colorado and had them going a long way. But they were getting hammered at halftime by Pittsburgh, like they are right now. You could switch your pick by the end of halftime for an extra $10, and this would have a ripple effect on the rest of your bracket. You could then take the No. 1 seed in the next round like a normal human being and not have your bracket ruined.

3) Why is this a fun idea? Well, let's count the ways. First, it makes you pay attention to every game Thursday-Sunday of the first weekend, like any good American should. Second, it increases the investment into the pool. Third, it makes you strategize as to when and how to use your mulligans. How much would you hate yourself if you switched your pick and the team you originally picked came back to win? What if you use up all three of your mulligans and then one of your Final Four teams is getting smoked at halftime later on? You have to sit there and kick yourself because you burned them on lesser games. Use all three. Use none. Use them poorly. Use them wisely. The choice is yours.

4) From the Sweet 16 on, this functions like a normal pool. But let's say you have 25 people in the pool. Normally you're maybe paying out $150 for first place, $70 for second and $30 for third or some such thing to equal $250 (25 times $10 a person). It bumps up the money and interest by several hundred dollars and several levels.

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