My NCAA bracket’s imploded … how about yours?

Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous by Melissa Marohl

The Cinderella story of the NCAA tournament, No. 15 seeded Florida Gulf Coast, has destroyed brackets across the nation. Who would have guessed that the Eagles would upset No. 2 Georgetown (who happened to be one of my final teams) and then take down No. 7 San Diego State to become the first ever No. 15 team to make the Sweet 16?
Around the brackets, No. 12 teams have upset No. 5s in three of four games. Even our No. 11 Golden Gophers upset No. 6 UCLA in the first round.
My “West” bracket has just four correct picks in the first two rounds and a whole lot of black X’s. The other division don’t look as bleak, but I’m already out two Final Four teams (Gonzaga and Georgetown) and seven more in this weekend’s quarterfinals.
I’m still luckier than my 17-year-old brother, who trails not only me, but my mother, in points, and lost his national champion, New Mexico, in the first round when the No. 3 Lobos were upset by No. 14 Harvard.
“I am now officially the worst person at filling out NCAA brackets…” his Facebook status read last week.
Don’t worry little brothers of the world, just about everyone else feels that way too.
Looks like it’s going to be the battle between me and my mother yet again. That’s right – each year since we started our little family bracket challenge, it’s been a woman to win bragging rights.
Bragging rights are all we play for, as embarrassment is enough for my two brothers and father without us taking their money too. My mom knows pretty much nothing about college hoops and often chooses her teams based on their school colors or mascots. Bracket decisions usually include “What is a Tar Heel?” and “Why doesn’t anyone wear pink?” Rankings mean nothing to her, and as the font is so small on a printable bracket, she didn’t even notice the rankings this year until she was nearly finished making her choices.
We both have picked Louisville as our national champions, but for vastly different reasons. I chose the Cardinals for their low five losses this season and because I couldn’t bring myself to choose Gonzaga on the West/Midwest side or Georgetown on the South/East side. Good thing I didn’t, too, as they’re both out.
My mom’s national champion box also says “Louisville” but is surrounded by quotes like “Yay horsies,” and “What fancy hats,” obviously reminiscent of the Triple Crown racing event also hailing from Kentucky.
This year’s tournament has brought back belief in the underdog and just goes to prove what every coach has ever told his or her players: any team can win any given game. All of us whose brackets are failing should keep that in mind for next year.
So in advance, congratulations to my mother, the lucky guessers, and all the other non-basketball fans out there who are winning office pools or family bets. You’ve taught us all a thing or two about taking chances. Enjoy the bragging rights.

Contact Melissa Marohl at melissa.marohl@ecm-inc.com

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