“March Madness” primarily refers to the inter-office semi-legalized gambling that takes place every spring right after everyone becomes an instant self-proclaimed expert on whether [insert random basketball player name here] has the “ups” and “efficiency numbers” to “contribute” the maximum number of “quotation marks” to “complete” this sentence. There are also some basketball games. The tournament is for men and women in U.S. Division 1 NCAA schools, although occasionally a Central American team, such as Gonzaga, sneaks in there. It consists of 68 teams, 67 of which don’t begin with the words “Duke”, involved in a single elimination, no holds barred, last-ditch-effort use of as much hyperbole as possible leading up to the Final Four games contested on the last weekend of play. You’ll know it has arrived when your husband starts shouting “Yeah, baby! One and done!” at your toddler on the potty.
9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1
[pullquote type=”right”]Many people participate in “pools”; groups of people who fill out the official NCAA basketball “brackets” partially by using their knowledge of college basketball they just got this morning on ESPN.com[/pullquote]Many people participate in “pools”; groups of people who fill out the official NCAA basketball “brackets” partially by using their knowledge of college basketball they just got this morning on ESPN.com, but mostly by whether Kentucky is any good this year. Most of these efforts are meaningless, however, as the pool is usually won by Susie in the Records Department, who knows nothing about sports and chooses her teams by arranging them in alphabetical order. The odds of filling out a perfect bracket are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, which is about the same odds as not being in a seat on an airplane right behind the crying baby.
Neutral compositories and frozen pea bags
The teams are grouped into brackets according to division, and then seeded utilizing a highly sophisticated mathematical system involving a Univac computer from the 50s, the volume of expelled air from a deflated basketball, and the current distance Bobby Knight can throw a metal folding chair. After the initial 68 teams are selected, the nominal seeds reciprocate the lower brackets according to girth, then proceed over the course of three weeks, or “time-displacement units”, via pre-selected neutral compositories, to a tri-ethanol compound, where they are then un-bracketed, dried, and displayed on television. At this point, the gross national product output of the country dips to below zero, as a temporary, 3-week virus causes 1 in 7 workers to call in sick. Interestingly, the volume of shouting by irate office managers who can’t find Metcalfe in Accounts Payable has been found to equal roughly the volume of shouting at local sports bars. Also, in the “I didn’t need to know that” facts department, vasectomies rise up to 50% in the days prior to the tournament, along with the sales of frozen bags of peas.
Carlie’s Car Wash Sparkles
Part of the allure of the tournament is the excitement of seeing smaller, normally less successful teams advancing in the tournament against the odds, wowing the crowds with their pluck and tenacity, and confusing them with their strange mascots, consisting of Keydets, Jaspers, Salukis, Toreros, Zips and Paladins. Although a #16 seed has never beaten a #1 seed, that hasn’t stopped your mother from asking what a “seed” is. The tournament has a history of expanding the number of teams about every 20 years, so by the time this column reaches Alpha Centauri, your local Pee-Wee team should be eligible. (Go Carlie’s Car Wash Sparkles! Beat UNLV!)
Now that you’re much more well-informed about the impending domination of your television programming by pontificating guys who like to use the word “bracketologist”, you’ll know when to stay out of your local Buffalo Wild Wings until April. When the NBA playoffs begin.
[feature_headline type=”left” level=”h6″ looks_like=”h6″ icon=”book”]This column is featured in the book Sports Survival Guide for Men[/feature_headline]