Bracketology 101 and the madness that ensues

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some sad news for you.&bsp; My bracket is officially busted.&bsp; The 2008 NCAA tournament has been in full swing for two days now, and I can already tell you that I won&squo;t be winning either of the two pools that I&squo;ve entered, which leads me to the conclusion that I might as well have thrown ten bucks down a storm drain.&bsp; Oh well.

My picks were made so well, too.&bsp; To me, bracketology (otherwise known as the art of second-guessing yourself into correctly picking every game in the NCAA Tournament) is a science, with its own sets of laws, hypotheses, and theories that govern its own small, specific universe.&bsp; You always pick the one-seeds to go to the Final Four.&bsp; Except when you shouldn&squo;t.&bsp; One twelve-seed always makes the Sweet Sixteen‐except when two do.&bsp; Stanford, no matter their seeding, will underperform‐except when they make it to the Elite Eight.

All of these rules are too stupid for even me to subscribe to, so this year when making my picks I just took the rule book and threw it out the window faster than you can spell &dquo;Mike Krzyzewski.&dquo;&bsp; I then set about making my own rules, which are as follows:

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1.&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;Any team that has given UNC a run for its money will make it to the sweet sixteen.

2.&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;Unless one team has a clear advantage, whichever team is better at three-point shooting will probably win.

3.&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;When in doubt, look at which mascot would win in a fight.

4.&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;Don&squo;t talk about Fight Club.

In addition to these rules, I have a specific, Only If You Go To UNC rule:&bsp; don&squo;t pick UNC to win if you&squo;re in a pool?&bsp; Why am I such a traitor?&bsp; Because everybody else in the pool is going to pick UNC to win the whole kit and caboodle, and if‐heaven forbid‐Ty Lawson&squo;s ankle gives out again, or Tyler Hansbrough fouls out early, or some other inconceivable catastrophe were to occur and UNC actually loses, then my bracket has Georgetown&squo;s Hoyas (according to Wikipedia, a Hoya is a nectar-producing, flowering vine) taking down the Memphis University Tigers.&bsp; Should tragedy befall UNC and these overly-aggressive climbing vines prevail, or even make it kind of close to the Final Four, the bracket pool shall be mine.

Which brings me to right now.&bsp; As it currently stands, I have been proven a terrible game caller.&bsp; With the exception of Dell Curry&squo;s angry-looking son leading the Davidson Wildcats to victory over Gonzaga, I have yet to correctly pick an upset.&bsp; And after following my own first rule, I watched Villanova beat Clemson‐who I had going to the Elite Eight solely on the basis that one time we played them and they took us to double over time‐and shoot my bracket down before it even had time to take off.&bsp; On the other hand, I did manage to pick the South region completely correct in the first round, by picking no upsets whatsoever.&bsp; Unfortunately, this is one of the games in which I haven&squo;t made a mistake.&bsp; I picked the fighting Mormons from BYU to take down Texas A&M, those plucky Bulldogs from Drake (Why are there so many Bulldog teams in this tournament, anyway?) to beat Western Kentucky, an OJ Mayo-augmented USC to beat the Kansas State Wildcats (another popular mascot name, though oddly no Bullcats or Wilddogs in this tournament‐there&squo;s always next year), and a slew of other games that I got completely wrong.

It was especially toxic to be a high seed in the Midwest division, where half of the higher-seeded teams lost their games, due mainly to my second rule, about three-point shooting.&bsp; Where do all of these ace three-point shooters come from?&bsp; In their upset win against Drake University, all of Western Kentucky&squo;s good shooters had fouled out, and yet when it came down to a
last-second three for the win, some anonymous bozo floated a thirty-footer into the basket like he was picking his nose. &bsp;

Same thing happened in the Xavier game against Georgia.&bsp; In the Gonzaga-Davidson game, Stephen Curry (offspring of former NBA three-point specialist Dell Curry) dropped 40 points, mostly off of threes on a Gonzaga squad that sorely missed Adam Morrison&squo;s scoring as well as his prepubescent moustache.

But then again, I guess that&squo;s why they call it March Madness.&bsp; You make your picks for all the games.

&bsp;And then you watch all of those picks be wrong, and that makes you very, very mad.&bsp; And if enough of your picks are wrong, then you succumb to madness and need to be locked away in a padded room until about July, when the only games on TV are from the WNBA and it&squo;s safe not to care about basketball for a while.