Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Dinger Of A Ringer

The popularity of the NCAA men's basketball tournament amazes me. When I moved to the United States, I knew that "March Madness" gripped the nation at this time of year. I just seriously underestimated the strength of that grip!

The productivity lost as a result of people agonizing over their bracket selections must be in the many billions of dollars. At the firm I joined when I first moved to New York, the office betting pool was taken very seriously. There was a "Commissioner" (usually a senior associate) whose job was to oversee things and a group of five or six other people (typically junior associates) who were responsible for collecting the bracket sheets and, most importantly, the money for the pool--$10 per entry.

Shortly after joining the firm, I became great friends with a guy named Peter who was a real college basketball guru. Peter came by his basketball knowledge from the inside--he attended Princeton on a full basketball scholarship before getting his JD at Cornell Law School. While I wallowed in ignorance and finished near the bottom of the pool, in the three years that we worked together, Peter always finished right near the top just out of the money.

My big break came when Peter left the firm and moved to Menlo Park in June 2000. For the next four years, in addition to submitting my own entry, I submitted several more entries in conjunction with Peter, with Peter making the expert picks and me ponying up the bucks. How did we do? Well, my ill-advised "pure guesses" beat Peter's picks every time! Talk about a dinger of a ringer!

In any event, set forth below are my picks for this year:

I know that the print is tiny but it's as big as I can get it. In making my selections, I used the same strategy that I always do: pick the heavy favorites and then randomly choose upsets when two teams are fairly closely ranked. I've picked Duke as the champion, defeating highly-touted North Carolina in the final.

I have no idea who Peter is picking. We just talk about other stuff at this time of the year now....

No comments: