Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Playstation Bracketology

Joel tries to look through the TV Posted by Hello

Selection Sunday begins the long and annoying process of inquiring about so-called expert opinions to gain the special insight that may help you win your bracket. Analysis and over-analysis ensues. Jim Nantz and Greg Gumbel ponder a possible matchup between #2 seed UCONN and #3 Kansas. Gumbel proves particularly savvy on this topic: “What if UCONN did play Kansas Jim?” Indeed Greg. What if? Can I get into Newhouse Communications school now too?

So Gumbel and Nantz prove to be a dry well in making my Final Four picks.

Chris Compton and Joel Ross argue over who’s idea it was first. “I saw somebody do this on ESPN or something and it was cool,” declares Compton.
“No, I was watching CBS and they were making picks and then I thought of it.”

The proposed idea: Play out the results of this year’s NCAA B-ball tourney on EA Sports March Madness 2005 as a means of predicting who will win this year — an idea worth arguing or possibly even dying for.

I am sitting at my computer applying for jobs when Joel pitches his idea for me to cover this tournament of champions for the website — then he makes fun of the way I say tournament (tour-na-ment). It is obvious he is stoned and it is obvious I am not going to get a job so I decide to join in on this waste of a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

For the next hour Chris and Joel smoke weed, watch a new Simpsons episode and manually enter all 64 teams into a blank bracket in the game.

The process is somewhat tedious. And by tedious I mean that this is already shaping up to be a bigger waste of time then I had ever expected. Chris reads off each team and then Joel flips through the hundreds of possible NCAA teams and enters it into the blank space and then Chris informs him he did it wrong and then he looks a little bit more and makes the right selection and waits for Chris’ approval and then they repeat the process…63 times.

After all the teams are entered the fun can begin, but at this point I am already having too much fun and decide to read a dictionary to calm myself down. Each roommate and one pledge that is living with us get to pick two teams that they can play with during the tournament:

Joel: Oklahoma and Illinois
Compton: Kansas and Wake Forest
Me: UConn and Arizona
Pledge: University of Louisiana-Lafayette

All the work entering the teams into the bracket is about to pay off. All games are to be simulated except games involving any of the aforementioned teams. Joel hits the start button and awaits the unbelievable prospect of fun that will be inevitably derived from playing ten consecutive hours of Playstation.

But the wide-eyed sprites are immediately confronted by horror, disappointment and trepidation and confusion and probably a general sense of worthlessness. It seems the computer will not allow anyone to actually play the game unless it is a pairing of the seven select teams. In the mean time the screen scrolls the results of simulated games, I try and record them as fast as I can and then realize that I am feverishly recording fake results of video game simulated basketball for the purpose of making real-life predictions for my bracket which I am going to bet actual money on.

Since new results come in every second, reactions to the results can only last for the one instant the score is on the screen, then it is a different reaction to a new result. “Yess…No…Shit Kansas really…Fuck c’mon Zona…Damn…This isn’t what I expected.” What Chris and Joel await now is a result that would pit their teams against each other giving them a chance to actually play the video game they rented earlier today.

Their final chance to salvage anything from the situation presents itself in the form of a potential Final Four match up between Joel’s Illinois and Chris’ Wake. All that needs to happen is for Illinois to beat UNC. Illinois then loses to UNC. Joel picks up the television and says he is “going to through it out the fucking window,” and then puts it down and makes the pledge get him a Gatorade because he is tired from picking up the television so much.

“I am really mad,” said Compton of ever having tried to attempt such an ambitious project. Nonetheless, we forget that the purpose of the exercise was to predict this year’s tournament winners. So without further ado…your Final Four results:


The Final Four will be: Wake Forest, UNC, Arizona and the surprise of the tourney Michigan State.

The final: UNC 91 Wake 83

Read and laugh as your friends vainly try and fill out their brackets and then think in your head, “These fools have no idea about this thing I read on the internet,” and then laugh out loud but don’t tell them what you are laughing about.


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