The first day of March Madness fucking rules. College basketball is a sport that really creeps up on you. Sure, you have your guys who sweat that shit, and they know all about the incoming freshman and they have one school that they obsess over and watch a ton of games, I get that. If you went to a school that has a legit D1 basketball team and you DON’T do that, I’d be a little confused by you. But for the rest of us, I’ll call us “average college basketball fans”; things have really escalated quickly. The season started and I’d catch an occasional highlight on ESPN or Twitter, maybe watch the end of a game or two if it lined up right with my TV schedule. I know some names; we all have heard about Lonzo Ball at UCLA and his crazy ass dad. The usual powers are still dong powerful things and its fun and exciting and clearly a more passionate, energized product than the NBA. But I don’t always watch, and I don’t know shit about teams other than the big names.
Regardless, once the tourney comes around, I pretend I’m fucking Jay Bilas or some other college basketball analyst. Suddenly, I see matchups on my bracket and I’m like, “hmmm, there’s certainly no way Minnesota loses to Middle Tennessee State,” as if I’ve watched either of those teams play or know anything about their playing style headed into the tournament. Or I’ll see a game like Kent State vs. UCLA, knowing UCLA is legit this year, and somehow convince myself Kent State is gonna show up and pull off the upset, as If I know something everyone else doesn’t. Is it crazy? Well, it’s hard to say. Doesn’t matter. This is how this shit goes and that’s why it’s the best.
My problem is that even though I should have zero confidence, I am always shockingly disappointed as all of my picks and bizarre situations and outcomes begin to crumble in front of me. It starts with a few sweet sixteen picks, and then next thing I know its day three and I’m down to two final four picks. At that point, I do my best to bury all memory of my bracket and just enjoy the games. So this year, I did something completely radical and filled out four brackets. Now I know what you’re thinking. “That’s cheating because now you have more than one bracket which means you have more chances to get picks right.” EXACTLY. It’s foolproof. I started with one and went completely with my gut. Then from there I started trying to pick different upsets and combos for the sweet sixteen, and so on and so on.
Ultimately I have four different champions, and I think my plan is to let the first round play out, see which bracket I’m doing best in and pretend that’s been my only bracket all along. I will tell people how well I’m doing and show them my bracket and talk about how I’ve liked [either UCLA, Louisville, Kansas, or Villanova] all year. I really think this is going to revolutionize the NCAA tournament for me and allow me to enjoy each game to its fullest potential. Thanks for your support in this journey.