I generally don’t give a crap about NCAA Division I men’s basketball until March, and then I act like I’ve been a fan all along. I don’t know what it is about the NCAA tournament – maybe it’s that it disrupts my “reality TV with a side of reality TV” weeknight viewing schedule, or maybe it’s that I tend to start caring arbitrarily about certain sports teams right around championship time (see: Chicago Cubs, October 2003), but in the last few years, I’ve started filling out the brackets for the men’s tournament.
But since I really don’t follow men’s college basketball during the rest of the year, I have developed a complex system – almost my own little bizarre alchemy – for filling out my brackets. Then I stick the sheet up on my office bulletin board like I’m a legit fan and not a geeky chick who likes filling out forms. Seriously, y’all, I’m such a dork that I don’t actually know if it’s “bracket” (singular) or “brackets” (plural), but I stuck with “brackets” just to be consistent. Even if I’m wrong.
Anyway, here’s how I pick a champion, in priority order.
- Is one of the teams Northwestern? If so, then I double-check to make sure I actually have a current NCAA Division I Men’s bracket in front of me, and not some space transmission from an alternate reality. Oh, and Northwestern wins.
- Is one of the teams Duke? If so, then Duke wins everything, because of JJ Redick.
- Is one of the teams UConn? If so, then UConn probably wins although maybe not, because sometimes I get mad at UConn for no logical reason. Also, if UConn plays Duke, Duke wins.
- Is one of the teams in the Big Ten? If so, then that team usually wins (Ohio State, Michigan State), although certain teams only win grudgingly (Wisconsin, Illinois).
- Do I know anyone who attends/attended, or is/was employed by the school? If so, then that school wins at least one game (Winthrop, Cal).
- ACC teams sometimes win unless I arbitrarily hate them that day (Carolina).
- Teams with really long names usually don’t win because I can’t fit them all on the line and don’t like abbreviating (UNC Wilmington).
- Teams with weird names (Oral Roberts) lose unless it’s a fun weird name (Gonzaga).
- Teams with colors/uniforms I like (Tennessee) beat teams with colors/uniforms I dislike or don’t know (Wichita State). Same with mascots.
- Oh, and the whole record/ranking/seed thing factors in a bit too, although sometimes only as an inconsistent tiebreaker (sometimes I pick the favorite, sometimes the underdog).
So that’s how I ended up with Duke, UCLA, UConn, and Ohio State in my Final Four.