Hello, hello! I come to you with a proposition! We are just days away from the first tip-off in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Don’t listen to Andy Williams – THIS is the most wonderful time of the year. And it’s a wonderful time for both fans and non-fans alike: when filling out brackets, expertise is not in any way a boon. That’s the beauty of the tournament: while perennial favorites can make deep runs in the tournament, underdogs like Butler can make big waves to the surprise of all the experts. So, let’s fill out our brackets (link below the cut) and duke it out for ultimate basketball glory. Oh, and if you’re new, I’ll show you the ropes with great enthusiasm.
My love of the game was born from living in a college town. A college town that went absolute co-co-bananas over basketball. I mean, I remember watching the local news as a kid and this woman came on, her nails all done in the school colors with little paw prints, and she was telling the reporter how she was biting her nails all month but she saved one nail to bite during the championship game that was happening that night. I am not joking: people went wild for basketball. We’d have the tournament games on in the background in class (only when our team was playing, we weren’t just a bunch of sports-crazed yokels). We’d have parties if they won something big. It was great.
After I left that college town to actually go to college myself, I realized how special that fervor was. OK, part of it was that I had gone to a big city and was attending a Division 3 school, which, let’s be honest, can’t compete with the Division 1 Big Dogs. A moment of explanation. The NCAA has 3 divisions for all colleges and universities: Division 1 refers to schools that give many athletic scholarships, Division 2 refers to schools that give out limited athletic scholarships, and Division 3 refers to schools that give out no athletic scholarships. The amount of attention that athletes get increases with the divisions. Basically, if you want to go to the NBA, Division 1 scholarship is your way to go.
So right, when I was in college, I realized that not everyone got through March on the excitement derived from college ball. However, I also realized that everyone liked filling out brackets. Or maybe they just said they did to get me off their backs. Either way, I liked setting up bracket challenges. In this bracket challenge, run through the CBS Sports website, you’d go through each game and pick the winner. You do this for every pairing until the final Championship showdown. The internet is a marvelous thing and the website will help you fill out the bracket. Heck, it even gives you some information about whether the team is expected to win (in handy percentage form, thank you very much), so no great skill or insight is required. Like I said earlier, given the number of upsets, a lack of skill might actually be encouraged: who other than the uninitiated would have expected a 4 seed (fairly good team) to lose to a 13 seed (not so great team). PS ““ they don’t happen every year, but they’re a good bet.
I’m inviting you all to participate in a bracket challenge. Here’s the link (password: aasaysdoit). If you’re not registered, it’ll take just a few minutes and they do not send annoying emails, so that’s great. The group is closed to just us. As an extra bonus, I have a grand prize for the person who gets the highest score and a consolation prize for the person who gets the absolute lowest score.
Here are some helpful tips for filling out brackets:
- Don’t feel bad about getting things wrong. The likelihood of getting a perfect bracket is 9.2 QUINTILLION to 1. So, you know, it basically never happens.
- Only once have all one seeds made it to the Final Four.
- No 16 seed has ever beaten a one seed. Too bad, right? It’d be an epic upset.
- You can usually (not always) expect a 13 to beat a 4. Almost always, a 5 goes down to a 12.
- HAVE FUN DAMMIT OR ELSE.
So sign up! You must fill out the bracket before NOON EST on THIS THURSDAY. It’ll be a party, an internet party (clearly the best kind because you can be here drinking wine out of the bottle in your underwear, or you could be eating cake in a wedding dress, no one cares, it’s the internet). If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll get you some answers.