The time of the year has come for NCAA Tournament brackets to be feverishly studied, for friends and family to come together in predictive competition, and for co-workers to actually interact.
Each March Madness pool is different in its own way. But invariably, the same type of characters crop up. They are intensely recognizable and, some would argue, part of the very fabric of that makes this time of the year so special.
Here are a few.
The Accidental Genius
They know nothing about the sport. Couldn’t tell you if Syracuse runs a 2-3 or 23-33 zone. Thinks Shaka Smart is some sort of trendy workout/clean eating craze. And yet, here it is late in the tournament and their bracket is looking tidy. How did they know St. Mary’s was going to go on a run? Are they the only person who picked UCF to take down Duke? How does blind squirrel getting lucky enough to find all these nuts?
The Can I Pay Later Person
The rules were quite clear. Entry fees were due before the first game tips. There were in-person opportunities and every available payment app was an option. Ninety-nine percent of those playing managed to find the $10 to its rightful home in time. Not this player. Even more vexing, you have seen them house a $22 lunch, using two $20s. It’s probably a coincidence their No. 5 seed in the Final Four has already been knocked off on Friday.
The Nate Bronze
Weekend analytics warrior has all the answers. They’ve developed a new predictive formula, which will be held with fierce secrecy. They really think they’ve stumbled into greatness, that the hay in the barn, and it’s time to spend the winnings. Then things go wrong. The numbers may have said Marquette, but something isn’t adding up. Doubts creep in. Perhaps it is just a guessing game.
The 46 Different Bracket-Haver
They had that one in their other bracket. Or in 12 of their other brackets. Just the absolute worst. There’s nothing wrong with the numbers game and trying to make a buck, but the moment double-digit entries are in play, that’s the moment all bragging rights are forfeited.
The Chalk Enthusiast
Picks the better seed in each and every game. It’s tough to tell what’s going on here. Are they cripplingly risk-adverse? Was this an auto-fill? Just that unimaginative? This person is a joyless game-watching partner. They revel in seeing a No, 3 seed beat up on a 14. Classic bully.
Knows it’s probably wrong, but they went to Belmont and would just feel terrible if they didn’t have Bruins winning the whole thing. Oh, and they have some family in St. Louis so it wouldn’t be right if the Billikens weren’t included in the Final Four. Their entire bracket is basically a 23 and Me test come to life. One look at it and you know everything about them.
Begged dad to put him in. Made their picks based on mascot, or color, or a funny sounding state name. Doing better than you, which is frustrating. Going to hoard all the winnings in a piggy bank and blow it on something stupid anyway. Not that you’re jealous or anything.
You are not like the rest. Your bracket is unique and based on logic. You have no annoying tendencies and are the pinnacle of sportsmanship. There is zero chance anyone else in the pool thinks you’re one of the above.