CBT’s guide to running a perfect 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket pool

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One of the best things about March Madness is that it sweeps across the entire nation and gets all of the casual sports fans involved. For a few weeks every year, the country turns its complete attention to the NCAA Tournament, and a lot of it has to do with filling out a bracket and entering a pool.

Since the CBT staff has been in dozens of different NCAA Tournament pools over the years, we decided to help guide you in the right direction on the ways to make your pool the best that it can be.

WHAT SHOULD YOU PLAY FOR? Pride.

Just kidding. Money. Play for money.

If you’re looking to get as many people as you can get, likely go with a $5 entry fee. If you’re in a group of high rollers than double it to $10. If you and a small group of friends are just plain, degenerate gamblers looking for a big payout, make it an even $20, and keep the pool of entrants small.

Not into losing money? That’s cool. You can come up with a prize for the winner, or better yet, a punishment for the loser.

Again, you’re not playing for pride, your playing to humiliate others. Are you tired of your co-worker constantly forcing his uniformed hot takes into every daily conversation? How about your friend who only cares about college basketball when your alma mater loses? This is your opportunity to shut them up.

In a way, a bracket pool is simply one’s pursuit to become Danny DeVito’s character from Matilda.

WHAT SHOULD THE SCORING SYSTEM BE? This is up for debate.

It all depends on what you value more. If you believe predicting the Final Four and national champion is a greater accomplishment than having a perfect first round, then go with this scoring:

First Round: 1 point

Second Round: 2 points

Sweet 16: 4 points

Elite Eight: 8 points

Final Four: 16 points

Title Game: 32 points

RELATED: Power Rankings 1-68 | Duke deserved a No. 1 seed | Committee got bubble right

REGIONAL BREAKDOWNS: East | Midwest | South | West

Did a few teams you had going to the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight get upset, or did a few Cinderellas never pan out? No worries, you can still make up ground if you have your Final Four still intact.

The other approach is to just increase the points by one each round, like this:

Round of 64: 1 point

Round of 32: 2 points

Sweet 16: 3 points

Elite Eight: 4 points

Final Four: 5 points

Title Game: 6 points

With scoring like this, it adds value to first round on Thursday and Friday. And we all know those are the best days of the NCAA Tournament, so why not make them more enticing?

REGIONAL BREAKDOWNS: East | Midwest | South | West

SHOULD YOU ALLOW PEOPLE TO BUY-IN WITH MULTIPLE BRACKETS? I’m going to let Lawrence from Office Space answer that question.

Never be the guy who justifies having their entire Final Four bounced by Sunday by saying, “Well, in my other bracket …”

First of all, I want to hear about your other bracket like I want to hear about your fantasy football team.

Now there is an exception. Submit as many brackets as you’d like to online contests. I, too, want that Warren Buffett money. Just don’t talk about your other brackets. Make one of them public and ride or die with it.

RELATED: Power Rankings 1-68 | Duke deserved a No. 1 seed | Committee got bubble right

HOW SHOULD YOU SEND THE INITIAL EMAIL/WELCOME LETTER? We’ve likely all seen an email, received a group text or have been @’d in a tweet from a friend, classmate, colleague, asking us to join their bracket pool.

I’ve already ignored one group text, and it was sent from one of my best friends, so that’s how effective those can be.

If you’re in an office or on a campus, the best way to get people in your bracket pool is to do it face-to-face. If email or texts is the only way to get it done, you have to be persistent. Be clear about, what buy-in is and the potential payout is, what the scoring is etc. If you’re not using an online site that automatically updates the score, you best keep your entrants up-to-date, round-by-round, on the scores and the leaders.

When someone submits a bracket, get their money. I can’t stress that enough. I’m not advocating for you to do your best Tony Soprano’s impression while you hunt down Steve for his $10. Be more like a university calling alumni asking for donations … annoyingly nice and tireless until they get that money.

There you have it, the guide to successfully running an bracket pool. If you have any advice or any ideas of your own, leave them in the comment section.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.