Skip to main content

Busted Brackets

Posted by Tom Friedman on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Small Business Today Articles

Like many of you, I am a college basketball fan.  This is a really fun time of year with so many basketball games to watch and enjoy.  Last year was a lot fun when son Ted and his UNI basketball team made the big tournament and made history with both of the games they played.  Unfortunately, they did not make it to post season play this season.  It is also a time when people who do not normally follow college basketball get into the spirit and fill out a bracket, predicting who will win each game.  The really nice thing about pools in 2017 vs. the early 1990’s is automation.  I remember a coworker back in the 90’s working more on tabulating brackets than he was working on banking.  Some even place money on their predictions.  All part of the madness that happens in March.

Even though I do watch college basketball more than some, my experience is generally limited to watching the Missouri Valley Conference.  In 2017, only one team from that conference was invited to the big tournament.  One out of 64, or one out of 68, depending on how you treat the first four games.  So when I decided to fill out a bracket for a pool with people that I work with and a pool of my wife’s family members, I decided to see what the experts were predicting.  I went to a web site from a major television network and looked at their predictions, so that mine would be better.  I went through each of the games, writing down my prediction, and then compared it to the experts.  Most of the time the experts and I would agree, sometimes I decided to predict an upset.

After the first round I was feeling pretty good about my picks.  In one pool I was tied for second and in the other pool I was tied for third.  Not the best, but still within striking distance.  So I decided to check my overall accuracy against the 4 experts that I relied on in making my picks.  In the first round I was a respectable 28-4.  The experts averaged 22-10, with the best showing 27-5 and the worst at 19-13.

The second round brought major upsets.  The top overall seed got beat, as did two number two seeds.  Unfortunately, I predicted that all three of those teams would not only win, but win even more games in the future.  My standings in the pools fell dramatically.  Now I am tied for 16th in one pool and tied for 20th in the other.  Hope for wining, or even coming in the top three are fading fast.  The experts averaged only 7 wins out of the 16 games, I was 10-6.

As small business owners we need to rely on experts to help us in the areas where we do not have expertise.  That could be accounting, banking, law, insurance, marketing, design or any number of areas.  How we choose that expert to help us what counts.  For help with my basketball bracket, I randomly picked 4 experts of the 13 the major television network asked to publish brackets.  I would not recommend picking an expert for your business randomly.  What I do recommend is asking people you trust for recommendations. Interview the top 2 or 3 and choose one that fits best for your company and your personality.  If the expert has experience in your industry, all the better.

Even though my brackets are busted, and my chances of winning either pool are low, I will still watch the last 15 games with interest.  Plus I will check out how the experts I used for reference are doing.  Then again, there is always next year.

About The Author

Tom Friedman

Thomas J. Friedman
Market President, Ankeny
515-777-7172 Email

Back to Top