Not to burst your bubble (or bracket), but the odds of picking a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are more than 9-quintillion-to-1. Just let that sink in for a bit. Then watch hours upon hours of game tape that you undoubtedly slacked on from December to February, consult a psychic or two and, when you finally realize it’s all for naught, just cry.
Really, it’s OK.
If the NCAA tournament were meant to predictable, it wouldn’t be this fun. Everyone has that friend who makes emphatic claims when brackets are released on Selection Sunday about sleeper teams and the Final Four team that’s money in the bank.
Spoiler alert: Your friend is wrong, has been wrong every year before this and will probably end up near the bottom of the bracket pool standings as the basketball gods snicker among themselves. Embrace the wildness, people.
To illustrate just how crazy the NCAA tournament can be, here are 16 things that are more likely to happen than picking the perfect NCAA tournament bracket. The 16-seed is the most likely thing to happen, and so forth. Let’s get to it.
Here are the 16 seeds:
16. Ralph Nader gets elected president … of Mexico
Nader ran for president of the U.S. in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. Demoralized after all those defeats, perhaps the champion of the Green Party tries his hand in … a different country? Look, it probably wouldn’t be wise to bet the kids’ college fund on it, but Nader winning the Mexican presidency is the most likely thing to happen on this list. Buckle up.
15. Yankees sign Will Ferrell to play shortstop
Athletes always strive to be entertainers and vice versa, so there’s only one reasonable answer to the question of why the Yankees would sign Will Ferrell to play shortstop. The answer is, why wouldn’t the Yankees sign Will Ferrell to play shortstop? If timeless classics such as "Blades of Glory," "Kicking and Screaming" and "Semi-Pro" are any indication, Ferrell would have Yanks fans saying, "Derek Who?" by mid-May.
14. Dickie V goes entire season without mentioning Duke in a non-Duke broadcast
Bless his heart, but Dick Vitale always finds a way to mention Duke, North Carolina or the ACC in broadcasts that have absolutely nothing to do with Duke, North Carolina or the ACC. But if there’s one thing Dickie V loves outside of diaper dandies and taking about Greg Paulus, it’s a college hoops upset. In the event that he’s reading this, 2015-16 could be a dry year for oddly timed, random Duke shout-outs.
13. LeBron James pulls an MJ, leaves NBA to play minor-league baseball
Twenty years ago yesterday, Michael Jordan’s PR team issued one of the greatest press releases of all time. It simply read, "I’m back." LeBron referred to his four years in Miami as "college," and judging by his media debacle in 2010 but savvy redemption in 2014, King James clearly took a PR course or two at Heat U. Sources have yet to confirm or deny, but LeBron could be coming to a minor-league stadium near you.
12. Jay Wright wears cargo shorts to an NCAA tournament game
Talk about a sleeper 12-seed. Jay Wright’s wardrobe could have made the field of 68 by itself. Granted, Coach Wright could probably make cargo shorts and a pair of Crocs looks cool if he really wanted to, and maybe one day he will. I just don’t see that day coming unless a) Wright loses a bet, or b) it’s Halloween, and unfortunately, NCAA tournament games are not played on Halloween.
11. Get bit by a shark while being struck by lightning
At least filling out an NCAA tournament bracket incorrectly isn’t dangerous. Who in their right mind would go so far into the water when there’s lightning outside? For the record, I have no idea. But I also had no idea that a 9-year-old kid would win my bracket pool last year while filling out his bracket with green crayon and, well, that happened. Moral of the story: You never know what will happen in March.
10. The Cubs win 10 World Series in a row
"One would be nice," said every Cubs fan. Theo Epstein is using the 76ers bottoming-out strategy to take over the baseball universe for years to come, and his young core looks promising. Ten World Series seems a tad far-fetched, sure, but so does Jay Wright wearing anything but a tailored masterpiece to a basketball game. It’s all about context.
9. Get hit by a cannon ball that was meant to salute you
Let’s be honest, this would actually be pretty cool (provided the damage wasn’t fatal). If you’re enough of a badass to have a cannon ball shot in your honor, you’re probably equally badass enough to withstand whatever damage said cannon ball would inflict. I might be alone on this one, so let’s move on.
8. Elope with Jennifer Aniston after a wild night in Vegas
If this were to ever happen in anything but a dream, you’d have to imagine Aniston as her character in "Friends," Rachel. That girl married Ross, for Christ’s sake. Knowing that Rachel fell for David Schwimmer should be an instant confidence boost to anyone that would try to woo her during this theoretical night out in Vegas. It’s not likely, but neither was Aniston literally dating God in "Bruce Almighty," and we all saw how that turned out.
7. Give birth to octuplets
Sure, it would make sense for this to be No. 8 on the list, but things that are barely more likely to happen than picking the NCAA tournament perfectly defy logic. Anyway, having eight kids at once is extremely unlikely, but not 9-quintillion-to-1 unlikely.
6. Kentucky loses in the first round … by 30
Not saying, but just saying … Hampton looked pretty darn good last night! My money was on Manhattan, and even though it doesn’t technically count for brackets, that can’t possibly be a good sign. Barring the Monstars coming to life and sucking the life out of the Wildcats, this is admittedly a long shot.
5. Dying by overeating at a feast given in your honor
This would be tragic, but what better way to go out? Anyone permitted to eat such extraordinary amounts of food at their own celebration probably lived a pretty awesome life. Unfortunately, death is usually caused by old age or some sort of pressing medical issue. Cool ways to die usually aren’t a thing, and because of that, dying by overeating at a feast given your honor is highly unlikely. In case you were wondering.
4. Whatever happened to Henry Rowengartner in Rookie of the Year
A doctor performing arm surgery that goes "haywire," which allows a 12-year-old kid to throw 100-mph fastballs and hang out with Gary Busey every day? Sorry, not buying it. March Madness must really be unpredictable, because after conversing with several medical practitioners in the field, they unanimously agreed that this will probably never happen.
3. Jahlil Okafor forgoes NBA draft to become a WWE wrestler
"Oh my god, is that Jahlil Okafor’s music?" Just picture that. For what it’s worth, the guy is 270 pounds and moves like a young Randy Orton. Not sure if he has the mic skills to make it in the WWE, but that should be easier to learn than becoming an elite rim-protector in the NBA. The ball is in your court, Jahlil.
2. Team scores 0 points in NCAA tournament game
UCLA came pretty close to doing this against Kentucky earlier this year, and they’re a tournament team. So it’s certainly possible. Since Kentucky winning the national title wouldn’t really impress anyone at this point, this might as well be their next goal.
1. Kevin Spacey changes real name to Frank Underwood, becomes president of U.S.
*Cue dramatic music, scene of Spacey taking the necessary measures to legally change his name to Frank Underwood, somehow become aligned with President Obama, make a bet with Obama over who will fill out the better NCAA tournament bracket, Obama loses, Underwood (formerly Spacey) becomes president of the U.S.*
Hope this provided you with some much-needed confidence about your brackets’ success, folks. Sit back, relax and root for the madness to ensue.