Cuse Country’s “Pick With Your Heart” Bracket Challenge

It’s the time of year when brackets are flying fast and furious off of Xerox machines in offices nationwide, as well as popping up on every corner of the Internet. We here at Cuse Country have in the past added to the mayhem in our own special way. We ran our own NIT bracket challenges in 2007 and 2008. The first one was out of spite, as we (along with the rest of the thinking world) felt the sting of being snubbed off the bubble, and decided to boycott the NCAAs and focus our energy on the NIT instead. The second one was dubbed “March Sadness” and was more of an exercise in self-immolation. But hey, we got it linked by Deadspin… so there’s that. Anyway, last year we were free of bracket-related activity of any kind, but with the historic #1 seed that SU has achieved, we have decided it’s time to get back into the game. So we are going to hold our own bracket contest, but unlike other online contests we are going to do this one Syracuse style.

There is always some difficulty this week for those of us who bleed orange — we want to win our pools, but we don’t want to root against Syracuse. (I’m sure fans of every other school face this same conundrum.) We’ve all been there, feeling like we have to choose the team we expect to win rather than the team we desperately want to win. From this existential quandary are born the two rules of the Cuse Country “Pick With Your Heart” Bracket Challenge:

1. It’s free to enter.
2. You must pick Syracuse to win it all.

Thus freeing you from any angst derived from picking against your favorite team. (Unless you are a closet Vermont fan.) Any brackets not choosing Syracuse to win will be summarily disqualified.

The bracket will use the normal 1-2-4-8-16-32 scoring system, with one alteration: if you pick Georgetown to lose in the first round you get 10 bonus points, regardless of whether they actually lose or not. Picking them to lose in the second round gets you 5 bonus points. Because it’s 11:48 PM and Georgetown still sucks.

There will be fabulous prizes for the winner, maybe for the top 2 or 3, depending on what sort of fabulous prizes I can find on the internet for cheap.

We’ve set up our bracket on, so you will have to create a user account on there to participate (though I imagine many of you already have one). Follow this link to join our bracket group. The group password is “douglas20″ in honor of the one and only Sherm. You have just about until the games start on Thursday to join and enter your picks. Welcome to the Challenge and:



  1. Michael
    Posted March 17, 2010 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    I might be convinced to donate my gently used size-11 SU Crocs to the prize pool.

    I also advocate bonus points for early losses by Duke because of the way the bracket was put together this year, and, well, because they’re Duke.


  2. Posted March 17, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Extra points if you pick Cuse over Kentucky with a total score of 143?

  3. Dave
    Posted March 17, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    You probably want to rework the Georgetown sucks bonus points formula. Right now it doesn’t make any sense to pick them to do anything other than lose in the first round or make it to the Elite 8 or better; they have to make the elite 8 before you’d recover the points you’re passing on by having them go out early, and the math never makes sense to have them lose in the 2nd round (you do better by having them lose in the first and just being wrong).

  4. MrPlow99
    Posted March 17, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Dave, I think that’s the point.

  5. Posted March 18, 2010 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    I don’t think I’ve ever said this particular sentence before, but…

    Mr Plow is absolutely correct.

    How many times have you had to swallow your Orange pride and root for Georgetown just so you would have a better chance of winning your pool? Our contest effectively eliminates the need for that unseemly compromise of morality. In fact, to recoup the ten point bonus you’d have to correctly choose G’Town to win their first FOUR games, i.e., win their region and go to Indy. Good luck with that strategy, sadist.

    The second-round 5-point bonus is just there to see who among the pool is no good at math.

    PS. I’ve just decided to give everyone in the contest an extra five points for not having UConn anywhere on their brackets. It just feels right.

  6. Posted March 18, 2010 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    This is genius at its highest level. I’m going to expand the “Pick With Your Heart” theme all over this freakin’ bracket. You can expect the ACC to go 0-6 in the first round, and a shit-ton of non-Georgetown Big East teams to be rolling into the Elite Eight and beyond.

  7. Posted March 18, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Picking Georgetown to lose in the first round came surprizingly easily.

  8. Posted March 19, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Hard to believe that picking Georgetown to lose would give you both the 10 point bonus AND the points for picking the game correctly.

    Sorry I missed out in getting in on the pool. I have Syracuse winning it all anyways.

  9. Diana
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Hey you ‘Cuse Countryites….I do like your “style”! Wish I’d read about your PWYH challenge in time to sign up. Anyway, I’m glad you all won an extra 10 pts. last night! (No tears for G-town in my living room.) If only one Big East team could make it through last night I’m glad it was Villanova.

    Everyone here in the “hometown” is pretty psyched about tonight’s game, even more so because of the two brothers playing against each other…just adds a little more fun. (And good thing the game is scheduled so late at night so folks in China can watch it online in the light of day!)

    Good luck with your picks everyone, and GO SU….

    From a Syracusan mom, (aka…a lifelong lover of SU sports…and a few other teams….even if she’s not a “FANatic”! ;^)

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  2. [...] “Pick With Your Heart” bracket challenge. In case you missed it, we decided to run a bracket contest with one main rule: in order to participate, you must choose Syracuse to win the whole thing. Also, you could earn [...]

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