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Play it safe with your bracket

Commentary

March 24, 2013
The Altoona Mirror

It's that time of the year again.

The 2013 NCAA Tournament got under way this week throughout its respective regions across the country.

The Super Bowl may be the most watched sporting event in our country. But nothing garners more active participation from sports fans than the Big Dance.

There's a reason they call it "March Madness."

Not only is the on-court action considered madness, even more maddening is the small window for people to fill out their brackets.

People scurry to finalize their brackets with less time to research the respective regions, especially since the field expanded to 68 teams a few years ago. An additional four teams to consider is not the real headache; it's how you incorporate them into the road to the Final Four.

With very little time to put together a well-researched bracket, it's no surprise people utilize their time at work to put in the leg work.

One report disclosed an estimated $1.2 billion was lost in company wages due to employees leisurely studying the field of the 68 opposed to fulfilling the undertaking of their job while still on the clock.

Nearly everybody fills out a bracket, regardless of their level of interest in basketball.

Overlooking those four "play-in" teams can ruin your bracket in a heartbeat. Look no further than the impression Virginia Commonwealth made in 2011 when they went from the newly created "First Four" to an improbable run to the Final Four.

Granted, they weren't a 15 or 16 seed, but with the committee feeling the need to use 11 and 12 seeds, the quality of these squads is high enough to make a run while ruining your chances at office-pool prizes.

At the end of the day, you'll have the most success by playing it safe. An upset in the first round? You bet. A mid-major in the Sweet 16? Sure.

Knocking off national power teams from the super six conferences en route to cutting down the nets in Atlanta? Odds are slim, at best.

Robert Spahn

Altoona

Lady Lions could go out early

It is now 17 years going back to 1996 that the Penn State Lady Lions won the Big Ten Tournament.

And in those years since, it has been Ohio State and Purdue that won the Big Ten title and/or the Big Ten tournament.

The Michigan State coach felt her team didn't have a chance against this Penn State squad that was loaded offensively and defensively. So what happened?

When you play an uptempo game like Penn State plays, you either dominate the opposition or die by how you play.

This year's team should be called the cardiac kids. They played above their heads or performed like Jekyll and Hyde.

What went wrong against the Spartans was Coquese Washington's worst nightmare. A pattern has evolved with this Penn State Lady Lions program when it comes down to playing for all the marbles. If you put money on us, you will lose your shirt.

I'm now thinking they will be lucky if they make the Elite Eight. I am not even confident they will make the Sweet 16.

Les Hart

Duncansville

 
 
 

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