My husband likes sports. Fantasy sports. (The only kind a 36 year old man should be playing. Just look at the scars on his ankle if you don't believe me.) Fantasy Football. Fantasy NASCAR. And now Fantasy Tournament Picks.
He has tried to drag me into his fantasy world little by little. Every year he drafts Kurt Warner for his Fantasy Football team just for me. (And I must say it worked pretty well for him last year. The Super Bowl and all.) Then he convinced me to join a Fantasy NASCAR league with him too. I'll admit that is fun. But this year he wanted me to do the Final Four tournament bracket thing too.
NASCAR is one thing. I follow NASCAR. I pretty much know what I'm doing. As a matter of fact I probably know more than he does because I actually stay awake during the races. But college basketball? I've watched maybe 2 games in the last 10 years. I have no clue who should, or will, beat who. But in a spirit of marital unity I created a team and made my picks. Of course, with absolutely no knowledge of the teams I had to resort to "The System".
I have developed a highly logical system for picking who will win any kind of sporting event, not just basketball. It is all based on the mascots. For example when the Running Utes of Utah come up against the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest it is clear that Utah will win. What kind of Native American warrior couldn't defeat some kind of crazed preacher?
Or even more obvious....the Sun Devils of Arizona triumph over the Orange of Syracuse. The Orange? They are just a color? Come on, have some creativity! Some match ups just really aren't fair. I fear that my husband's beloved Cardinals of Louisville are doomed when they come up against the Spartans of Michigan State in the Midwest Regional finals. Any Spartan worth his weight in gold could kill a cardinal with one hand tied behind his back.
But lest you think this is a simple system with predetermined results, I assure you it can get quite complicated. When a Volunteer from Tennessee goes up against a Cowboy from Oklahoma who will win? Both potentially have guns. Both are very determined and strong and outdoorsy. It's a tough call. Ultimately I went with the Cowboys because they have horses and the Volunteers will probably be on foot. And when I had the Missouri Tigers matched up against the Memphis Tigers I had no idea what to do. In that case, and others, I had to resort to other streams of logic.
There are some picks that I make with my heart and my head instead of my system. For instance, for the first round I just went with the higher rank in most cases, then I resorted to my system for the future rounds. I also had to pick some schools just because of their location. I had to let Pittsburgh get all the way to the Regional finals against Duke because my brother lives there...even though I'm pretty sure a Seminole could take down a Panther. Of course I had to take Missouri all the way (I mean ALL-THE-WAY) because my brother-in-law graduated from med school there and my sister and her family still live in Columbia (as does Carl Edwards, but I didn't even take that in to account...I promise *wink*wink*).
Of course I advanced Duke to the Final Four because they're Duke. Even I know how good Duke is. I remember Christian Laitner and the Coach "Crew-za-wew-ski" commercials. In honor of Brian's favorite team, I went ahead and took the Louisville Cardinals as far as I could before the aforementioned Spartans took them down. And finally, if I were to ever care about college basketball and have a favorite team I'm sure it would be the Fighting Illini, so I took them to the final too.
So that's it, in all of it's convoluted glory. I will admit that it will make watching hundreds of hours of basketball over the next two weeks much more interesting. "But how is it working for me?", you ask.
Well, the Illini let me down big time and totally screwed up my bracket all the way across. (I kind of expected that based on the raised eyebrows Brian gave me when I announced my Final Four selections. Also based on that incredulous look I have a feeling Missouri may not be the Champs this year.) But I am currently 12 for 16.
I didn't realize that a Terrapin could just pull into it's shell thereby defeating a Golden Bear, and having no clear idea of what an Aggie actually is I couldn't accurately determine if she/he/it had a chance of beating a Cougar from BYU or not.
Considering everything, I think I am doing pretty well.....better than Brian actually. But who's counting?
BTW, I'm not the only one with, shall we say, questionable Tournament picking strategies. Check out Shannon's post from last year about her interesting logic....and her husband's subsequent eye rolls.