This evening, you will be able to print out a bracket and join your family and office pools in predicting the NCAA Tournament. When you make your picks, make sure to create an entry into SB Nation's Wisdom of the Crowds bracket group hosted on Yahoo!'s Tourney Pick'Em site. Make it fun and recruit your family to join! But beware, bracket contests with your family can be frustrating. Here's how it usually plays out:
You are a bracket champ. You've watched out-of-market games on off-shore streaming sites; been dialed in to conference tournaments; and have kept up season-long research of many teams using RPI, bracketology, and stats from Ken Pomeroy. You fill out your bracket and know exactly which mid-majors are ready to spring upsets, which major-conference powers are pretenders, and you are ready to roll. YOU GOT THIS!
Except that you don't. The mid-major dark horse you were certain would get to the Sweet 16 (or Elite 8?) flames out in the first round and wrecks an entire region on your bracket. Slowly but surely, your bracket falls apart and winning your family pool seems unlikely.
Your sweet wife endures your sports addiction all year, and participates in your bracket pool just to play along. Her strategy is simple: which mascot would beat the other in a fight. UNLV over Cal (Rebels have guns), Colorado State over Creighton, Iowa State over Cincinnati. This generally ends poorly, but becomes frustrating when she scores on a major unseen upset.
Your dad doesn't watch nearly as much hoops as you. He has other things going. He's retired, but he works a part-time job to stay busy, has a church calling, and spends plenty of time with grandkids. He knows what RPI is and has heard of Ken Pomeroy, but has no time or inclination to look any of it up. His bracket is full of chalk. He doesn't often get the champ right, but his teams stay in the tournament long enough to rack up points and keep him competing for the title until the end. "You out-think yourself," your dad says.
Mom has a general idea of which teams are usually good, knowledge that rubbed off from your dad. She'll pick some traditional powers and gravitate toward favorites when she isn't sure. For games that are tough for her to call, especially after the first round, she'll consult her geographical preferences. "Kansas State versus Virginia ... I loved Virginia when we were out east on that U.S. History trip. I'll go with Virginia." Mom's success with this strategy ebbs and flows -- but her excitement when it works is definitely frustrating.
Your sister employs a random combination of strategies. Which team has better school colors, mascots, geographical location, or how much a schools name (Saint Bonaventure) makes her giggle. She couldn't care less how she does and this strategy stinks, but she'll still rub in every single victory she claims over you when it happens.
So get to it, and get frustrated!
And make sure you add your picks on Yahoo! Tourney Pick'Em. Yahoo! Tourney Pick'em supports SBNation and the best college sports tournament of the year. Join the bracket pools of Drew Brees, Michael Phelps, and Lil Wayne-- all while competing in the $5 million Perfect Bracket and $10,000 Best Bracket Sweepstakes. Be part of the best and biggest Yahoo! Sports tourney game yet – sign up today!