Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Confessions of a So-Called Bracketologist


So, just what exactly defines a bracketologist?

The crap-shooters that Sports Illustrated and CBS are calling experts have all taken a stab at proving that their knowledge of the sport is second to none. But if you take a brief look, you'll quickly see that many of these guys aren't worth the weight of the hot air they spew over the course of the season.

Case in point: Of the eight Sports Illustrated experts who posted their predictions on the web, seven of the dummies picked Kansas to go all the way. The other picked Ohio State - at least they made the sweet 16.

I wondered if perhaps Sports Illustrated was the exception rather than the norm, so I logged on to CBS Sports to see what their experts said. Gary Parrish, the networks senior writer, went out on a limb and picked Kentucky to beat Kansas in the final. He was dead wrong, as were most of his colleagues, all of who are generously labeled as "experts."

I think I'm beginning to understand what it takes to be a bracketologist - and I think that none of these so-called experts deserve to mention the word when speaking of themselves.

I could fill up the page with a lot of sad stories about a lot of sad bracketologists who thought they knew what the heck they were talking about three short weeks ago. But I'll spare you the details because who really wants to talk about losers anyway? Wouldn't you rather hear about someone who made some noise this March?

Good luck finding anybody.

Oh, wait, I forgot to mention myself. I entered my annual pool with a bit of trepidation mixed with a big bucket of foolish pride and a dash of "why not me"-style hope. Things started slow, but as I check the standings prior to this weekends Final Four, I find myself perched in third place, with a chance to go higher if the West Virginia Mountaineers can do the deed.

How, you might wonder, did I know that the Mountaineers were going to make the Final Four for the first time since 1959, even when a juggernaut like the Kentucky Wildcats was the top seed in their region?

Do I have super powers? The ability to see the future? A deeper understanding of the psychological and emotional toll that high stakes basketball can have on a group of fresh-out-of-High-School dynamos?

I guess you could say that, sure. At this point my head has become so filled with delusions of grandeur that I'm considering sending my resume off to Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports.

But you could also say that I've been lucky. Really lucky. So lucky that I should probably be expecting a flat tire or a busted car window due to the fact that for every force in nature their is an equal and opposite reaction.

Or even worse, the Dukies could spoil my weekend, just like Kansas did in 2008.

But either way you slice it, I'll be in the mix come Saturday, when Duke and West Virginia tip-off, while most of the so called experts will be wondering what went wrong.