Printers hum with NCAA brackets

Some players rely on research, others on luck

By The Mercury

If you’ve never heard of the Society of Resource Management, don’t worry. That firm is saying — betting? — that 57 percent of America’s workplaces will hold NCAA tournament pools this year.

The company didn’t say what percentage of police departments will be conducting pools, but some mysteries are better left unsolved. Besides, we’d like to believe the cops have better things to do than harass NCAA pool participants…like worrying about their own brackets.

The bracket deadline comes early — Tuesday — since the tournament expanded to 68 teams and what was commonly known as the first round became the second round. Less clear is whether getting two fewer days to fill out our brackets will make any difference. Common sense suggests that folks who use the extra time studying would fare a little better. Trouble is, not only does common sense siphon some of the fun out of this annual exercise, evidence about its impact is mixed.

Everyone knows there will be upsets and will pick a few in the early rounds. But picking the right ones can be as much a matter of luck as anything else — not that this is a game of chance…

Pool winners have come from the ranks of the studious, to be sure. They’ve also, however, come from participants who based their choices on team colors, team mascots and old-fashioned sentiment. It’s not hard to root for the home team when it just costs a buck.

On the subject of home teams, Kansas State University, the No. 4 seed in the West Region, has about as good a chance as anyone to end up smiling in Atlanta, where the Final Four will be played. The Wildcats will open play Friday against the winner of the play-in game between Boise State and LaSalle. If the Cats win, as they will be expected to do, they get the winner of the Wisconsin-Mississippi game. That game is winnable, and not just because like the Wildcats’ first game, it will be played in Kansas City.

In fact, for K-State, as for many teams, all games are winnable. With the exception of the No.1 vs. No.16 matches, all of which have been won by the top seeds, history has shown that anything can happen.

History also has shown that it helps to be both good and lucky during March Madness. K-State, at 27-7, is plenty good. We hope that if needed, the Wildcats will be a little lucky as well.

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