Today starts a new season. No, not Spring. Well, Spring does start today but that’s not it. The new, big season is college basketball championship time, AKA March Madness. Between now and April 8 (that’s the day after the championship game), every local newscast, every national newscast, every newspaper, every Internet news site, and every sports outlet will have at least one story about the NCAA basketball tournament even if there isn’t a participating college within hundreds of miles of the reporter. Why? Why not?
The thing about the NCAA tournament is that it pervades all of America. It goes on forever. Underdogs win games. One bad night can send home the tournament favorite. Four good nights can put a nobody on the college basketball map. Everybody talks basketball for these three weeks. But you don’t like basketball, don’t understand basketball, and can’t tell the difference between a Gonzaga and a Hoya. What are you to do?
Here are our suggestions on how you too can enjoy March Madness without knowing anything about basketball.
You have to have a bracket. Everybody needs a bracket. It is the starting point for all discussions between now and the championship game. We hear you now. What’s a bracket and where do I get one? Find any sports site, click on NCAA (they all have it somewhere on a navigation bar) find Bracket Challenge, Bracketology, Tournament Challenge, or something that looks like that. Print that out, fill it out, and post it on your wall, in your cubicle, alongside your computer monitor. Make it prominent in your workplace. It doesn’t matter who you’ve picked, it matters that you’ve picked. Now you’re in the game.
There are so many teams, so many games, how do you pick the winners? This is the easy part. Nobody picks winners. The discussions are all about how the discussers are disgusted because their teams lost. You can pick losers just as easily and have fun with it. Here are some ways to pick your winners (or losers) even if you know nothing about basketball – like most people but who are afraid to admit it.
Pick your cities. You may not know the colleges but you probably know where they are. Often their locations are right in their names. Cincinnati is right there. Milwaukee still has snow. Can’t narrow it down to a city? Eastern Kentucky is close enough. Find the location you’d rather be and there is your winner.
Pick your mascot. Sometimes this takes a little research but a few clicks on the mouse and you’ll soon find that there are panthers, wildcats, and gators. Pick your favorite animal. Maybe you’re more into people or occupations. Choose from among lumberjacks, colonels, or corn huskers. Then there are those that defy definition including the shockers, aggies, and orange. Which reflects the true you. There’s your winner.
Go for the underdog. Every bracket you can download includes the teams’ seeding or ranking for the tournament. The higher the number less favored that team is to win that game. Go big. Pick nobody but the underdogs. If you want to cut right to the chase, find at least three experts on three different expert sites. Find the common team that those experts are appalled that the college actually made it into the tournament. Any team that is so bad that nobody can say anything nice about must really belong. Pick that team as your overall winner.
Work the color pallet. A couple of clicks to get some pictures or video clips and you can get a good read on what colors a team’s uniforms are. Pick the ones that match your mood, match your style, or match your kitchen. Sounds like a winner to us.
So there are our picks on how to pick your picks. Of course it isn’t scientific. Neither is trying to pick a winner based on this season’s performance. Get into the game. This is going to be fun. Or at the very least, maddening!
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?