The scores are in. The donkey has been taken down. The computer has been powered off. And the people in lab coats are probably waiting outside to take me away.
Yes, the Madness is over. Some of you may be going to work early so you can hound your jelly bean bracket pool manager for your winnings. Some of you have once again sworn off filling out brackets because, like you’ve said for 10 straight years, “Ain’t it always the way” that your Final Four picks get decimated in the early rounds. And some of you are here, dissecting the Sheet of Idiocy to see what it all means.
Unfortunately, this random bracket raises more questions than it answers. Should you randomly pick every game in the second round except for matchups between the #1 and #16 seeds, then decide the rest of the bracket based on those random picks? Should you just pick out three #1 seeds and Michigan State to make up the Final Four, then work backwards? Should you just take up fantasy hockey and basketball so you don’t worry so much about your bracket?
Let’s see how the Sheets of Idiocy ended.
When we last left these random picks, I had all but torn off the bottom half of the Sheet of Idiocy and set it on fire. Yes, things got that bad. Go look. I’ll wait for you to stop laughing.
But the Sheet of Idiocy had two things going for it leading up to the Final Four. It had two teams still alive going to the championship game, which is more than about 75% of the bracket population. The other eerie fact was my real bracket had these two teams meeting in the championship game as well. No, the fix is not in. It was the will of the basketball gods.
And after the Final Four, the wrath of the basketball gods was shown, and smote the Sheet of Idiocy in one, painful night.
First came the darling underdogs, Michigan State. Left for dead at the beginning of the tournament, Tom Izzo all but dribbled the ball himself to coach the Spartans through each round. Until the Final Four.
Maybe the Spartans had used up their second, third, and fourth winds already. Maybe Duke was really that good (more on that later). Maybe everyone was already celebrating the spring holidays. In any event, the Duke Blue Devils didn’t just beat the Michigan State Spartans. They annihilated them. I could have sworn I saw only Duke players sliding around a blood-washed court that night.
With Michigan State gone, the Sheet of Idiocy had one hope left: Kentucky. “Undefeated, #1 seed of everything, whole team going to the NBA” Kentucky. As luck would have it, the Sheet of Idiocy had Kentucky winning the whole thing, so all was not lost.
And then Kentucky played Wisconsin.
At least this was a game. As Michigan State vs. Duke was like the local band opening up for Modest Mouse, Kentucky vs. Wisconsin was Modest Mouse with a double encore. The lead was bounced around like, well, a basketball. It was a tie game at the half. In the end, Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky celebrated his birthday by putting up 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Badgers to a berth in the NCAA championship game, and the Sheet of Idiocy was no more.
It was actually quite freeing. With the Sheet of Idiocy down and my own bracket in the garbage, I was able to enjoy Wisconsin vs. Duke by just watching the game. No prayers. No tears. No screaming at the television so loud that my neighbor knocks on the door. Just two teams playing on the court, with the better coach cutting the last bit of netting down. It was a like a deep breath after the Madness.
So what have we learned?
1) Pinning the tail on a bracket takes a long time.
2) A #16 seed still hasn’t beaten a #1 seed.
3) Basketball gods are jerks.
4) Don’t worry about how you get your bracket filled out. You’ll still enjoy the Madness.
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.