By Josh Bozzick, Montgomery High School, Skillman, New Jersey
Bracketology: the process of predicting the field of the NCAA Basketball Tournament by using tournament brackets for the postseason (according to Webster’s Dictionary).
Some kids want to be biologists, some want to be psychologists, some want to be astrologists, and some even want to be geologists, but I want to be a bracketologist. Biology? Forget about dissecting a body, I want to dissect a team. Psychology? Forget about analyzing someone’s mind I want to learn about a team’s psyche. Astrology? Forget about planet alignment, I want to find out if the “stars are aligned” for certain teams. Geology? I’m not interested in mining rocks, I’m interested in how a team handles the rock. I realize I’m a young man, but due to my obsession with such madness, I have to say I’m a bracket boy at heart.
Think I’ve gone mad? Even presidents try to be bracketologists. It’s that time of year again when you fill out a bracket for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. This is the science of bracketology, strictly based off Madness, or shall I say March Madness. Already into the third round games of the tournament, my bracket is already busted. Once again my goal for an A in bracketology has failed. I should not feel so down though because even President Obama’s bracket has already been busted. That’s no shock, however, because no one has ever had a perfect bracket. In fact, you have a one in a 100 million chance to accurately predict every game in the tournament. You actually have better odds of winning the lottery, not once, not twice, but three times in a row. In case you haven’t noticed it’s nearly impossible to have the “perfect bracket.” So don’t fuss over getting one game picked wrong this year; it’s going to happen.
I mean, I have already been on the wrong end of the stick for 11 of the 32 games in the first round, but am still in the 66th percentile of people who filled out a bracket on ESPN.com. Even the “14 college basketball experts” (aka Bracketologists) who work for ESPN didn’t have a single team right after the Elite Eight last year and 12 of the experts were in the bottom 4 percent of the nation. Bracketology is not a science, it’s a guessing game of madness. Even the facts have gone mad. For the first time ever this year two #15 seeds, Norfolk State and Lehigh, beat two #2 seeds, Duke and Missouri. Since 1985 when the tournament field was expanded to 64 teams in the first round (now the second round today because of four play-in games) only four #15 seeds have beat a #2 seed. This year for the first time two #15s have upset two #2s in one tournament. Many picked Duke and Missouri to go to the Final Four, but in the Big Dance Cinderella is always waiting to crash the party. My Final Four is still intact though and I hope it stays that way, but in March, madness and upsets are always behind every bracket.
As my brackets have taken a beating, my mind has shifted from anger and frustration to realization that I’m first and foremost a basketball fan. I want to root for the dark horses and the underdogs. I don’t want to be a bracket fan hoping for the generic powerhouse to win (Kentucky, anyone?). As a realist, especially in making the wrong picks, I know I have a better chance of picking winning numbers in the lottery. On second thought, maybe I should become a lotteryologist!
the original article from hsj.org, written by Josh Bozzick