Tuesday, March 19, 2013

let the madness begin

You probably wouldn't peg me as someone who gets excited about the NCAA March Madness hoopla. I won't hold it against you. You've never heard me talk about basketball. I don't really seem like the type to get all enthused about a big testosterone-fest competition. All signs point towards Erika Doesn't Care About March Madness. But here's the thing: Despite all of those facts being true, I still like it. I like the orderliness of it. I like the brackets. And I like the opportunity to win stuff. I like that you can know NOTHING about basketball, teams, colleges, the rules, or anything, and still play and maybe even still win. It's so awesome to me! Therefore every year I join in the fun and fill out a bracket or three. I have never, ever won a thing. But that's okay. It only takes about 5 minutes to fill it out, and then it provides me with entertainment for a few weeks...totally worth it. Please note: I do not care enough to actually watch a single game. I just check back later to see who won and whether I guessed better than Matt at picking my teams. That's really all it's about.

But I always enjoy the bracket-filling-out part. I have different approaches every year. Let me tell you what NEVER plays a role in my bracket-filling: anything that actually has to do with basketball. I don't know who's good or bad. I didn't find out that those little numbers next to the teams actually meant anything until like...recently...and even still, I don't really understand them enough to let them influence my picking. I don't look up teams' win-loss records or find out who they've already played this season or whether their offense is good or whatever. I could care less. I pick based on way more interesting factors. Sometimes I will actually do research and pick based on mascots. But that's a lot of Googling, let's be honest. Sometimes I'll pick based on team colors. Or I'll write out the team names in pretty handwriting and judge based on which name looks better. I know. These are some really scientific judgment calls I'm making. Try to keep up.

When the business manager at my work sent out the bracket yesterday for our office pool, I got right on it. "You have until Thursday to turn it in!" he said. But why would I need to wait until Thursday? This year, my bracketology requires no researching. It's all gut feelings. And  my gut tells me it's a winner.

Therefore I present to you: Erika's Bracket Plan of 2013. Behold!
This year's choices were even more subjective than normal, if that's even possible. This year it was all about gut feelings about a team/place/name. No research allowed. I looked at the two teams and thought about my first impressions of each one. Some of them are schools I've actually heard of: how do I feel about that school? The city it's in? The reputation of the school/state? Do I know anyone who went there? What kind of food do they serve in this place? How positive do I feel about this place? is really what it came down to. I picked the team (city/region) that I felt the most positive about. 

In the event that I had no idea who a team was or no impression whatsoever of a place, I would pick based on some other factor: how much I liked the name. This explains why Gonzaga makes it so far in my bracket every year-- it reminds me of gorgonzola cheese, which I love. Clearly that makes for a winning basketball team. Or if the team's name reminded me of a real person I know (like Davidson- one of my favorite people's last name is Davison, which is almost the same as Davidson) then I would probably be predisposed to liking that team a bit more than the competition.

After completing a few rounds of my bracket, my prejudices about our country were pretty evident.

Places I Have Good Impressions Of, As Evidenced By Any Teams from These Places Going Really Far In My Bracket: North Carolina, Colorado, Oregon, places with warm climates, places notorious for good BBQ, places I associate with this season of The Bachelor, places there are cowboys.

Places I Apparently Got the Wrong Impression About: the Midwest, anywhere it snows a lot but there aren't mountains, teams that are represented by initials that mean nothing to me (VCU? MTSU/SMC? LIU Br/JMU? note: Matt has now informed me that the LIU Br/JMU means that those are 2 separate teams and the game hasn't been played yet. Well SO SORRY LIU Br/JMU, I am still judging you for being a bundle of meaningless letters. Whoever you are, you lose to Indiana, causing Indiana to be pretty much the only Midwestern state that makes it out of the first round.)

How very fair and scientific of me, right? Well, it is what it is. My final bracket tip would be to fill yours out (if you're doing it on paper) in a bright and happy color. Brackets that are beautiful are bound to go farther, just like people that are beautiful are bound to go farther (on reality TV shows and presidential elections-- and don't think that a bias towards beauty is the only thing reality TV and elections have in common!). 

Now I suggest that you get right on filling out your bracket so that you can be the first to turn it in and get that extra day of mocking derision out of the "serious" bracket-filler-outers in your office. You picked ______??!?!?! they will say, implying that choosing a team based on the BBQ reputation of its city is a somehow inferior method of picking. And you will smile sweetly back at them and LAUGH IN THEIR FACE when your team actually DOES win...because sometimes, they will. And it'll all be worth it.


  1. This is like my scientific method of choosing a Super Bowl team to cheer for each year: choose the cutest quarterback! Hope this year's reasoning gets you some winnings!

  2. Love this. Though, being from CT, I'm a little sad you didn't pick UConn for the final four. Connecticut folk are nuts about them Huskies!

    One of my co-workers' children WON a March Madness bracket a couple years ago by literally choosing the "tougher" mascot to win. So, a bear would beat an eagle, or a dog (husky) for example.

    Hope you win!!

  3. This is my kind of logic. I once had a friend who asked me to pick between the Detroit Lions and St. Louis whatevers for his fantasy football thingy. He was shocked when I picked Detroit. I calmly explained that Detroit is a much rougher city than St. Louis. That means their team is clearly more rough and tough than St. Louis which means that St. Louis will obviously lose. He shook his head and walked away :)

    The pretty pink writing will definitely give your bracket the best odds possible. Good luck!

  4. Can't WAIT to do mine, however, I noticed you don't have Kansas going far which is a big BOOOO!!!! :)

  5. This is hilarious! Having dated a college basketball player (Sam) I figured out basketball and all of its rules and the great tourney several years ago. In college, Sam and I would get ULTRA competitive. The first year, when I was still learning, I spent like 5 hours on my bracket. I looked up EVERYTHING! But when I just couldn't decide… mascots and team colors! And guess what? I beat him!!!

  6. I live near Saratoaga raceway and each summer we go to the track for a day. I love to pick my horses based on the color the jockey wears, how pretty the horse is and the name of the horse! There is no theory involved, no odds or past race research involved! I win occasionally, but not due to anything other that pure luck :-)
    By the way, I love your ink choice...so very pretty!

  7. I choose what teams to cheer for based on if I have known people who live in that area and if I like them. Thus in NBA I cheer for the Utah Jazz and in NCAA I cheer for the University of Kansas -- The Jayhawks! And I always go for cool names too -- Wake Forest was always a favourite of mine :)

  8. Ha so I filled out one of these for the first time ever this year just last night and used the exact same method: zero research, 100% gut reaction. Which explains why the fact that I went to family camp in New Mexico growing up every year was my main motivation in having whichever NM school was on there make it so far. I think the whole thing took me all of 10 minutes. Brian laughed at my choices a few times and muttered things under his breath about how a #16 "seed" has never beaten a #1 "seed," but that didn't stop me!


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