Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The ESPN Tourney Draft begins today
By Eamonn Brennan
For as much as people love their pools (and I am one of them), that's not the only way to slice and dice the bracket for your prognosticatory needs. I have buddies that use a "Calcutta" bidding format (lots of jelly beans being bid on Kentucky this year, methinks) and I know lots of people who use fantasy football-style drafts, which compiles different tournament entities into a "team" and assigns points for advancement into the field.
We've got traditional brackets galore (join our blog pool here and show us how it's done), but we decided to get in on the fun. From noon to 4 p.m. ET today, yours truly faced off with ESPN.com's own Jason King, Mark Schlabach and John Gasaway in the first-ever ESPN Tourney Draft. (To follow along on Twitter, hit hashtag #ESPNTourneyDraft.) The rules went as follows:
Scoring is simple and straightforward: Rounds 1 and 2: 1 point; Round 3: 2 points; Round 4: 4 points; Round 5: 8 points; Round 6: 16 points; Champion: 32 points. (Yes, we're assigning a point to the winners of the play-in rounds. All part of the drafting strategy.)
Draft order determined by alphabetical order of surname. Again: simple.
Really, that's pretty much it. Here's how the teams came out.
Gasaway: Ohio State, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Indiana, Memphis, New Mexico, Florida, Saint Louis, Purdue, Virginia, Belmont, Texas, Iowa State, South Dakota State, BYU, Lehigh, UNC-Asheville
King: North Carolina, Missouri, Baylor, Wichita State, Cincinnati, UConn, Xavier, Cal, NC State, New Mexico State, Detroit, Colorado, St. Bonaventure, Montana, South Florida, Norfolk State, Vermont
Schlabach: Kansas, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, Duke, Michigan, Long Beach State, Notre Dame, Murray State, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, Davidson, SDSU, Southern Miss, Alabama, Western Kentucky, Miss. Valley State, LIU Brooklyn
As for my team, well, I tend to like our chances. Nabbing Kentucky with the first pick was a no-brainer, of course, but Florida State looks even better now that Syracuse's Fab Melo has been deemed ineligible for the entire tournament, which proved a major hit to Mr. Gasaway's squad and a major boost to Schlabach, who loves the Vanderbilt selection even more than he did when he chose it. John, being the tempo-free devotee that he is, hewed to an effective value-based efficiency strategy. My strategy was similar going in, but I was a little bit more worried about spreading my risk throughout my bracket and focusing more on teams (at least in the early rounds) that had good chances of progressing past the second weekend.
How'd I do? I'm not really sure. But it doesn't hurt to have the clear tournament favorite land in your lap.