The five types of NCAA brackets you’ll see during March Madness

It doesn’t matter if your only venture into the seedy realm of sports betting is your annual NCAA office pool or if your bracket is just the cherry on top of your degenerate March Madness betting sundae, chances are you’ll come across these five types of brackets during the NCAA tournament. Hell, this might even be your bracket!

Don’t worry. Rarely does the person who knows the most about college basketball actually end up winning your bracket pool. I’m like 1 for 20 in my annual family NCAA contest, trailing the likes of my mother, wife, and random neighbor. And I do this shit for a living.

I’ll have plenty of time to wallow in defeat in April (or look for a new job?), so on with the brackets!

Disney bracket

Whoever filled out this feel-good story of a bracket not only picked a No. 15 seed to win it all but, on the back, they also listed their favorite actors to play the role of the head coach when Mickey Mouse makes this Cinderella run into another inspirational underdog story (J.K. Simmons is a -250 favorite).

This bracket has also been known as the “I told you so” bracket, because one of those 25 upsets picked in the Round of 64 is going to come through and this little dreamer will be the first to point out that they were “all over it”.

Girl bracket

As mentioned above, I’ve been thrashed in my annual bracket pool by females on the regular. Now, I will say my wife watches more college hoops than yours – a lot more – and my mom played college ball back in the day, so she knows her stuff.

However, for most bracket pools, the token girl bracket is one based on extreme circumstance, like who would win in a fight (a Bulldog or a Ute? What’s a Ute? I don’t know honey…), or a friend she knew in high school went on to school at Chattanooga. Or, the ultimate decider: team uniforms.

But while all those things sound trivial compared to analytics, RPI, and KenPom rankings, your sister’s bracket (which she filled out in five minutes) is going to kick the living crap out of the one you’ve been studying for since conference play started. Sheer madness.

Chalk bracket

Way to go out on a limb brother. Picking Kansas to win the title is one thing – half the country has that, duh – but penciling in KU, along with North Carolina, Duke (Oh, a No. 2 seed?! How daring), and Gonzaga (A mid-major?! You’re too much!) in the Final Four has about as much risk as not brushing your teeth before bed.

But that’s not even the end of it. This rosin bag of a bracket treated double-digit seeds like Ebola patients and is the tournament pool equivalent to chugging a Costco-sized tub of Tums followed by one of those disgusting protein shakes your meathead friend drinks for every meal – yummmmm, chalky. On second thought, this bracket probably belongs to him. What an ass…

Chameleon bracket

I’m from the school of one bracket to rule them all. It doesn’t matter if I’m in one pool or nine, it’s the same bracket – no matter what. But, there are plenty of people out there who could wallpaper their homes with the numerous variations of how the NCAA tournament will trickle out. And their “bracket” – notice that’s singular – is always changing depending on what goes down in March.

After the Round of 32, what you first saw the Wednesday before the Big Dance, which looked like an absolute mess painted in red ink, is now somehow a bracket loaded with live teams and only a handful of mistakes. And, you could have sworn his Elite Eight was different last week, but now features seven of the final schools left. This bracket changes looks more than your girlfriend/wife when you’re running late for a dinner reservation, but without all the loaded questions and icy stares.

If President Trump had filled out a bracket, like a normal human being with any kind of soul, there’s a very good chance his would have been a Chameleon. But much like his tax returns, he would never release his NCAA selections to the public.

“Those reports of me picking South Dakota State to upset Gonzaga are simply not true. Fake news. Believe me, my bracket is great. It’s a phenomenal bracket. You’re going to love my bracket.”

The Perfect bracket

Sometimes this is our bracket (before reality tramples it like a court-rushing student section). But more often than not, it’s the first bracket you see after handing yours in. It’s glorious, like spotting a 12-point buck in a quiet wooded area. You don’t want to move for fear of scaring it off.

This bracket is the precise blend of favorites and live underdogs with some risk/reward selections mixed in. It has all the makings of a beautiful bracket, which usually means you’re second-guessing every move you made before the tournament. It even has the always important 12-over-5 seed trend nailed down. Damn, this bracket is fine as a mutha…

Now the actual chances of a “perfect” bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. About the same odds Jim Boeheim has of hosting the selection committee to a friendly sit down at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

Bonus bracket: My dad’s bracket

Every year my father fills out a bracket for the NCAA tournament. And every year he takes Gonzaga to win it all. It’s like playing the same set of lottery numbers every week.

Dad bounces between upset and favorite-heavy brackets from year to year, but the constant is that the Zags are inked in all the way to the national title game. He could start backwards at the championship and just fill in the Bulldogs in reverse. This year, I think I’ll just send him a ready-made bracket with Gonzaga already printed in to win the national title.

I thought 2015 was going to be Dad’s dance. The Zags were a No. 2 seed in the South Region – in my opinion the softest of the four – and had the blend of talent and experience to make it to the Final Four. But they got rolled by Duke in the Elite Eight.

This year, the Bulldogs are a No. 1 seed in the West Region and have tasted defeat just once all season. They do have some sticky matchups possibly waiting for them in the Round of 32 and Sweet 16, with tough teams in Vanderbilt (3-pointers!), West Virginia (Press!) and Notre Dame (No Turnovers!). But, there’s a good chance the Zags showdown with Arizona in the Elite Eight and Gonzaga already took the Wildcats to task with a non-conference win back in December.

Let’s just hope Dad sticks to his guns and rides Gonzaga again in 2017. There’s nothing more crushing than your lucky lotto numbers hitting the jackpot the week you forgot to buy a ticket.

What bracket is yours? Comment in the section below. And if you haven’t filled one out yet, download Covers’ printable NCAA tournament bracket.


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