Sunday, March 11, 2012

Top Ten Ways To Avoid Talking About The NCAA Tournament

Are you like me, Dear Reader, and have no actual rooting interest in March Madness, but are surrounded by a world of people who want to talk about it? Here are my ten simple tricks for avoiding the conversation, honed over two decades of weaning myself away from this timewaste. Share and enjoy!

10) Homer The Brave. I went to Syracuse a lifetime ago, and cared about the game when I was there. So when someone wants to ask me about my bracket, I get into the minutiae of the Orange (it's easy: just talk about the matchup zone), and how you just can't pick a bracket, because it feels like you're betraying your team. And the truly joyous thing about my particular laundry is that more than half of the time, you get to be done in a weekend. Just like 95% of the people who pick a bracket!

9) Crazy dark horse. This is also known as the Gonzaga Gambit, where you just pick some 12 seed or higher at random and loudly claim them as your own. The only downside is that if they actually win through for a week, you'll have any number of people asking you for tips moving forward. For the most part, ten seconds of wide-eyed blathering about New Mexico State will get your day back.

8) Bitter Man. Pick a team, any team, that was on the bubble, and just rant away about how badly they were screwed. For locals to my usual laundry, this would be the Drexel Dragons, who lost in their conference championship game and were denied an at-large berth. So what if they were going to be rolled by some 4 seed, and forgotten almost immediately? Their exclusion ruins the whole tournament for you.

7) Downtown snob. This one's actually close to how I actually feel about the college game, in that the three point line is so close that it more or less ruins it for you. Rewarding the offense for settling for long jumpers is, well, anathema to how basketball should be played, and part of the reason why the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Hell in a handbasket, I tell you!

6) High school hijinks. Why limit yourself to the 68 teams (don't get me started) in NCAA Division I ball, when you can delve into the rich loam of the hundreds (nay, thousands) of even pimplier slave labor? Just start going off on how Oak Hill Academy really has heart and kids caring about the game and coaches teaching the right way, and turn every tedious college vs. pro argument against your tournament enthusiast. Plus, you can probably play the better athletes card. That's always fun.

5) Go Euro.
Why endure the machinations of some big conference, when you can just talk about how much you are enjoying Barcelona's year? Just because the other person doesn't know anything about your team -- and doesn't care -- doesn't mean you can't waste their time. For added fun, draw up your own bracket with made up team names, and see if you can get someone to pick a pool. So what if Dusseldorf doesn't have a team?

4) Uber Geek. Let's face it; most people aren't picking their bracket with more than hour or two of thought behind it. So instead of naming your Final Four, just go off on how the RPI index is flawed, the usage rate of teams who play zone against man to man, and how every tournament since 1998 can be predicted by VORP from the starting backcourt, or assist to turnover to technical ratio. The only drawback is if you run into another Uber Geek, at which point you'll need to employ a hose to get them off your leg.

3) Alice from Accounting. Everyone who has ever picked a pool has been here: beaten by some office halfwit who picks her bracket by which of her friends' kids went to which school, who has the nicest uniforms, and which ones are, like her, Jesuit. So why not become this person and drive them screaming from your midst? It's fun and frequently profitable, and has the added benefit of causing brain damage and alcoholism. That makes you look better at work by comparison!

2) Super Stitious. I can't tell you my bracket, because that jinxes it. Every year, I fill it out, put it in the same locked fire safe, then look at it only after the championsiop game. And I've won for five straight years, so I'm not starting now. So no, I can't talk to ANYONE about my bracket, or anyone else's. (Put fingers in ears, says NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH BOO BOO, repeat until left alone. You're welcome.)

1) Gamblers Anonymous. In the core of every casual better is a fear that the practice will become a problem, and they'll really get hurt over some bets. So when someone asks you who you like, just give a flinch or twitch, clutch some imaginary time coin in your pocket, and talk about how you hit bottom but got help, and maybe your questioner wants to take in a meeting with you. Short of asking someone to talk to you about eternal salvation, there's really no faster way to peace and quiet. Just be sure you didn't really want this guy at your poker night, or in your fantasy league...

1 comment:

snd_dsgnr said...

So who do you like to come out of the bottom half of the Midwest? And what do you make of the once proud Pac 10 now being so bad that it's regular season champ doesn't make the tournament? On that note, what is your opinion about the importance of regular season conference championships in the unbalanced conference schedule era?

I kid, I kid. Oh and for the record I agree with you about the three point line.

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