Where Smart Picks Go to Die
It’s that time again. March Madness is in full swing and I couldn’t be more addicted. From filling out brakcets (I already have 5 on ESPN) to researching and breaking down each team’s season, I am glued to the NCAA College Basketball Bracket.
This has not always been an obsession of mine. It all started 7 years ago. A friend of mine begged me for 3 weeks to join his bracket pool. As a joke, I selected George Mason to go to the championship game. 1 Cinderella ride later (sure they only went to the Final 4, but c’mon…it was George Mason) and I can’t pull myself away from the draw that is March Madness.
But there’s a problem. When I picked George Mason, I did it as a joke. There was no expert analysis, no matchup breakdowns, no crystal ball. Just dumb luck.
After that pick, however, I hold myself up to a ridiculous list of standards. I have to pick the upset. I have to know all the teams.
I have to pick the perfect bracket.
This idea called “the perfect bracket” does not actually exist. No one can forsee the true madness that is the NCAA basketball tournament. What team comes to play? Which team had a long flight and woke up to early for the game? Which lower seed put everything together just before the tournament and is now an unstoppable force of pure will and desire?
But anyone who is honest and fills out a bracket will admit that they fantasize about this myth (even if it’s just for a second). Just like buying a lottery ticket the “what-ifs” begin to float around in your head. Conversations with yourself typically include the following:
“Hey, that could happen. I mean if (team_x) wins this game, they could definitely make it to (round_x).”
“I saw them play and they are much (better/worse) than what those stupid experts have them seeded. This might as well be insider trading. This pick is a sure thing.”
(While looking at the completed bracket)”I don’t see even one matchup that I would change. This is perfect.”
All of these thoughts are normal. Mine sound nothing like this. I’ve been around the bracket too long. I’ve seen “the sure thing” get knocked out in round 1 and 2 and the “there’s no way they can beat that team” not only beat that team, but beat every other team on the way to the championship game.
My internal conversations go more like this:
“Well that’s just dumb.”
“You’re really going to pick that team?”
(While looking at the completed bracket)”Sure that looks right now, but just wait until the tournament starts. Your bracket will be dead after the first day.”
I have developed the utmost confidence that I will screw up my bracket before it ever gets started.
What’s even more demented is that, even while knowing this, I agreed to a bracket wager this year. Andy and I have decided that whoever’s bracket picks bust the hardest will have their wife on-air for a 3 minute segment to tell embarrassing stories about them. (As much as it will hurt it really is must hear radio. Check us out on http://www.spreaker.com/show/the_outputting_our_coverage_show)
But this year…this year will be different. I am going to change my tune. My bracket is perfect (kind of). My picks will come through (hopefully). I will crush Andy’s bracket with no mercy (or at least be slightly less terrible than his). This is as close to confident as I can get. Although, I did name my entry “Emily will make you cry” (Emily is his wife’s name).
To track our results, and to submit your own bracket into our show’s Bracket Pool, follow this link: http://www.funofficepools.com/joinpool.php?Passed_Pool_Key=a0aeb16990d. See if you can reign supreme with your bracket genius.