Thoughts on March Madness and the people who fill out brackets.
I love March Madness. I love filling out a bracket despite not paying much attention to the regular season. I love the first weekend where I get to watch 500 games in four days on my three TVs in the Man Cave while doing nothing else with my life. I love the drama of a lower seed potentially upsetting a higher seed. I love not caring about my bracket once the actual tournament starts because I never play for money, so I’m rooting for good games, not my bracket. I have one bracket. It either hits or misses and I live or die with it.
I hate people who fill out more than one bracket. Some people I know fill out up to 20 brackets with 20 different scenarios. UNC upset in the first round? Brackets #4 and #18 might be done for, but #2 and #11 are still alive. Why? Because when you have 20 brackets, you can take chances on different ones. No one who is a serious player is going to pick Kentucky to lose in the second round. That’s just not a risk people are willing to take when they pitched in $100 to be in a pool.
Even though I don’t play for money, I treat my bracket like I am playing for money and that’s how everyone should play. Filling out more than one bracket shouldn’t be allowed. I don’t care if you’re only doing it for fun. It starts out as, “Oh, I’m just doing this many for fun” but when one of your 20 brackets starts looking good, you start bragging like you’ve actually accomplished something.
Filling out more than one bracket and having one of them go right, is like going to the arcade, putting 50 cents into Tekken, and getting unlimited lives. At least beating Tekken requires some skill and reflexes.
Now, if you enter different brackets into different pools (all of which cost money) then I have a little more respect for you. Despite that respect though, I will say that you’re better off giving me all that money instead of using it to enter 15 different March Madness contests.
Fact is, winning a NCAA March Madness pool doesn’t require any skill. It’s a complete crapshoot, which is why I love it and don’t get so involved in it. My mom has won in NCAA tourney pools and I can honestly say that she’s never watched a full college basketball game in her life. She just picks higher seeds, sprinkles in a few first round upsets, and makes sure a 1, 2, or 3 seed is always in the Final Four. It’s a pretty basic strategy that actually works because she’s not dumb enough to over think things.
That’s where so many people get into trouble when filling out a bracket. They listen to all the “experts” and try to form their opinion based on a combination of expert opinions, thinking that they can’t be wrong. But for the most part, that’s exactly how people go wrong. They get an information overload and hear so many contradictory opinions that they can’t think straight. The best time to fill out a bracket is immediately after they’re released, before you have a chance to digest all the information spewed your way.
Never second guess yourself when filling out a bracket, because that makes the tournament less enjoyable. Had West Virginia upsetting Gonzaga but then decided to change it after reading a bunch of articles about WVU? You’ll be bald by the end of the WVU/Gonzaga game if it happens to be a competitive contest that comes down to the final shot, that even if Gonzaga wins, you’ll be too emotionally drained to care that you’re right. You’ll also have no hair.
By the time most of you read this, I hope you’ve already filled out your one bracket. Now if you’re constantly watching ESPN while jotting notes on your 20 different brackets, then I feel sorry for you.