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Men's basketball: 'First 4' spark pool debates

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By Associated Press

Filling out an NCAA tournament bracket is tougher this year, and it has nothing to do with the caliber of competition.
It’s the bracket itself that is more maddening.
Instead of a single “play-in” game that most pool managers ignored, this year’s tournament features the debut of an “opening round” of four midweek matchups. That left bracket meisters around the country to decide whether to ask their buddies to pick all 67 games by tipoff Tuesday evening, or to give them until the usual time on Thursday at the risk of skipping an entire layer of games that could produce upsets.
The purist might say “Pick ‘em all,” but the realists seem to be winning.
It looks like the the majority of contests are sticking with the old way of doing things. From ESPN.com and its pool that drew 5.4 million entries last year to Mark Fehrman of Wausau, Wis., and his pool of about 80 entries, the reasoning was the same: People already were pushing the Thursday deadline, so it just didn’t make any sense to ask them to pick four more games in two less days.


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