Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Selection Sunday

A few years ago I noticed some coworkers talking about their “brackets.” I didn’t think they were that into hardware so I inquired. They told me about the NCAA basketball tournament. I was clueless because I mostly watched football growing up and didn’t go to college at a big “sports” school. My coworkers kindly gave me my own bracket to fill out. I was completely intimidated and just went by the little numbers in front of the team name. I don’t remember how I did that year. There was no money involved anyway; it was just for fun.
Fast forward to the present and I’m anxiously awaiting Selection Sunday! I went on the NCAA’s website to find out more about it and that started me thinking about the tournament. I did a little research (though not on NCAA’s page; I could find little information on the history of the tournament there and got very frustrated) onArticlesbase.com and Collegehoopsnet.com.
The NCAA tournament began in 1939 with 8 teams. They first began seeding the teams in 1979 (I’m thankful that they did. I’d be lost without those numbers!) when the tournament expanded to 40 teams. Today’s 65-team format began in 2001. There has been talk of expanding the tournament to 96 teams.
I don’t know about you, but in March I carry my bracket around with me practically everywhere. Last year, I was at my cousin’s house for Easter dinner. We were all having a nice time getting caught up. When someone turned the TV on and switched it to ESPN, my cousin took out his bracket. Then my other cousin and my cousin’s daughter’s boyfriend and finally myself had brackets in hand! We were all watching the scores to find out how we were doing. I don’t think 96 teams would fit on one piece of paper! Of course, they have online brackets now (I filled one out for the first time last year) but it just won’t be same!
I depend on the seeds, but after the first few rounds I can’t pick based solely on the seeding. I have a very scientific and knowledgeable way of choosing in close situations:
  1. Do I know the team’s name (like Tar Heels or Orangemen)
  2. Is the school in close proximity to somewhere I like to visit (like Boston or Chicago)
  3. Is the school in close proximity to somewhere I have relatives
Of course this didn’t help much in 2008 with the 8 verses 9 round. I picked two 8s and two 9s and I got every game wrong! So my solution in 2009 was to pick all 8’s. This would have gotten me half right the year before, but this year only got me 1 right!
Last year I did quite well with my bracket (see Mad about March), but the year before, I got 3 of the final 4 but neither of the final 2! The point being that you never really know, but it’s fun to try. I can't wait to fill out my 2010 braket!
This year I’m rooting for Syracuse. Go Orangemen!

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