Ultimate College Basketball Draft Stakes


Main Pool

We previously described the format of the Ultimate College Basketball Draft Pool, but we didn’t get into the details of what we play for.  It’s not just for bragging rights. 

If you’re a college basketball fanatic like we are, and you’ve never been to Las Vegas for the first round of March Madness, you have no idea what you are missing.  The place is packed (we’re talking pre- and hopefully post-COVID here), wall-to-wall with college basketball fans.  Every game is on everywhere, and pretty much every shot is important.  There are people going crazy over every play, because it matters for the spread, or the total, or the first to 15, or any other crazy bet you can think of.  

Thursday we usually try to get someone to get up early (definitely not me) and post up at sports bar or restaurant that has a good tv set up and doesn’t require reservations.  We’ve been at various sports bars, and the past few years found a good spot in the LINQ promenade.  On Friday we usually make an all-day reservation at a sports bar or some other destination.  Recently we’ve done places like TAP at MGM, and Top Golf.  Usually, the reservation requires some minimum spend per person.  

So, getting back to what we’re playing for.  The main pool counts the total points for all 65 picks, through selection Sunday seedings.  The winner does not have to pay for the Friday game-watching festivities.  I won for 2021, but since we didn’t go to Las Vegas in March 2021, we modified it for 2022.  I will still get Friday free, and the winner this year will get Thursday paid for.  I plan on winning again this year and drinking on the boys for the entire first round.  

For the record, the up to the minute standings has Berger leading by four points over me.  His teams have a better record, but my conference record is a little better, and I have more Kenpom points. 

Last 10 Picks

This year we decided to add an additional bet for the best Last 10 picks of the draft.  This is obviously meant to show who has the best deep knowledge when picking teams 220-260.  Or who is luckiest.  As mentioned in the pool post, it made for some interesting strategy when we got to rounds 50-55, just before the last 10.  If there was a team you were high on, you had to decide if you thought they would fall to the last 10 rounds where they would be more valuable.  

Whichever person’s last 10 teams scores the most points for the season wins the Last 10 bet.  The other three people have to give the winner a $25 chip.  The winner has to bet those chips on hardway bets in craps.  If any of the hardway bets wins, the winner has to use the money to buy drinks for everyone.  

At the moment, I am leading in the last 10 bet by five points over Dom.  I have Montana St. (14-5, 6-2) IPFW (10-8, 5-4) and Hawaii (9-5, 4-0) leading the way for me.

Side Bet and Delta

The other two bets are related.  The side bet was born because Berger had a very top-heavy draft last year and wanted to win something because his best ten teams were better than those of the leader.  We felt bad for him, so we came up with the side bet.  

For the side bet, everybody picks ten of their drafted teams to put up against the ten picked by everyone else.  We pick our ten teams on January 1st, so we’ve seen the non-conference games, and a few conference games, but there is still a lot of projection to be done, to figure out which teams that aren’t in your top 10 on January 1st will end up there by the end of the year.

After we came up with the side bet, another obvious bet presented itself.  Who would be the best at projecting which of their teams would be among their ten best?  Maybe your ten best aren’t good enough to win the side bet, but there should be some reward for picking your best possible lineup.  Thus was born the Delta bet.  For the delta bet, we compare the the ten teams each person picked to their actual ten best at the end of the year, and the smallest difference (or delta) wins.  

Actually, for these bets, the winner isn’t as important as the loser.  The person that loses the side bet (their ten teams have the lowest total) has to buy Goldbelly for the other three people.  Last year Sim lost the side bet, and we all got some Shaq’s Big Chicken on him.  The person that loses the Delta bet has to buy “something” for the three winners.  Originally it was a hat.  Last year Dom had the worst Delta, by far, and bought us some sweet Letterkenny swag, including a hat.  

This year, I purposefully put myself in a big side bet/delta hole with my picks.  On January 1, my top ten teams, in order, were Houston, Kansas, Providence, Kentucky, South Dakota St, VCU, San Diego St, Michigan St, Montana, and then a five-way tie for 10th.  I had some other teams that I thought were going to be really good in conference – Illinois, Belmont, Loyola-Chicago, Vermont, Toledo.  I decided that I liked Illinois more than Michigan St, so I swapped them.  I felt like Belmont and Vermont were strong contenders to smoke their conferences, so I swapped them in for Providence and VCU.  Arizona was one of the teams tied for tenth, and they had to be in the top 10.  That left Loyola, Toledo and Montana.  I decided to go for Loyola, as I had the highest hope for them making the tournament as an at-large.  That meant that as of January 1, I was in a 20-point hole:

As of today, I’ve erased a quarter of that negative total.  The person who took almost all of their top ten teams on January 1, Sim, has fared the worst and is already down to a -21. 

There is a long way to go, though, and we’ll udpate the standings later in the season.