In lieu of a links post (because, with Selection Sunday in the books and March Madness hitting full stride, this is the only link most of you will probably be needing) I thought today we’d take a look at the various methods available for you to use when it comes time to fill out that OFFICIAL BRACKET.
You know, the one (and it better be only one!) you’re submitting into that really important pool — which should be MSF’s, if you care to join — the one that will make all your friends hate you because of how uncannily correct you were.
Yeah, that bracket.
Note: Jerod’s bracket predicting system and picks for 2011 are posted. Click here to match yours against his.
Now, I’m doing this for selfish reasons too, as a way to recap all the options out there as I try and fill out a halfway coherent bracket. I haven’t followed much of the college basketball regular season this year; I’ve noticed things I guess, but in the same way you notice a new plot twist in a television show and it only serves to remind you how lost in the story lines you truly are. This happens with me and Jersey Shore all the time.
So anyway, let’s get to six possible ways you could go about filling out that bracket. Good luck and godspeed, people.
1. You could have actually followed the season, thus sort of knowing what you’re talking about.
This one seems like it would be the most helpful for picking a decent bracket, but it’s a little late if you haven’t been doing so yet. Also, if your bracket ends up as the laughing stock of your pool, this way sets you up for a higher level of humiliation. Because, you know, you really should know what you’re talking about, genius.
2. You could act like you know what you’re talking about because it’s SPORTZ and that’s what you do.
This is probably one of the more popular options. Low risk, high reward, to be sure. If your bracket does well, it’s because you OBVIOUSLY KNEW THIS SHIT; if it doesn’t, well, hey, I’m no Jay Bilas over here. The beauty of the tournament is in its unpredictability, duh. If everyone knew what was gonna happen, it wouldn’t be as fun, right? Right? Is it too late to get my buy-in fee back?
3. You could watch all the ESPN coverage your brain can handle and make your picks accordingly.
Many people probably do this, but it’s not something you really want to admit; if you do, all credibility is lost. But maybe pick a personality, quietly follow his or her selections, and make them your own. You can always brush off suspicious folks by saying it’s mere coincidence. Maybe you do it because you’re afraid of Digger Phelps jumping through your television screen, jamming a highlighter in your nose and bringing you to tears over that stupid Final Four pick. Respect, fear, or omnipresence: all viable options for going through the Worldwide Leader.
4. You could go with connections other than basketball (Also known as “The Way Girls Make Picks”).
Colors, nicknames, mascots, states you like because of that one time you stopped in that one diner on a road trip and the waitstaff was just so friendly, teams your brother likes, teams your brother hates, teams with cool uniforms or guys with funny names; these and pretty much anything else you can think of are perfectly viable options if you go this route. Do try and be honest, though: If you use this method, share that information. That way the people who actually put time into studying this stuff can go all crazy when you nail the upsets, and you can just sit back and laugh and laugh.
If you really want to bring some valuable insight to those bar stool conversations, cram as much information as you can into that brain of yours. Team preview/season recap bubbles are perfect for this, as are time-honored and tournament-tested cliches.
An example: Wisconsin is such a tough, gritty team. They are DEFINITELY a team you don’t want to face because of their DEDICATION TO DEFENSE. Use it, and everyone will nod in agreement. Respect. Earned.
6. You could truly go with your gut.
And by “truly,” I mean taking one look at a match-up, thinking about it for as little as possible, going with what feels right, making the pick and never looking back. You will feel an adrenaline rush like none other, with the freedom of open air blowing through your hair; a real pioneer of the bracket world. If it helps, you could probably be drunk for this, too. I mean, it won’t hurt.
And as always, no matter which way you decide to fill out your bracket, the NCAA Tournament will always end in chaos, so we’re all probably screwed already. But that is what makes us, the viewers, the winners in the end, gosh darnit.
Of course, the people who win their pools are the real winners. Don’t forget that.