Why I’m Mad This March

What’s a bracket?

What’s this thing called March Madness?

What do I do?

I might as well come right out and ask those questions as, judging by my bracket’s performance during the last four days, I obviously know next to nothing about college basketball.

Frankly, I had not been able to pay as much attention as usual to basketball (the NBA is not basketball) but that thought never crossed my mind – I managed to do my research as usual, reaching that maddening, critical mass of too-much-information.

Then, I could see the possibilities and I made my choices.

Now, I look like an idiot: in the basement of the office pool, the ESPN.com pool and my Facebook pool.

Ouch.

Through the first half of Thursday my picks were faring pretty well — through the first half of the day’s games my only SNAFU came in picking Kent State over UNLV. Then, during the second half of Thursday’s extensive bill of games, well, my .375 percentage would get me into Cooperstown, but absolutely nowhere in Bracketville.

And I was pretty sure I was going to be in OK shape on Friday until the insanity in Tampa.

Ohhhh, Tampa.

I’d go out there and say that the 4-13 matchup is the new 5-12 upset special, but then the 12s went right out and did the same thing — damned, my bracket was. I should have seen what was coming when Duke almost lost to 15-seed Belmont (not that I picked Duke to get past the second round).

One of the best things about this year’s field was that there were several small-time schools seeded better than big-name schools, and many big-name schools seeded in the middle of the pack such that you had Marquette (6) playing Kentucky (11) in the opening round.

The original tourney bracket was knocked by many who felt that it was neither controversial nor borne of an overly-exciting regular season.

I thought it was pretty interesting. I thought there were a lot of possibilities. I just didn’t pick any of the right ones. Now I’m last, being bested in the office pool by people who know the ins and outs of rap, Realism and runways but have no idea what an RPI is. If they had a clue, it would be because they transferred from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute — and they’d still be wrong.

I made the rules and I’m losing the game, a trend becoming more real and scary since the year of George Mason and the upside-down bracket in 2006.

I thought I had that year pegged too. Well, I didn’t. The next year I picked too many upsets. This year though, I thought I had a very money balance of upsets and favorites; I had about the realistic ratio, just none of the right ones.

What do I do next year? I have no idea, but I’ll be ready for the best stretch of sports: 48 season-ending games in four days. It’s like Christmas, but with 48 trees full of presents.

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