BRACKET STRATEGY #12: For Keeps

Risk: Medium

Results: 2007 ? 93rd percentile in the ESPN Tourney Challenge; 2008 ? 42nd percentile; 2009 ? 50th percentile; 2010 ? 41st percentile; 2011 ? 18th percentile. OVERALL AVERAGE ? 48.8 percentile.

Strategy: After a year of swimming in stats, four months of watching as many games as I can, and three days of gabbing non-stop about historical tendencies in the brackets, I do my best to merge numbers, observation, gut instinct, wishful thinking?and worrisome injury news?to build a bracket that I can call my own.

Outlook: My Keeper bracket has vacillated between a contrarian approach and stats-saturated overthinking. The results have not been good. Put it this way: in the five years that I?ve done a ?Gut? and ?Keeper? bracket together, my gut has beaten my considered thinking 60.2 to 48.8. Neither average should give you confidence that these non-stats approaches will win your pool. This year, I?ve decided to aim for perfection instead of just winning a regular old tourney pool (in fact, I?ll probably wimp out and play a different bracket in my personal pool).