The Ottumwa Courier

March 30, 2013

Redefining an NCAA bracket comeback!

MATT BRINDLEY
Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — I guess I underestimated myself. Remember how I told you I had done worse than any other time on my NCAA brackets? To the cleaners with that.

Sure, I’d done horrible. My brackets had more “Xs” on it than a Larry King “This is your life” segment. I mean, it was bad!

But apparently everyone else did just as appalling in their first round, too.

I still have my Final Four picks intact as of this page’s printing. I got a little razzing from sportswriter Action Scott Jackson for picking against Big Ten teams, something I’ve rarely done before, as Syracuse put Indiana away.

Despite picking Syracuse to go to the finals, I was rooting for Indiana because I’m a Big Ten guy and I wanted to see an all-Big Ten Final Four.

Now before I go on, I would like to console sportswriter Andy Heintz. He was so distraught after Kansas State lost to La  Salle, if that’s even a real college, he couldn’t watch basketball for two days. Now Andy went to Kansas State, and the Kansas Jayhawks are like the Evil Empire. So he doesn’t think like us in Ottumwa, a city where the Today Show just showed up — because as Scott Jackson pointed out — “we have a rich and diverse tapestry, Matt.” I’d never heard him say these words before. So we’ve got that goin’ for us — which is nice.

Fortunately for Andy, Action Jackson doesn’t like to tease people and will always allow people to live something down. So, Andy should be fine. I only wish Action had gone into psychiatry — he could have helped so many people.

 But after Action pointed out the stats — my exemplary picks — the fact that I still have ALL  my Final Four teams intact, that I could destroy the field and walk away rich. After pointing out these facts out, which I’m glad he did, I said, “Scott, you really don’t know me after all of these years, do you?

I’m rooting for Indiana because I’m not about the money.” It’s a Big Ten principle thing that Scott will never understand. Yeah, the money would be great, just to blow in some absurd way, but I really was for Indiana!

I’m in second place now. How did I make these picks? I’d had a long, frustrating day behind the eight ball, sweating bullets, trying to get the paper out, and filled my brackets out after work — with Action waiting to go (he runs the pool).

What I did was a George Costanza strategy — I picked the opposite.  I decided “if every instinct I’ve ever had was wrong, then doing the opposite would have to be right!” This is my new religion from now on. Every instinct I have ... I will pause ... and I WILL DO THE OPPOSITE! I think this really works!

Actually, there’s a twist. Since Action was waiting, I filled my brackets out so fast it would make your head spin — in 20 seconds. That’s really my new religion. Fill out your brackets in lightning speed! Don’t give yourself the chance to think or pontificate. You’ll rule out the no-brainers early — but the rest of the picks are like grabbing lottery numbers — I could be on to something.

Co-worker Tracy is still in the hunt in our pool,  but her big news of the day was that she found a penny in her 2-year-old Colin’s diaper. Suffice to say, I won’t be borrowing any change from Tracy in the near future. She did leave a penny on my desk that she said she owed me. I haven’t touched it.

But, really being in these NCAA pools is just for fun. That’s really my only message to you. And that I still have all four Final Four teams alive. So, two messages for you.

Action asked me, “Who are you Matt Brindley?”

I responded, “I’m the opposite of every NCAA bracketologist you’ve ever known.”

m.brindley@ottumwacourier.com