Bracketology

Every March, I swear I’m not going to do it again. This year, I tell myself, this year will be the one where I finally break the cycle of wasting time and perfectly good five and/or ten dollar bills on a set of picks for the NCAA tournament. Inevitably, though, no matter what I tell myself, a friend, hockey team member, coworker, or Bracketology Anonymous meeting acquaintance will send out an email inviting me sign up and fill out a bracket for fun and fabulous prizes. Sooner rather than later, I’ll find myself staring at the Southeast Region and trying to decide if Kansas might get upset by the Poor Brothers of the Blind in the opening round.

Why even fight it, right? Everyone does a bracket or six. It’s human nature and one of the grand rituals of spring. Not joining in the reindeer games would be an affront to Dick Vitale and college student/athletes everywhere! Except well…

Look, basketball just isn’t my game. Sure, as a resident of the Bluegrass State (which is actually a Commonwealth, but that’s another post), I’m obligated to cheer for/expect UK to be cutting down nets in the first week of April while a montage plays to “One Shining Moment”. Never let it be said I didn’t do my duty as a KY resident. However, with that said, I’ve watched as much NCAA basketball this season as I’ve watched of the Xtreme English Ladies’ Badmitten League (XELB). That is to say, of course, not a whole lot.

Actually, that badmitten thing sounds kind of cool. Who wouldn’t want to watch a bunch of chicks from the UK with pink mohawks smash a shuttlecock in each others’ faces? Too bad I made it up.

Anyway, the point here is that I don’t really catch much college basketball. It’s not that I dislike it, per se, it’s just that, well, while a game of hoops is considered the most accessible sport to most American kids (of any background), it’s just not the game for me. I’m too short to work under the basket and too…um…stout to move quickly, can’t jump worth a damn, and have such exceptional ball-handling skills that I might as well hand the ball to a player from the other team rather than waste energy dribbling.

You know how most kids dream of being the one with the ball at the last second, making that dramatic jumper that takes the lead as the buzzer goes off or sinking one from the line to seal a big win? Yeah, that wasn’t me. In fact, the only elementary school basketball team I ever played on was winless except for the week when I had my appendix removed and was home on the couch. As a result, then, while most people who watch a college basketball are subconsciously thinking about a familiar game they know and love, I’m usual thinking about nachos or how much it would suck to be the guy wiping up the sweaty spots on the floor.

So, then, was this the year I finally broke the cycle?

Of course not. My fingers twitched from the moment I received the customary invitation email until I finally clicked the “Join Now” link, 2.3 seconds later. However, this year, I decided to stack the odds in my favor; I made my picks with the help of the Puddinpop. The kid’s been wrapped up in college basketball and Cyclones hockey since the last play of the Super Bowl. I’m pretty sure he could tell me Fairhaven State’s conference record from memory and how many of their games were decided by two basket or more.

Of course, the Puddinette’s tiny alma mater knocked out one of my Final Four teams on the first day.

So, go Morehead State Eagles, I guess.

One of these days, I’ll learn my lesson.

Pud’n

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