Gary Brown: Basketball knowledge can only lead to ‘March Madness’

Gary Brown

The economy can’t stand the decrease in production that will take place this week as workers fill in their betting brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament.

So, here are a few tips to speed the process up and get the economy moving again:

1. Start by picking all the favorites in the first round. A committee of college basketball experts spent all last weekend making out the seedings and you expect to do a better job on your morning break? Pick the teams with the lower seeds. Sure, there will be a handful of upsets. But if enough of us waste too much effort trying to decide which games those upsets will be, the economy will slip from a recession to a depression by Wednesday.

2. The second round gets a little more difficult. Many of the teams are more evenly matched. Still, pick all the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. Some might lose, but more will win. Play the favorites. Play the odds. Las Vegas gamblers don’t devise betting lines so they lose. For the rest of the games, pick teams you recognize. They’ve probably been good at some point or you wouldn’t have heard of them. Maybe they’re good again. Avoid teams that have initials you don’t know the words for and teams that you cannot locate in a particular state.

3. The third round is even more competitive, so here is where you should start to take some risks. It’s late in your coffee break, so you need to get back to your desk. You decide to eliminate all schools with the word “State” in them, no matter what team they’re playing. Kansas lost you money by winning in last year’s tournament? Good-bye, Jayhawks. Drove through Oklahoma once and couldn’t find a clean restroom? So long, Sooners. It really doesn’t matter whether these picks defy all logic. You never won with logic.

4. Now we’re at the regional finals. Eight games to find the “Final Four” teams. And all eight teams likely are excellent. They are so good, and so well-known that you know their mascots. Pick the toughest one. The Pittsburgh Panthers, for example, are tougher than the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but maybe not the Villanova Wildcats. The North Carolina Tar Heels sound tougher than the Syracuse Orange, which is really just a color. The Memphis Tigers are probably tougher than the Connecticut Huskies. Use your own judgment. It’s a silly system. Let’s not dwell on it. It’s just quick. Our economy needs you to be patriotically hasty.

5. We’ve come to the Final Four. Four teams that probably are pretty evenly matched. It’s a coin flip. No, really. Flip a coin. I find that one of those state quarters has the proper weight and size to give as accurate a determination of the winners of the final games in the NCAA tournament as I ever could with basketball knowledge and rational decision-making. That’s why they call it “March Madness.”

Contact Gary Brown at gary.brown@cantonrep.com