Remember the larger lesson
The most important thing to remember about filling out NCAA bracket sheets is that it’s just for fun.
I remember a kooky NCAA pool I got into once. They selected teams around a giant table at a bar and grill in Iowa City, and you would pick playing cards with the team’s name on the bottom side. Well, they got down to the final two cards and tossed them on the table between me and my buddy Eddie.
One of the cards spun around the table and I caught a glimpse of the underside — it said Iowa State. The other card I had no idea. Now, Iowa State was a 2 seed so I knew that would be a good team to have in the pool. But Eddie was a huge Iowa State fan. He was one of these optimistic, wholesome guys who preached honor and honesty.
Now, I wanted that card. But I knew he would want it too — not just because it was a good pick, but it was his beloved Cyclones, and it would be fun to root for his own team in the pool.
I decided to distract him, and I pointed to ESPN’s SportsCenter on the TV and said, “Look at that play!” He looked. Who wouldn’t? I reached for the card, but hesitated. Honor and honesty, I thought. I swerved my hand over and grabbed the other unknown card.
And you know, I felt better about myself. And not just because I exercised honor and honesty, but because Iowa State lost to No. 15-seed Hampton in the first round and I scored some good cash.
(I’ll be happy if I just finish ahead of sportswriter Scott Jackson. I’ll use that distraction strategy. I think he’ll fall for it.)