The 3 stages of filling out your March Madness bracket

More than 90 minutes per day will be “wasted” during March Madness according to a recent survey making its rounds with the media. I am not sure if that time is “wasted,” I guess it just depends on how you think your time should be spent. Personally, I really enjoy March Madness, in fact, it just might be better than Christmas.

That same survey also predicts that more than $1 billion in wages will be paid to distracted workers. But I also wonder how much the economy benefits from the Madness


It’s almost hard to put into words the entertainment that one can get from “wasting” your time and participating in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament hoopla.

Stage 1: First you sit and rack your brain, trying to predict who you think will win based on your basketball expertise. All the thousands of minutes you “wasted” watching college hoops during the regular season come down to the few days or hours it takes for you to fill out your bracket(s).

Its like you are a scientist, using your basketball IQ to predict the future. You try to use logic and take into account what you know about each team and look at their statistics, RPI, records, etc. You also may look at the strategy behind filling out the bracket itself.

Everyone has their opinion of how many No. 1 seeds you should pick to make it to the Final Four. Some say only one:

Only five [No. 1 seeds] have made it [to the Final Four] in the last 5 years. And then have them win it. Six of the last seven champs have been #1 seeds.

Some say you should have two, No. 1 seeds there. I went with the latter. (But I did have a No. 1 seed win the tournament as the first bit of advise stated to do.) But to be honest I did that on my own accord, it wasn’t until after I FINALLY put my bracket to bed that I began looking at some of the statistics of March Madness bracketeering. It’s pretty interesting, just Google “March Madness by the numbers.”

Stage 2: But a funny thing happens, as you go through each match-up, one-by-one, trying to use your best judgement to pick a winner, you throw all logic out the window and convince yourself that “anything can happen” and that you have to pick upsets.

No matter how much you slave over your bracket, at the end of the day you just find yourself saying, “Screw it, I can’t predict the future. This is college basketball, anything can happen. That’s the beauty of it. I just have to go with it.”

So you enter the middle stages of filling out your bracket: Just going with it. You let the stress subside, crank that baby out and end up with something like this:

Teryns 2014 NCAA BracketStage 3: That is when you enter the final stage: panic mode. You begin to second guess yourself. You text your brother and ask him who made it into his Final Four and you say to yourself, “Why did I choose Iowa State to make it to the semis?”

Then you have to remind yourself, you did your homework. You know the majority of people in your pool picked Michigan State to be there. So what if that doesn’t happen? In order for you to have a chance at differentiating yourself from the rest of them in hopes of coming out victorious, you picked that — and several other — upsets. (Including New Mexico topping Kansas in the in the second round, which was a totally emotional choice. I can hear my dad now, “You can’t pick based on emotion.”)

Now there’s nothing left to do but fill out several other brackets for several other bracket pools and hope that at least ONE of those combinations will prove to be lethal and you can at least win SOMETHING or break even.

Next phase: Look forward to more basketball madness, watching actual games, rooting for teams you have chosen on your bracket, and for other upsets you had hoped would happen all along but didn’t allow yourself to pick — because, remember, you shouldn’t pick based on emotion.


About Teryn Gregson

Teryn Gregson (formerly Schaefer) is an award-winning journalist, golf presenter, on-camera host, wife and blogger. Connecting with golf fans world-wide, Teryn is best known for her role as a broadcaster for the PGA TOUR.

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