Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One tournament, one sheet

As millions across the country are spending the first three days this week filling out their NCAA basketball tournament bracket, either the old-fashioned way at the copy machine or online, here's one of my bracket pet peeves.

How many NCAA Division I men's tournaments are there? I believe there's one. So how many brackets should be filled? I believe the answer is also one.

These contest pools that allow for multiple brackets and picks go against the spirit of the challenge. You should have one chance to fill out a bracket and let that be that. So what if someone correctly picked UConn losing in the second round on their No. 8 bracket they filled out? Now, I'm impressed if someone had UConn going out in their one and only bracket.

Multiple brackets eliminate the tough choices and allows for more upset picks. It waters down the whole process. It's like hitting five free throws in a row during a stretch of shooting 25 times. Go up and knock down your first five.

This yearly is a debate topic on ESPN radio's "Mike and Mike" Show. I side with Mike Greenberg, who goes with his one tournament selection, calling it "the sheet of integrity." Mike Golic will fill out 10 brackets.

By the way, what are the odds of filling out a perfect NCAA tournament bracket of all 64 games? USA Today calculated the odds about five years ago, and called it the toughest thing to do in sports. The odds are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1 - or nine quintillion-to-one.

You see, if you do that with one chance, that's pretty doggone good. Now, if you have 10 chances, well, shoot, anyone can do that.

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