While many conference tournaments are already underway across the country, the ‘big boys’ start their tournaments next week. We are just nine days from Selection Sunday and while the little conferences have their say in who will represent them, the larger conferences have no such worries.
Conferences like the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and so on know they will have multiple schools getting into the big dance while conferences like the Ohio Valley or SWAC are more than likely looking at just one team, the conference champion, getting in.
Fair or not, that’s the way basketball in the collegiate ranks works. It’s also why we as fans pay so little attention to these tournaments until their championship games are set. Even then our interest is little and is much more focused on the major conference tournaments ahead.
If you are already foaming at the mouth at the thought of filling out your NCAA brackets then I have something to tide you over. Many of you are already doing this but I know many of you aren’t and you are missing out!
I’m always on the lookout for numerous ways to gamble around the office. It’s a good way to build morale and goodwill in the workplace. All too often, we assume that there is nothing to do between the Super Bowl and the NCAA Tournament and I’m telling you that just isn’t so.
Depending upon where you live in the United States, you should be holding a conference tournament pool based on your nearest major conference.
If you live in Texas then you should be hosting an office pool for the Big 12 Conference Tournament or perhaps the SEC Tournament for you A&M folks.
If you’re in the upper Northeast you should have an American Athletic Conference Tournament pool or ACC if you’re in New York, Boston or Western PA.
I think you get the idea….
What you’ll want to do is just set up a very standard bracket. For the Big Ten, you can print them right off at BigTen.org. The amount of money you decide per entry is up to you and hopefully you’ve been your office’s ‘gaming commissioner’ long enough to know whether $2 per sheet is good or if $20 per sheet is the number.
I suggest filling out the bracket as you would any NCAA bracket but there a couple of things to consider. Because you’re dealing with a small amount of games, you might want to give point values to each round of the conference tournament.
This will help eliminate some potential ties but it won’t alleviate all of them. Therefore, you’ll need a tie-breaker and I have two such ways of going about this.
The most standard practice is to go with “Write in the final score of the conference championship game.” You could use point spread first or use closest in terms of total points for the tie-breaker as well.
The other option for tie-breaker (or as a second tie-breaker if you have a small number of players) is to have each entrant choose the tournament’s most valuable player. This can be quite fun because almost always we see teams make runs to the conference title game that we never saw coming.
That means a larger pool of players to potentially choose from.
Regardless of what you do, don’t wait around for Selection Sunday and March Madness. Get the madness going sooner by wagering on conference tournaments next week. Good luck!