Me, and Tim (Tim can be an honorary basketball guy even though he doesn't follow sports...)
I should have known not to go with those rich prep school types from southern California - those darn namby pamby USC basketball players got punted out of the March Madness madness in the first round, completely screwing up my bracket. I had USC going all the way to the elite 8.
We have been doing brackets and paying some amount of attention to March Madness for the past four years or so. It was our friends Jason, Rob, and Seth that sucked us into March Madness. Some how, 4 years ago we got invited to participate in a weekend long basketball love fest at Seth and Elise's house. In my first ever bracket back then, I picked A LOT of underdogs. I tended to pick teams based on things like I never picked any Texas team to win, EVER. I let my dislike of barbecue (see my earlier post on barbecue), high heeled shoes, and our current president, to rule my basketball picks (sorry Stu and Kelly, where you live is very nice...). I also hated, or as my dad would say, intensely disliked, all the basketball powerhouses like Connecticutt and Duke. So I regularly picked other teams that I liked more from the west, like Gonzaga (near my childhood home in Pullman), or Oregon, to beat these teams. I also liked to pick teams with cool names like Xavier. Needless to say, I didn't do super well in that early bracket.
This year I found myself going more with some standards that had high rankings like USC, who got booted in the first round! Although this year my totally unfounded emotional ties also may have matched up pretty well with actual basketball skill. Ever since day 1, I have loved Xavier because of their cool name. I am also a big KU fan because that is where my parents met and I love Lawrence, KS. So this year I have Xavier and KU in the final, with KU winning it all. We'll see how that turns out.
Mitch always picks KU to win it all, even when they aren't very good. So this year, when they are really good, might actually be his lucky year too.
Our friends Jason, Tiffany, Becca, and Rob are all in Mississippi (where Jas and Tiff now live) watching the basketball games together and eating popcorn. Although that gives me big FOMS (Fear of Missing Something), and I am actually missing something, I'm glad that they are living large in the march madness madness. This weekend we will tune into some games as well, and I will root for the few lower ranked teams that I still picked, like Butler over Tennessee (don't ask why, I have no idea) and we will all be joined together across space by the basketball bug.
Looking back at my bracket this year, I feel I am getting jaded, worn down by expectations and experience. I should have picked more underdogs! What is the fun of only picking the expected? Look at the awesome wins of San Diego over Connecticutt and K State over USC. Back in my early days of bracketology I would have picked K State over Connecticutt (because K State is where Mitch's grandma went to school) and San Diego over USC (a state school and a great city over those snobby USCers). So next year I will try to get back to my roots.
One other random thing about March Madness, it is amazing how much picking teams makes you care about the games and the outcomes even if you don't know anything about basketball. I think we should all make brackets for the presidential election and senate and house elections and run office pools on that - maybe then voter turnout would be higher.