The Perfect Bracket – Revisited

This past March, I valiantly tried to create “The Perfect Bracket.” It was a long, stressful process that eventually concluded with the “Mascots” bracket winning the ultimate prize of becoming my official entry into tournament pools. I hoped this would result in one or more of the following:

  • Correctly predicting the NCAA tournament champion.
  • Winning at least one of my bracket leagues.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing in the top 4 of the 16 brackets that I created.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing ahead of the bracket made by Dick Vitale.
  • The process working enough to justify doing this again next year.
  • The process working enough to justify all the time I already spent on it this year.
  • Correctly predict every game of the tournament.

Essentially, I was hoping that my bracket would look something like this one, created by “DKimbrell34”, which finished tied for first place among all brackets that were made on ESPN.com.

Winning ESPN Bracket

There are 63 games played in the NCAA Tournament every year. DKimbrell34 correctly predicted the winner of all but 13 of them.

Kudos to you kid.

I on the other hand, had much less desirable results. See below:

Mascots Bracket

My Sweet Sixteen was decimated into a Sweet Six. As soon as Georgetown went down to Florida Gulf Coast in the first round, I felt like it was all already over. Where DKimbrell34 posted a winning percentage of .794, I came through with an extremely disappointing .429.

Not very impressive for a person that spent 70 of the 88 hours between Selection Sunday and the start of March Madness thinking about brackets. The other 18 hours went to sleep, food, and Red Bull.

Revisiting those goals I mentioned earlier, the list is now more realistic:

  • Correctly predicting the NCAA tournament champion.
  • Winning at least one of my bracket leagues.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing in the top 4 of the 16 brackets that I created.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing ahead of the bracket made by Dick Vitale.
  • The process working enough to justify doing this again next year.
  • The process working enough to justify all the time I already spent on it this year.
  • Correctly predict every game of the tournament.

I’ll say now that I didn’t win any of my bracket leagues this year, but that really goes without saying at this point. Had this ridiculous process actually resulted in my winning something (prize money, respect, a feeling of fulfillment), you would have heard about it a bit sooner. So we’ll go ahead an cross that off as well.

  • Correctly predicting the NCAA tournament champion.
  • Winning at least one of my bracket leagues.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing in the top 4 of the 16 brackets that I created.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing ahead of the bracket made by Dick Vitale.
  • The process working enough to justify doing this again next year.
  • The process working enough to justify all the time I already spent on it this year.
  • Correctly predict every game of the tournament.

Which brings us to what I believe to be the single most horrifying image of this year’s March Madness. No, not Kevin Ware’s X-Ray. These are the final results of an ESPN league that I made, which pitted all 16 brackets that I wrote about against each other.

Bracket Results

Shout out to “Shiltzie 45” for joining this league randomly. I don’t know who you are, but I hope you’re a fan. Actually, it’s almost as cool if you were just some random dude signing up for leagues. Either way, sorry; only the top 6 teams got paid.

First, I’d like to apologize for my awful username “djbambam27”. I was young; it was my first AIM account name, my first email address, and the first true source of shame in my life.

But that’s not the reason this image is so jarring. Who is that atop the leaderboard? Not my dream result (Mascots), not something hilariously awesome (Hottest Cheerleaders), not any one of the four brackets I made personally.

Dickie V.

Dickie V

That guy. Man do I hate that guy. Nothing personal; sometimes hater’s gotta hate. You know. Like this.

And to rub salt on this already emotionally scarring wound to my ego, had I swallowed my pride and gone with Dickie V’s bracket, I would’ve made the money in every league I was in.

So for definitely not the last time, fuck you Dick Vitale. Because of you, my list of goals is now looking dismal…

  • Correctly predicting the NCAA tournament champion.
  • Winning at least one of my bracket leagues.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing in the top 4 of the 16 brackets that I created.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing ahead of the bracket made by Dick Vitale.
  • The process working enough to justify doing this again next year.
  • The process working enough to justify all the time I already spent on it this year.
  • Correctly predict every game of the tournament.

And these are the two real questions.

Was this process worth the effort this year? Is it worth doing again?

The obvious answer is no on both counts. The process looks like an epic failure. My champion didn’t make it past the Sweet Sixteen. Louisville was the only thing that made the “Mascots” bracket worth following after the first weekend. I kind of lost a lot of money.

But like so many other “meta” things I enjoy (Community, Inception, making brackets of brackets), there was a deeper level to my Bracket Madness. Sure, my “Mascots” didn’t make me any money, maybe it wasn’t worth all the effort I put in this year. Next year however, is another story.

If I do this again next year I have a quirk: Bill Simmons has his mailbags and trade-value columns, Rembert Browne Explains the 80’s, and if I do this again next year, all of a sudden Tyler Lauletta becomes the guy that makes brackets on brackets.

My very own gimmick.

One more look at that list:

  • Correctly predicting the NCAA tournament champion.
  • Winning at least one of my bracket leagues.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing in the top 4 of the 16 brackets that I created.
  • The “Mascots” bracket finishing ahead of the bracket made by Dick Vitale.
  • The process working enough to justify doing this again next year.
  • The process working enough to justify all the time I already spent on it this year.
  • Correctly predict every game of the tournament.

In case you didn’t pick up on it yet, the one in bold came true. I will be back next year with 16 more brackets, once again hoping to bracket my way to the perfect bracket.

Thanks again to Ray, Mary, and Red Bull for your help this year with my Madness. I hope I can count on you all again in 2014.

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2 Responses to The Perfect Bracket – Revisited

  1. The Cutter says:

    I think shitzie45 is the true winner in all of this.

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