Two weeks ago, just after the selection committee released the field and just before the play-in games got underway, we decided to take on the tournament prediction process in a slightly different way. Myself, John Gasaway, Jason King and Mark Schlabach participated in the inaugural ESPN Tourney Draft. We each selected 17 teams in a snake-style draft, picking for value and hoping for the best.
After the first weekend, Gasaway and King were out in front, with yours truly trailing by four points. Schlabach fell way behind the pack, and with just two teams in the Sweet 16 (John and Jason had five, I had four) Mark's odds of success looked unlikely.
Where does the ESPN Tourney Draft stand now? I've got to say: I like my chances.
Eamonn Brennan: 41 points (Final Four teams: Kentucky, Louisville)
John Gasaway: 41 points (Final Four teams: Ohio State)
Jason King: 28 points (Final Four teams: none)
Mark Schlabach: 22 points (Final Four teams: Kansas)
Looking good, right? I know. I'm excited too, you guys.
Of course, there's still a chance I could lose this thing. Why? Our scoring system is as follows: 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.
I'm guaranteed another 16 points, because either Kentucky or Louisville is going to win on Saturday. That's just math. But I'm also guaranteed to lose another team Saturday, too, and if either Ohio State or Kansas wins both games and takes home the title, our imbalanced scoring system (we probably should have thought that one through a bit, but hey: live and learn) will guarantee a win for John or even Mark, despite his horrendous and, if I may say so, downright embarrassing performance to date. In an ideal world, those unlikely Louisville Cardinals would be on the other side of the bracket, and I would have a chance at notching a full 32 points on Saturday alone, making my position unassailable despite the outcome of the national championship game on Monday.
But I'd also like a million dollars and a bathtub that doubles as a nacho cheese fountain; you can't always get what you want. As it is, I'm pretty happy. I have two teams in the Final Four, including the overwhelming favorite to win it all. Why? Because our editor, Brian Kelly, created the draft order based on the first letter of our last names. Take that, other letters in the alphabet! Now let's bring this thing home, huh?