How This Woman Picks Her NCAA Bracket

How This Woman Picks Her NCAA Bracket

I'm a girl. I love hockey, specifically the Pittsburgh Penguins, a lot. It’s been that way since I was little, I grew up in a neighborhood riddled with professional hockey players, and my high school football team was so bad that I think they once lost a game to a pack of drunken girl scouts, so as a result, everyone went to hockey games.

In college, I went to Ohio University, where in my freshman year we won our first football game, the riot police were called, and then a few weeks later that same pack of drunk girl scouts must have found former Head Coach Frank Solich, because he was found intoxicated and unconscious in the front seat of his car the wrong way on a one-way street, so at that point everyone started going to hockey games in college too.

However, at no point in my sports life have I ever paid any attention to basketball. I partially believe that if the scoreboard can get into the hundreds, then it’s clearly not hard enough to score. It’s also partially because every time I’ve gone to a game at least three guys have clearly faked injuries to draw a penalty (or whatever they call it) in basketball. If you want people to feel sympathy for you, get hit with a puck going 90 miles an hour or have a heart attack on the ice and ask to be put back in the game after they revive you with an AED. Perhaps if basketball players were playing on ice or whacking each other with sticks, I’d find March Madness a little more maddening.

Staal Puck Face

That being said, OU was actually on television a couple years ago, and it was for something besides riot police being called to a party, coaches getting drunk, mascots getting drunk, or that kid SNL spoofed on "Weekend Update" for putting a  hottub in his dormroom. (Sidenote: that is an awesome idea.)

That's right, Ohio University made it to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, so naturally, I had to watch my alma mater and cross my fingers and hope they didn't choke like a fratty freshman learning how to do shots. The downside was that other than OU, I hadn’t paid any attention to college basketball, so my bracket was mostly made up. I had OU winning an irrational number of games, and then made all of my other decisions based on how much I thought Bravo's fashion Guru Tim Gunn would like the team’s uniform color choices.

For example: CBS Sports said that Harvard had roughly a 12% chance of beating Vanderbilt; which makes sense considering the last time they were invited to the Big Dance, World War II had recently wrapped up and the biggest hit song of the year was “Near You” by Francis Craig (thanks, Wikipedia). In spite of that, I put my faith in Harvard. Is it because their SAT score of any single player on their team was probably higher than the cumulative scores of all of my alma mater’s team? No. Is it because maybe Linsanity had trickled down to his alma mater and they were riding the crimson tide of talent too? Doubtful. It’s because Vanderbilt’s generic-looking uniform’s showed a lack of creativity and I would hope that putting my faith and $5 semi-legal bet on the interesting design of Harvard’s red and black would pay off and translate into a basketball game that was actually interesting to watch.

Harvard - Vanderbilt NCAA Jersey Showdown

Did this approach make any sense? Probably not. But every single year everyone else gets upset when they methodically plot out their brackets only to have them blown by a ridiculous upset in the second round, so I figured I would put my money on irrational teams to begin with and see if it paid off.

The results? Harvard lost, OU made it to the Sweet Sixteen, and I tripled my investment. Score one for my style of picking brackets!

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About The Author
Kristin Kipke
Kristin Kipke
Kristin is a law school graduate, former college swimmer, and in a past job, worked on the launch of KFC's Double Down. You're welcome, America.