“F*** you Joey Brackets, this is impossible.”
I mutter under my breath as I crumble up my paper bracket in between my sweaty palms and shoot it toward the circular trash bin in the corner of my room.
It clanks off the rim of the trash bin.
“That rim isn’t even the real size of a basketball goal and it wasn’t even like I trying,” I assure myself as I walk across the room to rebound my miss.
At that point, I was a broken man. For the past four hours I had been “researching and studying” everything Bracketology: Analyst picks, Vegas odds, past tournament history, BPI’s, A.T.M.’s, Ken-Pom’s, everything! I even watched an hour long video of Jay Bilas picking every single game in the tournament, but it didn’t matter. At the end of the day, all I had to show for myself was 12 different balled up brackets in the garbage, each s***tier and s***tier than the last.
So I called it quits, went to bed (well, not before some extra-curricular activity) and prayed for the basketball gods to come and help me in my moment of need.
5:00 am: I awake in a cold sweat, with a penis as hard as a god damn rock.
I rush to the garbage bin and grab out one of my previously crumbled brackets… I vomit in my mouth and as I put that one back. It would appear that one of my crusty, love juice covered Kleenexes from last night was stuck to it. So I reach in again and find a “clean” different bracket and feverishly begin to fill out pick after pick.
The next forty minutes were a blur to me. Here I was filling out this bracket, but it’s almost like I was hovering above my body as I did so. It was almost like I was… Possessed. By the ghost of James Naismith perhaps? Or maybe John Wooden? There is no way to know, but what resulted was not the work of man, it was the work of a (basketball) god.
Once the last pick was made and the champion was selected, my consciousness returned and the spirit left my body, but what he (or she, #Metoo) left behind was beautiful… The Holy Grail of Brackets.
***WARNING! MARCH MADNESS SPOILERS AHEAD***
The East Region:
You might be saying to yourself “that’s incredibly dumb” or “that’s super f***ing dumb”, but let me explain myself (the spirit).
Virginia Tech’s time is now. They are playing their best basketball of the year and star player Justin Robinson (13.7 PPG and 5.2 APG) is returning for their round of 64 game against Saint Louis.
While team’s like NC Central (whose coached said earlier this week that he “doesn’t want to face Zion”) and Michigan State are terrified of the Blue Devils, Virginia Tech will not be. They will come into their Sweet 16 matchup confident, having beat Duke 77-72 in their only matchup this year.
With that being said, the real reason Virginia Tech is going to “shock the world” (Juwan Howard) is because of who they have on their sideline. Buzz “Mother-F***ing” Williams.
For those who don’t know his story, Buzz Williams is the epitome of toughness and grit.
“THERE WASN’T ANY SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE. I KNEW THAT I WANTED TO BE A COACH, BUT I DIDN’T HAVE ANY IDEA WHICH QUESTIONS I SHOULD BE ASKING OR EVEN WHO I SHOULD TALK TO…SO I BEGAN TO WRITE WEEKLY HANDWRITTEN NOTES TO EVERY COACH WHO GAVE ME THEIR BUSINESS CARD. LOOKING BACK AT IT, IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE I HAD NO IDEA THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DIVISION 1 COACH, AN ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH, OR EVEN A D3 ASSISTANT. WHAT I DID KNOW IS THEY HAD THEIR OWN BUSINESS CARD AND I WAS WORKING TO SOMEDAY HAVE MY OWN.”
“BY THE TIME I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, I WAS WRITING AROUND 425 NOTES TO COACHES EVERY WEEK – CRAZY I KNOW, BUT THIS IS NO EXAGGERATION. I WOULD WORK ALL DAY IN THE GYM AND OFFICE, AND THEN AT NIGHT I WOULD WRITE AROUND 75 NOTES TO EVERYONE ON MY LIST. ” (Coachbuzzwilliams.com)
This guy knows the value of relationships and what it takes to succeed in sports and in life… Oh! And he’s extremely patriotic.
So basically, a bet against Buzz is a bet against America.
As for the other upset in this region, I think Michigan State is tough enough to pull off a round one upset against #15 Bradley, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.
This region is going to be fairly chalk, with the only real upset coming in the round of 32, when #6 Buffalo beats #3 Texas Tech. Fresh off their first round upset of Arizona last year, Buffalo has shown (highest rated mid-major ever and 30+ wins) that they ready to take another step this year and make the Sweet 16.
The reason people often have their “bracket busted” is because they bet on teams and players, which is fun and all, but betting on 18-19 year old’s is completely unpredictable. That’s why you bet on coaches like Nate Oats, John Beilein, and Mark Few… Who are as tried and true as the Office (you know you aren’t going to be disappointed when you choose this on Netflix).
And yes, Nate Oats of Buffalo belongs on that list. Sure, his resume might not stack up, but his knowledge of the game is up there with the best of them.
Still not convinced of Oats? When he first took over Romulus high school in Detroit, the first thing he did was buy two shooting guns (rebounding machines) with his own money for the program. Two state titles later, he’s becomes the head coach of the Buffalo Bulls and now makes $600,000 a season and that’s without incentives.
The South has been referred to as the “Region of Grind/Toughness/Defense.” So why not find the toughest team out there that isn’t Virginia. Enter Irishmen, Mick Cronin.
Some might call him a douchebag, but if someone stares you down like Ted Valentine did and you don’t blink… That’s impressive and that’s who I want leading my team in a section labeled the “Region of Grind.”
I’d be lying if I (spirit) didn’t say the only reason I am picking Cincinnati was because I think both Tennessee and Virginia are frauds. For all the people claiming that Tennessee has “senior leadership and experience”, there is a reason those guys haven’t left college yet and it’s because they suck.
As for Virginia, they lost to a team called the “Golden Retrievers” for Christ’s sake and if you think “this is the year they finally get over the hump,” congratulations, you played yourself for the sixth straight year.
Roy Williams is the best coach in this entire tournament (look at his track record) and I will trust him with my life. *Sidenote* If I was a 5 star basketball recruit in high school, I think I would choose to play for Roy Williams, the guy has a heart of gold… Well, for a basketball coach anyway.
Well, there you have it, the holy grail of brackets. Pretty cool, am-i-right?
I hope that one billion dollars is worth spending the afterlife in hell, which is what I promised the spirit that visited me in exchange for the perfect bracket. Why should I give a s*** about hell, when it’s March Madness, right? After all, the only hell I am trying to avoid is a busted bracket.