Filling out brackets can ruin March MadnessPublished 8:32am Thursday, March 31, 2011
Column: Second Thoughts
I didn’t win my NCAA Tournament office pool this year and what a relief that is. That means I actually enjoyed the tournament. Because if I had won my office pool that would likely mean two, three or even four No. 1 seeds would be playing in the Final Four Saturday night — not Butler and definately not VCU.
How great is that!?
Sure I didn’t win any money (I only bet $5) but instead I am about to watch the unlikeliest Final Four in the history of the tournament duke it out for an NCAA title. That’s worth much more than any office-pool prize (would have been $12).
To be honest, I love the underdog and hate teams like Ohio State, Duke, Kansas and Pittsburgh — but I put them all in my Final Four anyway. I guess that means I’m no good at filling out a bracket or too scared to pick a mid-major over a Big Ten power — probably both.
If you haven’t been following the NCAA Tournament this spring, the final four teams left of the 68-team field are No. 3-seeded Connecticut, No. 4 Kentucky, No. 8 Butler and No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU won five consecutive games in 11 days to earn a spot in the Final Four. I didn’t pick them to win even one.
I don’t think I’ve ever won an NCAA Tournament pool. I struggle picking upsets. I know who I want to win but never think they actually will. And that’s why filling out brackets can ruin March Madness for me.
When Butler was leading Pittsburgh in the second round, I had to bite my tounge. I wanted to cheer for Butler but had No. 1-seeded Pitt in my Final Four and the friends I was watching the game with knew that.
There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing Duke lose, but when Arizona knocked them out in the Sweet 16, again I had to restrain my enthusiasm. I had Duke in the Final Four, too.
After Ohio State lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16, and I gave up any hope of winning my office pool, I began to enjoy the tournament more. I cheered loudly for VCU over Kansas and was estatic when they locked up a spot against Butler in the national semifinals (one of the best matchups in Final Four history).
It took 11 days and 64 games for my bracket to self destruct and allow me to enjoy the tournament. Next year I may save myself the trouble and pass on the office pool.
Tribune sports editor Andrew Dyrdal’s column appears every Thursday. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.