Put your dancing shoes on. It’s time for the least productive three weeks in the corporate world not related to politics. It’s March Madness!
The NCAA Selection Committee — or as I like to call them, Basket-Wall Street — selected the 68 teams it felt could bring them the most money during the NCAA Tournament. I mean, the 68 teams with the best student-athletes to be proud of their free educations and simply enjoy the opportunities to represent their schools.
You’re probably filling out your bracket — scribbling names, overthinking selections, erasing, overthinking some more, taking Joe Lunardi’s bracket way too seriously, second-guessing yourself and finally breaking out the ball-point pen to make those decisions final just before the first game tips off Thursday.
I’m here to tell you, as I often do, that you’re wrong.
All that analyzing, all the statistical analysis, it was all for naught. I know it sounds pessimistic, but somebody has to be the voice of reason in all this chaos.
There are, like, 20 million brackets filled out on ESPN.com alone. That’s not an exaggeration, either. I’m not Albert Einsten, but I’ve eaten at Einsten Bagels, and that’s a lot of brackets.
Those aren’t good odds for you and I.
Even that little office pool you do with 10 coworkers for five bucks a pop, you’re going to lose that one, too.
I know, I know, you’ve watched more Vermont games than anyone. The Catamounts are an upset waiting to happen, you just know it.
Well, Suzy from two cubicles over filled out her bracket based on her favorite colors. Suzy doesn’t like the color green. “Reminds me too much of all the corporate greed,” she’ll say. “Cant’ we just do this for fun and camaraderie?”
Are you nuts, Suzy?! We’re trying to make a million dollars, here. I’ve got my eyes on some new jet-skis!
But Suzy thinks Purdue’s gold is much prettier than Vermont’s ugly green. “Remember the dress? Is it gold? Is it blue? Man, that was a gorgeous dress.”
Purdue will consequentially murder Vermont in the opening round. Suzy will be sitting on a perfect bracket come the Sweet 16, and she won’t even know it.
“A perfect bracket? Well isn’t that just the darndest thing!”
Suzy, you’re killing me! I stayed awake for 48 hours straight watching 15 different bracket shows on ESPN. I tweeted my bracket to Jay Bilas for advice. He didn’t reply, so I second-guessed everything I wrote down.
My walls look like I’m a private investigator obsessing over Gonzaga’s ability to win against major-conference teams. I’ve got crime scenes built in my living room reenacting Grayson Allen tripping incidents and what they could mean for a Duke championship run.
And come Monday, my bracket will look more like Patrick Bateman’s living room.
So will yours.
Don’t let the fact that your bracket is busted in the first weekend deter you from the fact that this is the best four-day stretch in sports, the opening to the best three-week stretch in sports.
Everyone’s brackets will be busted. If not, at least buy me a couple of new jet-skis.
Just fill out a bracket, hope it’s a smidge better than your buddies’, accept it when it’s not, and congratulate Suzy when her color-coded bracket takes home the office prize.
Enjoy the competition, but, more importantly, enjoy 63 basketball games sure to turn some heads.
I’m an Indiana fan, and the Hoosiers can’t even win a game in the NIT. My season’s already been a disappointment, so why drive myself crazy over a bracket I already know belongs in the garbage?
Well, because it’s called March Madness for a reason, and that’s what sports idiots like me tend to do.
I’ve already put a down payment on those jet-skis.
Mike Pruden is the sports editor at The Sheridan Press.