What a Bracket

For the past 24 hours sports fans around the country have been frantically searching the Internet for any tidbit of information that would give them an edge in selecting their NCAA basketball picks. Yes ladies and gentlemen we have now officially entered what is lovingly referred to as March Madness. It is that one time of year when suddenly everyone is a college basketball expert. And what better way to show this new found expertise than to successfully predict who will come out victorious and be crowned as college basketball’s champion. For the past week my email inbox has been flooded with invitations to join this site or that site and pick the winners. The prizes are plentiful and impressive. One site is offering $1 million to anyone who can successfully predict every winner in the tournament. Another site offers an opportunity for the winner to drive away in a brand new car. The most fascinating offer came from a farmer who had his own tournament selection contest and offered his pig to the winner. I know there is nothing that says “I know basketball” quite like winning a pig. After reading that offer I began to imagine what life would be like should I win. Placing an official NCAA collar around my pig’s neck I would proudly walk down the street where everyone would stop and point. I could even hear their whispers, “hey look at that! I bet that is that basketball genius guy who won the pig! That is some pig!” At that point all that I would really be lacking is a talking spider who could spell things using spider webs and I would have all the raw materials necessary for a great children’s book and a really pathetic movie. Really there is only one thing stopping this fantasy from becoming a reality.

I don’t have any clue about college basketball. All I really know is that March Madness is the bridge that takes us from the waning moments of Spring Training to the majesty of Opening Day. Beyond that I don’t have a clue. I know the ball is bigger than baseball and that they always seem to play in a dome without a retractable roof. Oh wait, I just saw on television that there are five players per side and a total of 12 or 15 on the roster. I guessed at that last number range as these kids don’t seem to know how to sit still long enough for me to take roll. This is not good. My lack of basketball knowledge is not going to help me in the quest for the pig. So like countless others I turned to the Internet for answers. This is where things kind of broke down. Maybe I used the wrong search terms but I didn’t get much help. It’s weird, you would have thought that entering the terms “March”, “madness”, and “pig” I would have gotten all the help I needed but that wasn’t the case. Oh sure I got results; 174,000 to be exact but very few of them seemed even remotely associated with picking the winners to win a pig. I have to comment right here that there are some pretty sick people out there. Well maybe it is the pigs that are sick but I am guessing it is the people since pigs don’t have opposable thumbs and therefore the odds of a pig actually making a web site are pretty rare. It was pretty clear that I was going to be on my own on this one which is a pretty scary thought. I pulled out my brackets and began to look at the teams. I initially considered picking just the home teams. That’s perfect! We always hear how important home field advantage is in sports. Excitedly I began to go down the page to select the home teams. What the heck? All of these games are being played in relatively neutral locations. Well there went a perfectly good idea. My next idea was to solicit the help of my kids. I found out they know even less about college basketball than I do. Whitney my brain child suggested picking the teams with more vowels. I’ve watched enough Wheel of Fortune in my life to know that vowels cost money whereas consonants earn money so therefore vowels are worth more. She might just have something. Tiffany suggested that I pick the teams with the longer shorts since good players would not be caught dead wearing short shorts. Well she did have a point, there is no way I would be caught dead in a pair of those Larry Bird looking shorts. Dakota said, “pick the Suns, they have Shaq”. Yeah, that is why he is still in school. None of these suggestions were getting me any closer to winning a pig. I went to Trina to ask her opinion. I should have gone there first. After all, Trina played college basketball so she must know which teams I should pick. I failed to remember that Trina played college basketball back in the time when they used actual peach baskets for the goals. Ok, she isn’t that old (I think). After my attempts at humor I got absolutely no help from her. I was clearly on my own. Time was running out and I needed to get my picks in before the games started. I finally decided to rely on my own system of picking the winners. I developed a complex formula that took into consideration wins, losses, strength of schedule, and RPI. The results of that formula were then fed into a second formula that weighted the number by factoring in recent wins and losses and number of times the coach had made the NCAA tournament. These results were then ranked and listed. I then took all this scientific data and then picked the teams whose colors closely matched Sedona Red, Sonoran Sand, or Black. I figure I will win the day that pigs sprout wings and start to fly and I’ll own that pig.

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