Embrace the Madness

 

No, this isn’t about my depression.

I’m talking March Madness. The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. It’s quite a spectacle; if you haven’t observed it before, it’s worth checking out.

What happens is, at the end of the regular season, a committee selects all the teams that will play in the tournament, based on criteria such as win-loss record, strength of schedule, favorite uniform colors, noise of school band, personal hygiene, etc. Approximately 2,000 teams are selected, (slight exaggeration, but it sure seems like that many) and paired up according to how they potentially match up against each other. It’s like match.com for college basketball.

And then they all play at once! But that’s OK if you have access to several video screens; you’ll be able to keep track of Duke vs. UCLA on one screen, and Upper Eastern Middle Hacksaw State vs. Our Lady of Airballs on another.

(Our Lady of Airballs, incidentally, is such a small school that this season, their team included two high school boys and the mascot. The mascot led the team in scoring.)

The thing is, all the games are elimination games, so the field whittles down quickly, from 2,000 teams to just two, who then play for the championship. That means any team, on any given day, can beat any other team. (not really, everybody just likes to believe that, but come on!) Some surprises happen along the way, though; some teams that were favored to go a long way in the tournament get “upset” by teams that basically weren’t given much of a chance. The reason those games are known as “upsets” is because all the people that filled out brackets get really upset when those happen.

What are brackets, you ask? Don’t.

Too late. You already did.

 

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Gives you a headache just looking at it, right? But lots of people – normally sane people – fill these things out, predicting the winners of all the games, and then bet money on them! Hence, the “Madness.”

Of course, many of these folks won’t stop with just one bracket. They may fill out dozens of these things, greatly increasing their odds of winning some big money…

…or of being locked away in a sanitarium.

Okay. Time to get crazy. Take it away, band!!

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