An idiot’s guide to March Madness
Every year around this time, March Madness goes viral. You start to see commercials like this everywhere you turn.
However, the less basketball-inclined among us may ask, why all the hype? What is this tournament business all about? Why isn’t my boyfriend talking to me? Why is the girl down the hall watching Murray State play Colorado State at noon on a Thursday?
Well, for starters, there are the daily upsets and buzzer beaters. Anything can happen. A school like Northern Iowa can take down mighty Kansas, and seemingly every other game is decided at the very last second.
Every game is an epic David and Goliath struggle for supremacy, and almost every under the radar team could be a Cinderella.
And then, of course, there is the delightfully masochistic mid-March ritual of filling out brackets.
Every year, after the bracket is announced on Selection Sunday, people ranging from rabid fans to those who have barely heard of Michael Jordan join bracket pools. Some just enter a pool online with a bunch of strangers.
But I, for one, use the occasion to reconnect with old friends. There is nothing quite like the opportunity to talk trash with your buddies, the opportunity to taunt them about the fact that your Cinderella knocked off their National Champion.
Of course, that is almost never what happens. By the end of March, those who only a few weeks earlier had been boasting that this would be the year they picked the whole final four (the four teams that play in the semifinal games) are sulkily moping about how a bad call here and a missed shot there screwed them over.
As a friend of mine likes to say at the beginning of every tournament, “got my bracket filled out, time to sit back, enjoy some basketball, and see how everything is going to go to shit this year.”
You may be wondering, “Do I need to know about basketball to make a bracket?”
The answer to that is a resounding “NO!”
In fact, you may be better off knowing nothing about basketball.
A few years ago a redheaded kid in my pool picked schools whose colors were red and orange whenever possible. That happened to be the year that Cornell (the Big Red) surprised everyone and made it to the Sweet Sixteen, and also the year that the Tennessee Volunteers (an orange team) made it to the Elite Eight. Meanwhile, most of the teams predicted to do well, including top-ranked Kansas, were knocked off early on.
Another time, a friend who couldn’t tell you the difference between a ball and a backboard picked underdog Michigan State to win it all because his brother went there. They went all the way to the championship game.
Meanwhile, I have gotten one of the last 12 Final Four teams. I may not be the foremost expert on college hoops, but come on. I’ve watched enough games to deserve better than that. But I’m not complaining. I’ve got a feeling (admittedly one that I’ve had before) that this is going to be my year.
So, regardless of your level of fanhood, get a group of friends, print and fill out a bracket (you’re a little late, so you already have some help making predictions), and sit back and enjoy the madness. The round of 64 starts today (forget about this stupid “First Four” nonsense)!
Leave a Comment
Be nice. Don't use HTML tags. And consider reading our full comment policy.