Bracket Madness

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Warning: These picks are embarrassing.

A quick glance is all it takes to see that just two rounds into the NCAA Basketball Tournament my bracket is blown to pieces. I went 21-11 in the opening round of 64. Not good, especially considering that my pick as the 2012 national champion (Missouri) went down to a 15 seed.

Why would I pick Missouri to win it all? Hey, to have any chance to win that million dollar national prize you’ve got to make some off-the-wall picks. No way can you go with the favorite in each game and have any chance to win. It’s a given that there will be upsets in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. In fact there will be a bunch of them and they will be crazy, like Norfolk St. beating Missouri.

Now tell me, who would predict a game like that? I don’t know who but I know why. Somebody would pick an upset like that because it is exactly the kind of madness that caused the NCAA  Basketball Tournament to be labeled as “March Madness” in the first place.

Former Razorback Cory Beck explained it to me many years ago. He played on teams that went 11-1 in the NCAA Basketball Tournament in 1994-95. I figured that if anybody understood the madness it would be him.

“So how does a 15 seed beat a two seed?” I asked him.

“Because,” he answered, “that two seed probably has a short, slow guy who gets in your face and sticks to you like glue. He doesn’t look like he did in the game video you watched. He’s quicker. He jumps higher. He shoots better. You’re saying to yourself, ‘he can’t be doing this’ but he is.”

The Razorbacks made it to the national championship game in 1995 but they almost fell victim to the madness when Texas Southern took them to the wire in an Austin, Texas first round game.

The Tigers had a player who was hobbling around on one good knee and for the longest time I thought he was going to personally send Arkansas home on day one. Even guys on one leg can scare the fool out of you.

The key to good bracketology is to be able to identify jacked up overachievers like that and the teams they play for. But even if you do your research it’s a huge hit or miss to pick the right guy on the right team on the right day in the right game.

Two words come to mind.

Shear luck.

So here I sit looking at my bracket as the 2012 tournament enters the round of 16. It is beyond awful. The 28-11 I managed in round one looks like a work of genius compared to the kicking I took after that. In games played on Saturday and Sunday I was a mind numbing 4-12.

Are you kidding me? Did I get anything right?

Well I do have Kentucky going to the Final Four and they’ve made it to the Sweet 16. That puts me right in there with about ten million other bracket geniuses (or is it genii ?).

I did pick San Heath to take his South Florida team to the Sweet 16 and while they didn’t make it they managed to upset Temple in the first round. Wow, that’s one unexpected point.

I have Cincinnati going to the Final Four and they’re still in it but I also picked Davidson as a Sweet 16 team and they didn’t win a game.

Look, there’s no other way to put this. My bracket stinks. I need to give this stuff up. There’s no science to it. It’s all out madness.

Next year I will refuse to participate.

Remind me of that when the time comes. I might forget.

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