The Ottumwa Courier


March 20, 2013

Bracketology — everyone’s got a chance

OTTUMWA — It feels good to give money away to such a worthy charity, doesn’t it? You could have just crumpled up your $5 or $10 and thrown it into the street. But instead you decided to enter an NCAA Basketball Tournament pool.

Just feel fulfilled. Remember it all goes to a good cause. Some lucky sap will be able to blow it on a new tackle box, rod and reel or maybe a jet ski at Pro Bass Shops in a few weeks.

Following your NCAA bracket sheet is a lot like playing a round of golf for an occasional golfer. Sometimes you start off strong, hanging around par to bogey for a few holes. It’s kind of fun keeping track at that point. Then the disaster hole hits. You slice it out of bounds and hit some kid on a bike, then on your penalty shot you nearly wipe out a ladies’ foursome teeing off on hole No. 4. Keeping track of your score seems kind of pointless after this.

So many times I’ve started out 12 of 16 on my bracket sheet the first day of the the Big Dance. You start to brag to your friends, proudly whipping out your wrinkled copy of your picks and competitively asking how they’re doing. Then the upsets rain in, and your bracket sheet has more “X’s” on it than a Lindsay Lohan bar tab.


Pools keep your interest up

Now filling out your bracket sheet makes it  more interesting to follow the tournament. Suddenly you’re on the edge of your seat rooting for dinky schools you didn’t know existed. Last year, I entered three pools and filled out all three bracket sheets wildly different to give me better odds. The problem with this is you have no idea who to root for with your conflicting picks. That’s when you start trying to do that crazy bracketology math in your head to figure out which pool you’re doing the best in — and this makes your head hurt.

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