Sports and Ish With Lurk: All The NCAA Tournament Prep You Will Ever Need

1. When you make your picks, follow this rule: Chalk, chalk, chalk.
Since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the following are facts:

  • There have been 28 champions in that period; 25 were were seeded in the top 3 of the tournament.
  • 18 champions were the 1-seed in their regions.
  • 12 of those champions were also ranked number 1 for at least a portion of the season in the AP Top 25 (Top 20 before 1989).

Bottom line: love your aces.   There’s a reason why these teams get ranked number 1.

2. When you make your picks, follow this rule: chalk, chalk, chalk.
  • There have been 28 champions since 1985; the Big Twelve (2 champions), PAC Ten (2 champions), Big Ten (3 champions), Big East (5 champions), SEC (6 champions, and ACC (8 champions) have accounted for 26 of them.

Final Four Kentucky Kansas BasketballBottom line: love your major conferences. There’s a reason why the same conferences keep bringing home the cheddar.  Big-time conferences are made up of big-time teams. Big-time teams are made up of big-time players. This is the difference between Kentucky and, say, Southern Illinois University (a perennial bracket-buster which manages to hover right around that 60th-to-70th team range): Kentucky gets guys that have a shot at the NBA. SIU gets guys that will only stay in basketball if they start coaching.

Also, remember this: since 2006, the NBA has not taken high schoolers straight into the league. Of the champions since the League declared itself a man’s game, only Kentucky (2012) has featured a roster full of one-and-dones, and they are the exception, not the rule. Recent champions have been made up of blue-chip players that have played for two or more seasons in their respective conferences against other blue-chip players of a similar vintage. The key point is this: I am NOT talking about teams with rosters chock-full of NBA-ready players. That is where many bracket pickers make their mistake. As great as Kevin Durant was, his 4th-ranked Texas Longhorns got dropped in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament by 5th-ranked USC (featuring another future NBA player in Taj Gibson). Champions are made of teams that are made up of good players who play well together.
3. When you make your picks, follow this rule: chalk, chalk, chalk.


  • There have been 28 champions since 1985; Kentucky (3 times, 8 overall), North Carolina (3 times, 5 overall), UConn (3 times), and Duke (4 times) account for 13 of them.

Bottom line: love your legacy teams. There’s a reason why the same names continue to show up with trophies. Certain schools do not need to recruit. They only need to have roster space. Using Kevin Durant as an example, he is actually an outlier, having gone to Texas. His teammate, Russel Westbrook, went to UCLA, a school with a significantly higher profile.

4. When you make your picks, follow this rule: chalk, chalk, chalk.
  • There have been 28 champions since 1985; 19 of those champions were ranked in the top 3 of the AP Top 25 (Top 20 before 1989) for a portion of the season.This season, the teams that have spent at least one week ranked 3 or higher are: Gonzaga, Indiana, Duke, Kansas, Miami, Michigan, Louisville, Florida, Ohio State, Syracuse, and Arizona. Of those teams, Gonzaga, Indiana, Duke, Michigan, and Louisville have spent more than three weeks in the top 3. It sez so right here that your champion will be one of those five teams. In particular, don’t be afraid to pick Gonzaga if they get a number 1 seed; they have moved up in the rankings every week since December 17. That is consistently good basketball, the kind that traditionally does well in the tournament.

Bottom line: trust your eyes.  Teams that have been good all year will be good in the tournament, match-ups be damned.

hi-res-7063730_crop_650x440I can’t say it enough. If you are picking upsets in your bracket, you are picking against the trend. Chalk teams always make it through. When you factor in their relative strength over the regular season and their tournament seeding, good schools have an easier path to the title than lesser schools do. This is why the lowest ranked teams to win the title since 1985 are Villanova (1985, 8-seed), Kansas (1988, 6-seed), and Arizona (1997, 4-seed); of these three, Villanova and Kansas were unranked in their respective Top 20’s.
In other words, every champion since 1989 has been ranked in the AP Top 25.
Thus, don’t tell me anything about Northwest Blah-Blah State from the Sun Valley Conference looking dangerous at a 14-seed in the West. I ain’t tryna hear from some mid-major in a major conference. I don’t care if the University of Blah-Blah is 5-3 against Top 25 teams this season. The numbers are what they are.


Pick your winners from the winners.


Hex is about as wrong as two left feet and there is nothing right about him. Every time we yell at Hex, his rebuttal is always that we are doing so simply because he is Black....yeah..think about that.



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