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.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Chris Webber accepts Jim Harbaugh’s invitation to be honorary Michigan football captain

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The frosty relationship between Chris Webber and the University of Michigan could be thawing — thanks to an invitation from football head coach Jim Harbaugh.

On Friday, Harbaugh called in to WTKA’s “The M Zone” as show host Jamie Morris had Webber on the show. Harbaugh offered Webber the opportunity to be an honorary captain for the Michigan football team next season, to which Webber replied that he would love the opportunity.

Webber, a former member of the “Fab Five” who helped the Wolverines to two consecutive NCAA tournament title-game appearances in 1992 and 1993, has not associated directly with the school, or with other members of the Fab Five, for many years.

The NCAA mandated that Webber and Michigan not associate with one another for 10 years after the Ed Martin booster scandal. Webber has always been reluctant to participate in anything Michigan or Fab Five related. When the famous Fab Five documentary was made a few years ago, Webber was the only member of the quintet not to participate in the making of the film. Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson all have a solid relationship with the University of Michigan at this point.

Webber later criticized the film during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, as King and Rose fired back with responses to reignite the feud. In the past, Rose has also been vocal in his belief that Webber should apologize for what happened at Michigan, as the group is hoping to move forward.

Although Webber still isn’t mending fences with the other Fab Five members, or the basketball program, returning to Michigan in some kind of official capacity is a big deal considering his past with the school.

Harbaugh and Webber haven’t decided on a game for next season yet as that will be something to watch for over the next several months.

Akoy Agau returning to Louisville as graduate transfer

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Louisville received a boost to its frontcourt rotation on Friday as former big man Akoy Agau will return to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau originally committed and enrolled at Louisville for a season and a half to begin his college hoops career before transferring to Georgetown. After leaving the Hoyas to play at SMU last season, Agau received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after battling injury for much of his career.

Agau gives Louisville an experienced forward who should earn some solid minutes next season. With the Mustangs during the 2017-18 season, Agau averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 16.1 minutes per contest.

While this isn’t the biggest splash for the Cardinals, they have plenty of scholarships to use for next season as new head coach Chris Mack tries to find a stable rotation. Getting a graduate transfer like Agau, who should be familiar with the school and the conference at the very least, is a nice step for a one-year placeholder.

NCAA President Mark Emmert got a $500,000 raise in 2016

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NCAA president Mark Emmert, the man in charge of a non-profit association that doesn’t have enough money to pay its laborers, received a $500,000 raise for the 2016 calendar year, bringing his total income to more than $2.4 million, according to an NCAA tax return that was obtained by USA Today.

That number actually pales in comparison to the salaries that are received by the commissioners of the Power 5 conferences.

But there’s not enough money to pay the players.

Nope.

Everyone is broke.

Carry on with your day, and pray for the well-being of NCAA administrators like Mark Emmert, whose salary is in no way whatsoever inflated by amateurism, which allows the schools and the NCAA to bank all of the advertising revenue that college basketball and football brings in and bars the players themselves from accessing that money.