Apr 032003
Authors: Jon Ackerman

Let me tell you something you should all know about life and the NCAA Tournament: it ain’t fair.

It’s all about learning from past mistakes to prevent future ones, right? Yeah, that doesn’t work. Just look at my bracket.

Every year I know it’s a free-for-all. You can never pick the right upset, the right dark horse, or the right No. 1 seed to make it to the Final Four.

I read the newspapers. I read the magazines. I read the online sports sites. And I know it all does me no good come bracket-picking time. So this year I put as little effort into picking my teams as I could. Not expecting much, I did rather well the first two days of the tournament. The third and fourth days weren’t half bad either. I actually led my pool for a couple hours.

Then the hammer came down. Out went my runner-up. Out went my Midwest Region winner. Out went my national champion. Of all the teams I had in the Final Four, Syracuse was the one I was least sure about.

Yet there the Orangmen are, up against Texas, who should have lost to Florida, according to me. Then there’s Marquette, who should have lost to Pitt, who should have lost to Kentucky. In the West there’s Kansas, who wasn’t supposed to beat Arizona. And now I’m in eighth place.

But what irks me is my pool leader. He’s somewhat sports savvy, only he’s the president of the American Fisheries Society at CSU. What rainbow trout told him to pick Texas and Syracuse?

Then there’s second place in my pool, the future doctor. Apparently some cell morphed into a genius and predicted Kansas vs. Texas in the championship game.

Who’s in third? Oh, that would be a NASCAR fan. He made a left turn and ran into 12 correct Sweet 16 picks.

It just makes no sense. Looking down at the bottom of my pool in 15th place is this guy who has won the pot two years running. Was he on ephedrine when he picked a Kentucky-Arizona-Florida-Oklahoma Final Four? You wouldn’t have thought so.

Then look at 16th place. He recently graduated, so he’s doing nothing but watching ESPN. That really got him far.

The thing is, though, that I knew you didn’t need to know anything to win the pool. So what I did this year, thinking my so-called knowledge would get me as far as the other side of the room, was pay for someone who knew absolutely nothing. I’d cover the entry fee, as long as I received 50 percent of the pot they won.

This person had all sorts of unique ways to make picks: favorite colors, cutest mascots, and even the enie-menie-minie-moe bit.

The final product seemed to be a solid bracket, rife with stunning upsets, one Cinderella, but mostly logical teams in the Final Four. I figured my logical picks wouldn’t work, but these illogical ones would.

Yeah, she’s in dead last. I’ll finish just better than the middle of the pack, but that gives me nothing, except a bigger hole in my wallet.

Another year, another lost bet, another ignorant sap taking my money. Another year I tried to be smart with my bracket-picking, and another year I have to explain to the parents why I spend so much money in March.

It’s too bad the American Fisheries Society doesn’t have some event my clueless mind could gamble on.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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