Are you excited about the NCAA Tournament? Because I sure am. I love the wall-to-wall games on the first Thursday and Friday. I love the guys that come out of nowhere to live in March lore forever (God Shammgod!). I love encountering the broadcast D-team that CBS has to dig up for the first round. Speaking of, I will never call the round of 64 anything other than “the first round.” It rubs me the wrong way that the NCAA brand-washed all the courts so they all look the same now. Growing up, I meticulously kept a bracket of the actual results – not picks, mind you – every year and saved them as if I would one day be called on to act as some kind of college basketball archivist and fill in some gaps.
All that is to say I get pretty fired up about this time of year, especially since John Groce has led Illinois out of the Bruce Weber Wilderness (2007-2012). Which means I am pretty qualified to tell you this: nobody cares who you picked. You know how little you care about anybody’s fantasy team but your own? This is the same thing, except on steroids. And bath salts.
When there’s a 3-14 upset brewing and you’re feeling compelled to tweet “Ahhh would luv to see NW St. win but I totally picked Gators for E8!!!” – hit pause for a second. What are you looking for from the rest of us in that situation? “Well, I was really enjoying this upset, but now that I know @MattyJMcWilliams might have a tougher go in his quest to win $75, I really hope Florida turns this around.”
Stop acting as if this was something supremely difficult. It’s not – in fact, that’s precisely why it’s so popular! That’s why people who watch zero minutes of college basketball do them and enjoy them. You are choosing between two teams! Two! Vast scores of people will pick one, and vast scores will pick the other. We all get it. Spare us. “ARRRGH I missed the 8/9 game in the West!” You know who else did? Half of the American population.
Would it help to think of your bracket as a bowel movement? Because that’s an apt comparison. We all have them, and except in the most extreme imaginable circumstances, the details should be kept to ourselves. We don’t need/want to know. Did you ace the bracket? Win $10K in the ESPN contest? Great – now you’ve got a story. But until then, keep it to yourself (and the people in your bracket pool*).
Thanks in advance,
*do not carry the BM analogy through to this point