Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FENECH | Think you can win your NCAA bracket pool? Good luck

Issue date: 3/18/08

By Anthony Fenech

Hey, you over there, the one who's huddled around a bracket, agonizing over the LSU-Texas game?

You're not winning.

And you, the one who keeps flip-flopping your Final Four teams because you think there are too many top seeds?

Yeah, you're not winning your bracket pool either.

And for those of you who find it way too difficult to pick half of your match-ups, instead opting for the "Aw, shucks, I'll just make another bracket" route to bracket glory?

Well, you've already lost.

Let me explain. Literally every person in America - yes, every single one - will join millions of people entering millions of bracket pools trying to win millions of dollars.

Some of those people will fill out more than one bracket.

Now, I know those statements to be true because last year, my mom came home from work one day and informed me that she had entered not only one but two brackets in her work pool.

That very moment represented the two things that I resent the most about NCAA Tournament bracket pools: Someone with as little sports knowledge as my mother can win, and people fill out more than one bracket.

To a college basketball fan, the NCAA Tournament is a final exam that you can't pass. Since November, you have watched game after game after game, storing the players and teams you see into the back of your head for March Madness.

Year after year after year, you come up empty-handed; left to wonder how someone that doesn't know what the initials VCU stand for can win. (What, too soon?)

But that's exactly the fuel that makes the tournament the biggest sports gambling draw besides the Super Bowl. You can win by analyzing every statistic and you can win by simply closing your eyes and circling the winners. But remember, thinking you can win at all will just set your heart up for disappointment - because you can't.

Which brings us to my least favorite group of people this side of the Facebook employees who thought it'd be a good idea to make the world upset: Those who think they can win by playing more brackets.

You can spot these people quite easily by hearing them say something like, "Well, I picked Duke in my first bracket, not in my second or third, but in my fourth, too, so I'm cool."

It's pretty much the most un-American-American move there is: You take the easy way out on picking a winner (un-American) all for the sake of better odds at the bucks (American).

So I'm convinced there are two different types of people in the world: those who fill out one bracket and those who fill out more than one.

And when it comes down to it, they both lose.

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