Winning a March Madness pool: emotion or expertise?

Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:20pm EDT
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By Eric Johnson

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Pssst. Your March Madness bracket is waiting to be completed.

You bombed out early last year by picking Kansas to win it all. In case you haven't noticed, they are a No. 1 seed again.

It is that agonizing time of year, when die-hard college basketball fans hatch elaborate strategies to pick NCAA tournament winners, only to be beaten by colleagues choosing by jersey color or nicknames.

Twenty percent of U.S. employees participate in a March Madness pool at work, according to a 2010 survey by Tens of billions of dollars change hand in the process.

"Do you go with veterans? Do you go with good guards? Do you go with the hot team? Do you go with the power conferences?" asked Dave Nagle, a spokesman for ESPN, which will televise more than 60 games of the tournament.

"Or you choose by nicknames -- sometimes that can work just as well," he said.

For Jeff Malach, 27, an attorney who has participated in pools for years, emotion is not part of the process.

"I pick based upon my knowledge. I like teams with good guards, experienced coaches, teams with seniors, and I also listen a bit to what the experts say."   Continued...