Ah, March Madness. That wonderful season where sheets of paper bloom with wild abandon, everyone in the office comes to work wearing the caps of their alma maters, and college basketball seems to be played 24/7. The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball tournament is, indeed, madness and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Madness is also how I would depict the days after Selection Sunday, that argumentative time when everyone tries to figure out just how the actual tournament bracket will play out. Which underdog will be the Cinderella, and which powerhouse will coast to the Final Four? Every sports fan takes on the excruciating task of picking game winners for the entire tournament. Not just for one round… for EVERY round.
Most of the work force either calls in sick or substitutes mock bracket sheets for TPS reports, as sports radio trickles out of your computer, car stereo and alarm clock all day and night. Unless, of course, you pick the First Four as well. Then you’re done today, and can go on living your life.
Normally my own bracket follows the Sleeper formula from the personalities of bracketology. But this year I’m breaking away from this personality to try another strategy: complete randomness.
Under the strict supervision of a team of people in white lab coats, using the most powerful computer ever devised for scrolling through cute cat pictures, I selected my whole bracket using a giant bracket poster and a “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” game. The goal is to see how well a completely random bracket will do. Did all the work I used to put into my real selections actually matter?
At first glance, my random bracket seems pretty good. For instance, even the bracket gods guided my hand to push #1 seeded Kentucky all the way to the win. Gonzaga seems slated for the Sweet 16 like they usually are, UNC will get out of the second round, and Providence will prove that it doesn’t matter who they play in the second round.
On the flip side, I also have Coastal Carolina beating Wisconsin, Duke losing to a #16 seed, University of Alabama at Birmingham making the Elite Eight, and St. John’s getting out of the second round. I think this proves the randomness of the bracket.
So as you scramble to finalize your brackets before deadline, I give you my sheet of randomness. Who knows? Maybe this will be the golden ticket of selections! Yeah, I doubt it, too.
Stay tuned as I update my scoring after each round, for better or for worse.
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.