COLUMN: The brackets come marching in
It has to be the question I have heard the most in the month of March:
“Did you fill out your bracket yet?”
Followed shortly after with the second most-asked question:
“Who is in your Final Four?”
April has taxes. February has chocolates. But March has Dick Vitale.
For the past two years, I have persistently avoided March Madness, the second-favorite college holiday after National Sword Swallowers Day.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy basketball. I enjoy college basketball even more than the NBA, because the team is centered around a narcissistic coach, not a player (I’m looking at you, Calipari).
This is basketball before all of the endorsements, celebrity marriages, celebrity divorces and athletes turned commentators (I’m looking at you, Barkley).
What I don’t understand is the enjoyment that comes from trying to guess which group of men is better fit to cut down the nets toward the beginning of April.
It was important at my old school, where teachers would constantly remind you betting is wrong while asking the sports guy in the room, “Who do you have as your Cinderella team this year?”
No, it is safe to say I have never had much luck when it comes to picking, except one year when I didn’t care and let the girl I sat next to in economics pick for me.
I thought she was an idiot for picking all one-seeded teams to advance to the Final Four, but low and behold, she was right on most of them, picking the correct winner, too, as Roy Williams and Tyler Hansbrough smiled over Izzo and Lucas.
After all the research, all the coin-flipping, all the praying, I still couldn’t pick a winning bracket to save my life.
Who knows, maybe someday down the road I will muster enough energy to take a walk over to the friendly neighbors and ask their dog to bark once for ‘yes,’ and twice for ‘no.’
Because, when it comes down to the selection and I ask people what their trick is, I’m told, “Notre Dame’s jerseys are lemon-lime green. They can’t win in those.”
For the past two years, I mistakenly related shamrocks to basketballs. When I hear an Irish jig, I hear the opening to SportsCenter.
For everyone filling out five brackets a year, you might as well buy lottery tickets. Waste of paper.
And believe me, I want to hear all the comments about how the Hoosier nation is back or you can’t lose on the hair of Gonzaga.
But if I had to choose a winner, I guess you can’t go wrong with picking the Oregon Ducks. They have a coach who is fast-paced and faithful to his team (I’m talking to you, Chip Kelly).
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