Thursday, March 19, 2009


Alright, class. Pencils down.

After all the hemming and hawing. After all the scratching off and erasing. And after all the second guessing. It's time to turn in your brackets. March Madness has officially begun. Which means all across the nation people are sitting at their desks, set on automatic refresh, brackets and highlighters in hand, anxiously chatting with co-workers about their picks, ready (well, as ready as they can be) for what comes next. Ready for the madness. And as we sit anticipating the first tip off, we're enjoying that familiar feeling that comes each March. That feeling of mastery. That premonition that this year we got it right.

Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but enjoy that feeling while it lasts. 48 hours from now (or for some of us 6 hours from now), you'll be staring at your bracket wondering how you ever got it so wrong. Seriously considering ripping your bracket to shreds. Wishing you wouldn't have listened to Barack-etology quite so intently. Wondering why you ever thought Michigan State could make it to the Final Four after nearly losing to the Hoosiers a few short weeks ago. Begging to get your $10 back from the office pool. But that, my friends, is the thing I love most about March Madness. The madness itself.

You see, when it comes down to it, it's not entirely about the team that's the most talented. Or the most prepared. Or the most experienced. Sure, it's a little bit of all those things, but (and here's what we tend to overlook when filling out our brackets) there's also an element of sheer luck. It's that luck - that on any given day, any team can win or lose to any other team - that drives us all, well, mad. Even the best and brightest of us can't predict what's going to happen. Not me. Not you. Not Digger. Not Jay. Not Bobby. Not even Dicky V. No one can. In fact sometimes (much to my dismay) it seems like when it comes to March Madness, the more you know, the less you know.

Everyone "knows" that at least one #12 seed always seems to upset a #5 seed. In fact, 31 times since 1985, they have pulled an upset in the first round. And, up until last year, everyone "knew" that all four #1 seeds never make it to the final four. But, really, what we know is the past. This year and this tournament is the present. This tournament is another chance to make history. To re-write what we all "know" about March Madness. And another chance for me to finally win the office pool.

Unfortuantely, I'll likely lose again this year. Lose to the woman in production who doesn't know a three-pointer from a technical foul. Lose to my roommate who will base her choices on school mascots. Or number of letters in the team name. Or the color of their jerseys.

But that's the best part. We all know that we could do just as well flipping a coin, but yet we fill out our brackets carefully each year. Each year we look with pride on our masterpiece. At least until tip-off.

And now, just so you can share in what I'm sure will be my misery, my 2009 picks:

Final Four: MSU, Pitt, UNC, Mizzou
Final Game: MSU, UNC
Champion: UNC

What can I say? Go HEELS!

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