Check out our British friend’s fantastic NCAA tournament bracket
One of the most entertaining aspects of the NCAA tournament is filling out a bracket — unless you don’t — and pretending you know more than you actually do about college basketball.
But what would a bracket look like if you literally knew nothing about the teams that make up the field?
I decided to find out.
One of my best friends, Justin, is dating a very lovely British girl named Rachel, and while Rachel, a Manchester United fan, is fond of sports in general, she’s not so familiar with the ins and outs of the games we care about on our side of the pond. (“She regularly asks me why LeBron is not retired yet,” Justin recently told me, “because she thinks he’s Kobe Bryant.”)
Over the past several months, Justin and I have tried to familiarize her with some of our time-honored U.S. sports traditions, taking her to NBA games and dragging her to her first tailgate outside the Cure Bowl in December. (“Wait, so you guys just stand in a field and drink beer all day?”) And with March Madness upon us, we decided to up the ante by having her fill out her first tourney bracket.
Rachel was given a brief rundown of how the tournament works along with a couple of very general pointers — the smaller the number next to a team, the better that team is supposed to be; a 16-seed has never beaten a 1-seed; no team seeded higher than 11 has ever reached the Final Four — but she received no guidance beyond that.
Needless to say, the result was a work of art (larger version here):
When asked about why she picked Troy and Winthrop to dominate the tournament, Rachel gave a cheeky answer: She liked how the name “Winthrop” sounded when she said it, and she associated Troy with the ancient Greek city. (UPDATE: Winthrop has lost, and so we really need you to come through, Troy.)
That’s sound logic if I ever heard it. And as someone who has seen my national championship pick eliminated on opening weekend two of the past four years, I’m not really in a position to judge either way.
Now all that’s left to do is see how Rachel’s picks perform in “squeaky bum time” — her phrase, not mine — and pull for the most stunning NCAA tournament in history.