Sunday, March 09, 2008

March Madness - Advanced Bracketology

It’s March. And that means madness is upon us – in the form of insane, ridiculous, grotesquely exciting college basketball action.

If you’re anything like me, you look forward to participation in the office pool, or March Madness Bracket Challenge. And also, if you’re like me, you feel like you have some sort of magical ability to predict all of the first-round upsets – as if you have a mystical connection to the future, or you’re on a first-name basis with Fate and Destiny.

In other words, come March Madness time, you think you’re a fucking wizard.

Yeah, me too.

The thing is, there’s no way you could accurately predict the outcome of so many of these March Madness games. Final scores often defy any attempt at rational explanation. And to make matters worse, I’ll spend time researching the various match-ups before I make my picks.

Sounds reasonable, right? For example, a team with lousy perimeter defense could have trouble with a team that fires a lot of three-pointers. Makes sense. Maybe that could spell an upset.

Don’t let the logic fool you.

March Madness results have less to do with prior performance, and more to do with team colors, mascots, and physical attractiveness of the cheerleaders, players, and coaches.

Think about it.

Every year in your office pool, someone’s totally ignorant grandmother, who’s never watched a college basketball game in her life (she’s probably afraid of black people, unfortunately) picks the near perfect bracket, and takes home first prize – based upon nothing more than how the head coach combs his hair, or if he has any hair to comb.

Or better yet, another co-worker’s two year old child makes the picks based upon which school’s mascot looks the most like Big Bird, or the Teletubbies. And I’ll be damned if that kid didn’t pick Princeton to beat UCLA in 1996. Or Villanova to win the National Championship back in ’85, barely slipping past mighty Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas.

The secret to those picks? The mascots of the winning teams remind kids of cartoon characters.

Princeton Tiger = Tony The Tiger

Villanova Wildcat = Lion-O, youthful leader of the Thundercats

Bruins and Hoyas? Give me a break. I don't even know what those are, and I'm an adult. How can you expect a kid to know something that an adult doesn't know?

That being said, I’ve always believed the children are our future. Teach them well, and let them make our bracket selections. Show them all the money they can win from sports betting. Give them a sense of pride, to make their picks more easily. And let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to cry ourselves to sleep in the shower after incorrectly picking every single first-round upset on our own.

Anyways, just my two cents.

So this year, things are gonna be different. I won’t be making my picks in the same manner as I have in the past.

There will be no deliberate analysis of this season’s statistics. I will not consider recent performance to be at all indicative of potential tournament performance.

I will not take into consideration injuries to key players. I refuse to factor in strength of schedule.

There will be no need for me to look at tournament seeds.

Rather, I will have Jaimi make all of my picks, based solely upon any or all of the following factors (she will decide the ultimate weighting of these variables):

- Concentration of Starbucks stores on or near campus
- Length of point guard’s sideburns
- Color of mascot’s fur/hair/suit of armor
- The school’s most recent Spring Fling featured band, and the number of years it’s been since they had a hit song (e.g. - The Lemonheads were at my senior year Spring Fling, and even back then it had been 6 years since anyone had heard from them.)
- Who from Jaimi’s high school class went the school, if any
- Average summertime temperature of the school’s main campus

And anything else she feels like considering.

Or, alternatively, none of the above and just pick names out of a hat. That would probably work just as well as anything else.

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