Monday, March 15, 2010
6:43 PM

By Chuck Garfien

One of the most maddening parts of March Madness (for me anyway) is filling out my tournament bracket.


For one, Ive always been a sucker for picking upsets.

Sometimes this strategy works perfectly. Like in 1996, when I correctly picked No. 13 Princeton to beat No. 4 UCLA in the first round. The Tigers won 43-41. My co-workers were stunned. They hailed me as a basketball genius!

That was until the next round when I erroneously predicted that No. 9 Virginia Tech would knock off No. 1 Kentucky. Not only did the Wildcats win that game 84-60, they went on to win the whole darn tournament, sending my bracket to the closest shredder. Who won the pool? Why that would be our non-sports fan weather forecaster who picked Kentucky to win it all because she heard that Ashley Judd went to school there.


Well, this year I have tried a groundbreaking new strategy. Actually, I have two of them.

The first is the Peoples Bracket. I have carelessly gathered the opinions of a wide assortment of people ... CSN Bracketologist David Kaplan, Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, random Chicagoans I ran into on the street in five minutes. I also received the professional advice of Nancy Garfien, my mother.

What this produced was a Final Four consisting of Kansas, New Mexico, Xavier, and Villanova, with 'Nova winning it all. Do I like these picks? No, not at all. Do I have a chance of winning? Yes! At least until the tournament begins when I will probably be asking myself, Why did I listen to that guy from Vancouver who knows nothing about college basketball and go with Xavier? He couldnt even pronounce it!


My second idea was a revolutionary approach that takes no time at all. Fill out a bracket as fast as possible. Dont do any research. Dont get any help. And by all means ... don't think ... ABOUT ANYTHING. It will only mess you up.

With a pen in hand, I flew through my bracket in about 45 seconds. When it was over, I found that I had a trembling hand, a developing blister, and three Big East teams in the Final Four with Kansas winning it all.

Much better.

Click here to see the two brackets. Well see which wins out in the end. Go Musketeers (that would be Xavier)!