March Madness is back and everyone cares about College Basketball again for one month. Watching is more fun when something is on the line, though, and millions of people bought in to NCAA bracket pools this year. Most of them won’t win, but almost all of them “basically should have won, except they changed this one thing at the last minute.” Not every participant is the same, though, and there are a few groups that they fit into:
1. The Expert: This guy lives and breathes college basketball and has been following it intensely all season. He knows who played well against who, who won their conference tournament, and “who’s hot.” He makes upset picks that you will never understand and his final four is a mixed bag of favorites and underdogs. This guy will never win.
2. The Bracketologist: He started following college hoops two weeks ago when he realized the tournament was coming up. He thinks he knows more than everyone and will pick a fourteen seed to win just because he saw them play last week on TV and can name their best player. He’s read all of the ESPN and CBS predictions and thinks that this gives him and edge. He’ll pick all of the popular upsets (i.e. Harvard over Cincinnati) that everyone else picks and think that he’s a genius when they pan out.
3. The Guy Who Knows Nothing: This guy knows absolutely nothing about college hoops, or usually basketball in general. His co-workers or friends convinced him to go in on their pool. He’ll join just to be “one of the guys,” with no real expectations and will choose teams just based on what sounds cool. When he starts to do well by complete happenstance, he’ll often grow overconfident bordering on cocky, and start lecturing you on why he “just knew” that Mercer would beat Duke. This guy will always win.
4. The Guy Who Won Last Year: A variation on “The Guy Who Knows Nothing,” this guy won last year, despite absolutely no basketball knowledge. He’s still riding the wave of confidence from last year and is convinced that he is some type of hoops savant or that he just has a good understanding for this type of thing. He’ll pick absurd upsets that no one understands because he “just has a feeling” about one team or another. This feeling is based on absolutely nothing substantive, but he still thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. He’ll bemoan all of the guys who know nothing because they don’t understand anything. None of this guy’s upsets will pan out and he’ll do terribly.
5. The Guy Who Picks All of the Favorites: Another variation on “The Guy Who Knows Nothing,” he doesn’t understand why the best teams don’t have the best chance of winning. His Final Four will be all number one seeds. You’ll make fun of him because he just doesn’t understand. A bunch of his picks will pan out and it will infuriate you. He’ll do substantially better than you no matter how well informed you are.