To the 32 teams that went home from the NCAA tournament this weekend, leaving championship dreams behind for a long offseason of reflection, reassessment and rebuilding, I want to share these words of solace and encouragement, from the deepest parts of my heart.
First of all, how dare you.
I mean, I trusted you. I believed in you.
Now, let’s be clear about this. I didn’t follow college basketball very closely this season. I mean, I get the broad strokes: that Scion guy’s pretty good, and the usual suspects — Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA — are all basically where we expected them to be, but I didn’t watch a lot of regular-season games.
I’m busy, you know. I have many interests.
But that doesn’t take away my god-given right to accurately predict 63/63 unique events and win the praise, adulation and petty cash of my coworkers and personal associates.
You see, I’m savvy. I know all the angles. There’s just a few strategies you have to follow to win your bracket, and I followed them all.
First? You pick a 12-over-5 upset. Those always happen. And you know what? That happened. Three out of the four. Liberty? Getting it in is a big step for you guys, let alone lasting. Murray State? I’ve always loved you, whoever you are. Oregon? I did not realize the Pac-12 played basketball, but it’s probably wise for them to branch out.
No complaints with this wing of my strategy.
Then, you pick a 2-seed to lose in the first weekend. It’s happened something like 21 of the last 22 years. It’s guaranteed to jump you ahead in your bracket, leaving all those losers who took those teams deep in your rearview. Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State. All viable choices to be upset. But now I’m left surprised and dismayed that Michigan State won? What am I, Urban Meyer after handing the ball to my all-American running back five times?
Next, you’re gonna want a Cinderella. No one wins a bracket simply by taking chalk. So I threw all in with Belmont. Do I have some insider information on this team? No. Do I know what their mascot is? Also no. Do I know where Belmont even is? What is this, a geography test? All I know is, they’re a team of destiny and I believed in them all along.
So I don’t know where the hell Maryland gets off, denying fate and ripping out the hearts of lifelong Belmont Wildcats (?) fans everywhere, from (Milwaukee?) to (I bet they’re in North Carolina?). We’re heartbroken, all of us (look for our hashtag on twitter, “Belmont [Borat voice] is Nice”. or #BBN), but we still love our Tigers or whatever.
Cinderella runs are meant to end eventually, of course, and sometimes they just end in the first round. That’s why you also pick an under-seeded power team, one that knows how to win the big one but might’ve not showed their true capability in the regular season. So, I picked #7-seed Louisville. I mean, hey, those guys won a championship just a couple years ago, right? They’ve got the banners to prove it, I assume [gestures up to rafters without looking]. Anyways, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by a quick exit that left a Pitino smiling.
I hedged my bets, though, and picked Florida, too. They didn’t win, but hey, congratulations on being the second Florida team to put up 40-something on Michigan this year.
What I’m getting at here is, there are certain things I should be able to count on. I should be able to reliably pick upsets regardless of whether or not I’ve followed a team this year. I need you all to be a lot more consistent. I need someone who’s going to step up, do what it takes, and provide me a reliable way to pick a lower seed to win, year in and year out.
You know what, basketball is stupid anyways. I’m more of a college baseball fan.
(Is it baseball season?)