March Madness Final Four: Championship Game Prediction and Prop Bets!
So, here we are. Championship Monday. A lot of you had Louisville in the finals, almost none of you had Michigan in the finals, and you sure as shit didn't have then knocking off Wichita State (barely) and Syracuse (barely, again), respectively, to get there.
The original Angry Bird (except for Larry).
So let's establish that right out of the shoot here before I give you some "items" for tonight's game that you can root for along with me -- nobody knows anything.
Jay Bilas, who watches more college basketball than virtually any other human and, unlike the other humans in that conversation, can actually articulate convincing arguments for his opinions well -- he had Duke winning the whole thing, and had New Mexico in his Final Four.
New Mexico lost on the first day of the tournament.
So, understand, and repeat after me, nobody knows anything.
So how does a guy like Jay Bilas, and virtually every self-proclaimed "expert" for that matter (really, every human being), get roped into a bracket that looks like a slice of Swiss cheese by the time Sunday afternoon of the first weekend of the tournament is over? Because people try to get cute, try to look smart, and think that picking upsets is the way to do it. Are some of those picks based in logic? I guess.
But there's something to be said for going with the safe play.
If you had picked the higher-seeded team in the tournament (with the assumption that the four number one seeds were seeded in this order: Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga), under a 1-2-4-8-16-32 scoring format, you'd have 84 points with a shot at 116 points if Louisville won tonight. It's not a methodology that will allow you to win any multi-million participant brackets (some freak always has the finals right, even in weird UConn vs Butler type seasons), but you could win an office pool that way, or come close. (Example: In our Gow Media office pool, you'd finish in second place out of 25 entries if Louisville won tonight, just by picking chalk seeds the whole way.)
(By the way, if you need a gauge for what drives the seedings by human beings, know that using the power ratings for the teams involved in all of the games to pick winners, under the 1-2-4-8-16-32 format, you'd have the exact same total points as you would picking the chalk seeds.)
Kind of a boring, conservative way to approach the tournament (call it the Schaubian Method), but the point is, especially heading into tonight, that more often than not, the best team finds a way to win this thing. Certainly, once we've gotten down to the Final Four the best team of those four has emerged victorious a vast majority of the time the last decade.
Here are the teams involved in the last nine Final Fours with their seeds (winner in CAPS):
2012: 1 KENTUCKY, 4 Louisville, 2 Ohio State, 2 Kansas
Kentucky was the best team all season, and this Final Four was as much coronation as it was tournament.
2011: 3 CONNECTICUT, 4 Kentucky, 8 Butler, 11 Virginia Commonwealth
This was the "black sheep" Final Four here in Houston. Connecticut wasn't the best team in the field, but they were the hottest, having won five games to take the Big East tournament the week before. They were easily the best of these four teams.
2010: 5 Michigan State, 5 Butler, 2 West Virginia, 1 DUKE
Duke was in the mix as the best team in the country all season, and again, was easily the most highly touted of these four teams, although a Gordon Hayward prayer goes the other way, and we are having much different historical conversations.