A League of Her Own: The 5-step program of ‘Madness’
by By SARALYN NORKUS Sports Writer
Mar 24, 2013 | 1136 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As a self-professed sports fanatic and also someone who makes her living writing about sports I probably should be a little bit embarrassed about this upcoming confession.

I have never, ever participated in the whole March Madness bracket thing. There, I got that off my chest.

It’s that practically everybody gets sucked into March Madness and filling out brackets is perhaps one of the most important things NCAA fans can participate in.

Call it peer pressure or just plain curiosity, but I finally caved and made myself a bracket.

Now for most people, a bracket is made based on statistics, favorite teams, and underdogs. Basically the majority of those filling out brackets are doing it based on educated decisions.

Since basketball falls near the bottom of my list of favorite sports, I wasn’t exactly prepared to make educated bracket choices. Also, since I really could care less about college basketball I wasn’t ready to invest the time to figure out who the best choices are.

So how exactly did I narrow down the 64 teams if I know practically nothing about them? Well, let me educate you on how I made my uneducated bracket picks!

Step 1: Read over all 64 teams listed and ponder them for a moment. What have you heard around the office lately, what have you seen in basketball headlines on ESPN? Whatever teams sounds familiar, pick them!

Step 1.5: If any teams from your home state, hometown, home-whatever are listed, show some pride and pick them. This also applies if a college you like for another sport is included in the Madness. For example, if Alabama’s basketball team had made it they would’ve been one of my choices by default because I am a diehard Bama fan. Roll Tide! It’s all about school pride, folks.

Seeing as how I am from Michigan, aka the Mitten, I felt it only right to give Michigan State and the University of Michigan obligatory bracket picks.

Then, even though I absolutely despise U of M, I noticed they have a pretty good ranking, so I moved them through quite a few spots. The same applied for the Spartans — there’s a 3 in front of them so they get to go pretty far as well!

Step 2: Once you’ve gotten to this point you’re probably even more clueless than you were starting out. It’s OK, I’ve come up with methods to help pick a team you know absolutely nothing about. Do you see a team that has a pretty cool name/mascot/or color combination that you like? Yep, then pick those teams.

Gonzaga, I know nothing about you, but I have heard that you’re No. 1 and you have a name that makes me think of cheese. Cheese can be tasty, so hey I pick you! St. Louis, your mascot is a Billiken. I have no idea what that even is, but it sounds pretty cool; you’re getting advanced on my bracket.

Step 3: Now I’m all for the underdogs making a name for themselves by upsetting those schools ranked higher than them, but let’s be realistic here. The underdog can’t always come out victorious, so why waste valuable bracket space filling it full of wannabe Cinderella teams?

You will find on my bracket that I rarely went the way of the upset, especially once it got past the first round. The most interesting underdog pick I went with was saying that UNC would pull a win over Kansas.

The likelihood of this happening is slim to none, as I’m hearing Kansas could be a team that goes all the way, but hey, what is a bracket without some risky picks?

Step 4: Getting down to the Elite Eight and Final Four should be based on numbers and intuition, and chances are that the field has already been narrowed down to the “best teams.” Honestly, when it came down to the Final Four I based my choices off of the team standings. I am pitting Louisville against Gonzaga and Georgetown against Indiana.

Step 5: The championship game is a big deal and even I understand that! Since I had all top seeded teams (except for Georgetown, who blew one whole part of my bracket when they lost to Florida Gulf Coast University) against each other in the Final Four, I chose the final two based on what I’ve heard about them. Louisville and Indiana are the teams I’ve heard the most about for some reason, so there you go.

Who do I think will win the whole kit and kaboodle? I went with Louisville, although now I’m kind of wishing that I had chosen Indiana. Those Hoosiers might just win it all folks.

I’m proud to say that as of today, my bracket is still in relatively good shape! A few upsets have cost me a bit in the East and West though, but other than that the first two days of March Madness have been kind to me.

Apparently my methods are paying off and as of our print deadline on Saturday, my bracket stood at 73% correct according to ESPN.com.