Beyond the Madness: Aggravation

Ken RubensteinCorrespondent IApril 8, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 05:  A genral view of the Butler Bulldogs as they play against the Duke Blue Devils during the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Yes, I’m aware the NCAA men’s basketball championship was a mere three days ago, but there are some things about the entire tournament that still irk me.  From the beginning, all I heard was how wide open the field was going to be this year…there wasn’t a single dominant team outside of Kansas (we all saw what happened with them) and maybe Kentucky (they fared only slightly better).

After the first weekend, it was evident the “experts” were correct in that sense.  However, with only a single No. 1 seed and two No. 5 seeds making the Final Four, the “experts’” overall picks weren’t too hot either.

In fact, if Duke had lost to Baylor in the Elite Eight, this would have been only the third time since 1979 that no No. 1 seed would have made the Final Four.  Alas, Duke crushed all of our fragile, yearning hearts and kept history at a measly two years: 1980 and 2006.

My bracket wasn’t just busted, it was mutilated…and even that would be a pretty sight compared to the plethora of cross-outs that cover my NCAA bracket from The New York Times.

I’m promising myself right now that this will be the last time I even look at my bracket or fantasize about what could have been throughout this tournament.

Oh Georgetown…how you go from almost winning the Big East Championship to losing to Ohio in the first round is beyond my extensive comprehension.  The Hoyas had me sweating in the Midwest.

I don’t know if anyone doubted they had the talent to make the Final Four, but the sporadic clean play kept me from moving them too far into the tournament…and thankfully I had them losing in the Sweet 16.  The only consistent aspect of this team was the inconsistent play on the court from week to week.

Kansas…oh man.  I had them winning it all, which explains the fact that they lost to Northern Iowa in the, yes, second round.  My best pick of the entire tournament was Cornell over Temple.

What I thought was a simple pick, Siena over Purdue, illustrated my obscene ignorance of men’s college basketball.  The irony of it all is that I probably watched more college basketball this year than any other year prior.

I’ll admit it, I spent about three hours contemplating my bracket and then making my picks the Monday before the tournament started.  I ended up with one correct Final Four pick.  What a disgraceful waste of time.  I can think of a few other ways I could have made my picks and probably would have had more overall success.

Three methods come to mind.  First is the location method.  With each matchup, I could have chosen the school I would most want to go based on geographic location.  Next is the mascot method.

I could have made my picks based on which mascot I thought would have won in a one-on-one fight…for example, when Ohio State played Tennessee, it was a clash of the Buckeyes (a poisonous nut) and the Volunteers (their official mascot is actually Smokey, a blue tick coonhound).  That would have made for an intriguing faceoff.

Last is the color method.  It’s as easy as it sounds: pick a winner based on your favorite color between the school colors in play. But of course, I chose the method of actually thinking about which teams might win certain games en route to the championship.

Moral of the March Madness saga: You are probably better off randomly picking teams to win than consciously thinking about each matchup’s intricacies.  If you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself next year; I know I will…I can’t possibly do any worse.