Big news here at The Wayniac blogosphere. I am proud to introduce our first guest writer. Mike Dunton, aka Q-Tip if you’ve read my shout outs, is an old friend from Delaware. He’s a long-time UNC fan which makes him a professional Duke hater. He has already helped out by providing valuable information for my Hate Duke Nation piece in February. Today he becomes a full-fledged contributor to the ever growing Wayniac Nation.
So without further ado: BRACKETIQUETTE (we’re TMing this baby!)
Brackets are here! Some teams had their bubble burst on Sunday, some weren’t even considered, but for 68 teams all of the hard work paid off with their long awaited invite to the Big Dance. For me, Selection Sunday is like Christmas morning. I can remember laying on the floor in my parents’ living room with a bracket I made on oak tag during the Big 10 championship game so I could fill it out as the teams were announced. I waited all day for the selections, waiting to fill out each team as they were announced. There were times I felt that CBS should have a camera on ME filming my reaction to the match-ups, the cheering for those who snuck in, and the helpless eye rolls of despair of those who didn’t make the cut. Today, things have become much easier thanks to technology, but it is still a piece of my childhood. Every time I hear that siren’s song of CBS’ March Madness music, I get antsy watching who’s in and who’s out. Then I wait with bated breath to see where my favorite team (UNC) and least favorite team (Duke) are heading. After taking in all the glory that is the NCAA bracket, I try to figure out which region is the proverbial walk in the park — this is usually where Duke lands — and which team’s chances of making it to the Final Four are like surviving the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones.
With all of this excitement, there are a few things to remember as you prepare to fill out your bracket for your office pool or your chance at the $1 Billion from Warren Buffet. Here are some rules I have lived by for the majority of my life when it comes to entering these pools:
5 Ways to Ensure People Don’t Hate You During the Madness:
1. You can only fill out one bracket per pool that you enter. I loathe the person who enters a pool with multiple brackets. You are showing us that you can’t decide if Delaware is going to beat Michigan State in Round 2 (formally known as Round 1). Not cool! This is not a true bracketologist. There is no skill to this — you are hedging your bets! This is a person who enters multiple sheets all with different scenarios and then, if by chance they win, they brag about their “mad skills” as if they were the next Joe Lunardi. Well, that doesn’t fly in my world. Fill out one bracket per pool. If you want multiple scenarios, enter multiple bracket pools. At the very least it will make you look like you know what you are doing instead of being a person who dropped $50 in order to win $100.
2. Enter a pool that allows upset points for the lower seeds victories. This makes the games so much more entertaining. There was no greater thrill I had than watching the 15 seed Coppin State Eagles take down the 2 seed South Carolina Gamecocks in the 1997 tournament and knowing that I had picked it. My friends and I were fully invested in the game because I had a chance to receive an additional 13 points on that pick. Without the upset points, I could have cared less what happened to the Eagles after their win. Instead, I became one of those jackasses screaming at the one TV that no one is watching. Those teams may become yearly picks for you if they pay off one time in your brackets. After all, that’s how Gonzaga made their name!
3. No one wants to hear that you picked based on mascots or colors. That line is older than, “How you doing?” It’s played out. We get it — you didn’t know anything about the 7 vs.11 matchup in the West region so you looked at the cute bear and picked that team. There are people like myself who watch a lot of college basketball and feel betrayed by teams when they let us down in games that we thought we picked right. If you happen to pick based on your favorite color and win, just smile and say, “lucky guess” when asked how you knew that team was going to win.
4. Pick with your brain not your heart. It is going to be hard for me to pick against my alma mater Delaware next week. It’s tough to make a pick that will knowingly break my heart. I am pretty sure that, as much as I want them to win, my wallet is pulling for the higher seed. So here is what I tell you: take a realistic look at the whole region “your” team is in. If you think that their opponent in round 2 has no realistic chance of winning the region, then pick with your heart. It’s fun to have a game like that on your bracket on the off chance your team pulls the upset. But you have to face reality. Let your brain start picking after that first game. It is going to keep you in the pool longer, and you will be happier down the road.
5. Know what teams you picked on your bracket. Nothing makes me more irritated than spending the day with a group at a sports bar and listening to someone tell me, “I think I picked that upset, I think I picked that one too, and that one.” Then hours later you check your pool’s standings and they were wrong on 3 out of 4 of them. All that means is that you wanted to pick it but did not have the cahones to do so. If you make an upset pick, you are going to know that you picked it and we won’t question it. A little bit of help here is to print out your bracket(s) and bring them with you if you don’t think you will remember teams. I had mine in 2011 at the Time Warner Arena in Charlotte so I could keep up with the games and ended up walking out of the arena next to Pat Riley. Guess who signed my bracket? See, they can come in handy for other things too!
Now go have some fun and pick some winners! (You can follow Dunton on Twitter at @dartbus1521).