As you’re no doubt aware, we’re just about to start March Madness. And as you’ve also likely heard, Connecticut won the whole thing last year. But do you know why? A response like “Kemba Walker” is probably correct, but I fear I may have angered the bracket gods and helped tip karma the Huskies’ favor. You see, as a Syracuse fan I hope for Georgetown and UConn to fall quickly and painfully during the Big Dance. And as a generally pitiful bracketologist (it’s rare for me to get more than 1 of my final four picks), I decided to use my picking “power” to my advantage: I picked UConn to win it all. I figured that my loss versus friends would prove beneficial as Jim Calhoun’s team failed.
Of course, my spite pick backfired in terrible fashion. Not only did the Huskies roll right through the first few rounds, they were convincing champions and put together one of the greatest performances in recent NCAA memory (Big East tourney victory without bye AND NCAA winner). I was mortified. So I’ve decided to use this backfiring spite bracket strategy again. I figure, there’s no way to get hit twice, right? Let’s break it down.
Target teams for spite picks: Georgetown, Louisville, Ohio State, Michigan. // I pick all of these teams because they’re either (a) solid Big East teams, (b) in the way of Syracuse on the road to another championship, or (c) just obnoxious. Now let’s see what to do with them.
The Elite Eight: South: Kentucky vs. Duke. Winner: Duke. It’s hard to seriously justify any spite picks here. UConn simply isn’t good enough to beat Kentucky in the 2nd round, and Notre Dame will likely be swept aside by Duke. Duke is picked as the winner just on a whim.
East: Syracuse vs. Ohio State. Winner: Ohio State. I want Syracuse to win, yes. But even in this spite pick bracket, there’s no team that can keep up with the Orange depth. As for Ohio State, this pick actually seems rational on most real brackets. It’s convenient then that I don’t want the Buckeyes to win: my spite is masked.
West: Louisville vs. Marquette. Winner: Louisville. This is more a pick to get at Louisville. I don’t like Rick Pitino. He’s a great coach, very successful in the Big East and regularly assembles one of the biggest threats to Syracuse. I don’t dislike Marquette, so them existing here is just a consequence of (probably) poor bracket picks. It’s what I do, after all.
Midwest: Michigan vs. Georgetown. Winner: Georgetown. Congrats to both teams; they’re actually pretty likely to see this matchup thanks to my fairly strong dislike of both teams. Certainly more of my spite is directed at the Hoyas, but the Wolverines can just go away too. (This kind of disgust toward the Midwest bracket makes it most likely to backfire.)
Final Four and Championship: Louisville beats Duke, Georgetown beats Ohio State. Georgetown beats Louisville. // Yes, this is what it’s all about. Getting all the teams you just can’t stand in one place. Using my terrible picking power just for evil. I half-expect this plan to backfire again this year, so I encourage everyone to get ready for an early Orange exit and a Georgetown title.
Enjoy the basketball for the next few weeks, and good luck on your brackets everybody!