It’s come to this. After years of beating my head against the wall filling out brackets only to have them fall into a smoldering ruin, I decided to finally say, “Screw it,” last year, and randomized my bracket selections for the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament by playing “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” while inebriated. Hey, it beats spinning.
The sad part is, I didn’t do that bad. My regular bracket was still better last year, but this year will be different. Instead of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” I went to the local dog park early one morning and laid a giant bracket canvas over a portion of the area. That evenin,g I returned to see paw prints, tears, chewing points, and some other, obvious stains all over the bracket. By comparing the staining on each school’s name based on shades (the deeper the color, the more dogs chose that school), I surmised which school should go on to the next round, therefore filling my bracket.
Now you can follow my progress for each round, and see just how futile your own bracket-filling process was.
The first two rounds of the tournament are usually where brackets do or die. It is also where the randomness of my own dog piss-filled bracket science takes shape.
The dogs clearly have a love (or hate, depending on how you look at it) for many of the front-runners. Schools such as Oregon, Baylor, Michigan State, Duke, North Carolina, Miami, Utah, and Virginia received their passes to round 2. Clearly these dogs know talent, and decided to prepare these players for what awaits them in the NBA.
Then there were the Cinderella teams. You call them Cinderella teams, but they are more like “What were you smoking?” teams. The kinds of teams that screwed your bracket over last year. Some of this year’s gems include:
#16 Austin Peay over #1 Kansas
#15 Cal. State-Bakersfield over #2 Oklahoma
#13 Stony Brook over #4 Kentucky
#13 Hawaii over #4 California
Most of the other games were how I would have picked things, for the most part. Gonzaga getting into Round 2 over Seton Hall and Temple playing spoiler over Iowa were two, surrounded by a pile of picks by Captain Obvious. Unfortunately, the randomness gave me Texas Tech over Butler, but you have to take the good with the bad if you want to overcome your pride.
Now the fun begins by seeing how far this bracket can go.
Round 1: Aftermath
Like so many of us, I found myself saying, “Well, that was fun.” So many brackets live or die in Round 1, and my random bracket was no better.
#16 Austin Peay’s French villain caricatures’ major upset over #1 Kansas? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Neither did California-Bakersfield’s miracle over Oklahoma. Stony Brook didn’t take Kentucky, and S.F. Austin State took down West Virginia, who was going to win the whole damn thing. So my bracket has more emptiness on it than Baylor’s rebounding. The dogs did manage to call Hawaii over California, which would have been a coin-flip game anyway. I was in line with Wichita State over Arizona and Gonzaga over Seton Hall, but I don’t think that was much of a stretch for an upset.
Of course, I found myself on the losing end of Yale win over Baylor like the rest of us. Who knew Ivy League schools that churn out lawyers could hang with Division I? Michigan State didn’t make it past Middle Tennessee, which sounds more like a community college than a state university. Little Rock took down Purdue.
Next up, Round Two and whatever is left of my tattered sheet of idiocy.