The Madness Begins
Associate News Editor
There are many wonderful things about Notre Dame. Among them are the Dome, the Grotto, the Notre Dame family and Siegfried tailgates. Currently, though, the best thing about our University is its decision to schedule spring break to coincide with the first week of March Madness. It's the only time of the year that Gonzaga is a household word. It's when everyone can wonder, where exactly is Coppin State? Sixty-four teams, only one will be able to win six games in a row. March Madness is as good as it gets.
And with no tests or papers to worry about and no class to attend, the entire week can be devoted to filling out brackets and watching the tournament unfold.
Last year I thought I had it all figured out.
I was coming off a good 1999 trip to Bracketville. I was pretty much the only person I knew who didn't pick Duke to win. I got used to people looking at me like I'd been on a vacation to Mars during the basketball season. Predicting their loss kept me quite satisfied until Selection Sunday 2000.
Then I went to work.
After 10 hours and 39 minutes filling out my brackets, I was satisfied. I researched all teams, checked home and road records and evaluated injury reports. I considered how teams would match up with each other and gauged team motivation. And I thought about intangibles, gut feelings, and my belief that more often than not a No. 10 seed will beat a No. 7 seed.
My women's brackets took less time. Upsets aren't as frequent and it's easy to pick Notre Dame, Connecticut and Tennessee to go straight to the top.
I convinced everyone who was near and dear to me that their life would not be complete unless they'd filled out brackets. Both men's and women's – I had to remind a few people that more that one NCAA championship was at stake.
March Madness was here. (By the way, who at CBS was responsible for deciding they'd call it March Mayhem? Note to them — maybe next you can try calling the Super Bowl the "really great" bowl or something.)
When my mom sent me her brackets, I had to laugh. I wasn't sure exactly what method she'd picked to select schools. But she obviously knew nothing of my superior, research intensive, basketball intuition-based system.
A few hours into Thursday's games, it was clear that March Madness was in full swing. It was also clear that my brackets were turning against me.
When the dust settled and Michigan State had won the tournament, I tallied the points on everyone's brackets. I finished dead last. My mother was the overwhelming winner. Her superior system? She decided to pick Catholic schools when she could and then Florida because of South Dakota native Mike Miller. And mostly she just guessed. Go figure.
A year later I've recovered enough that I'm counting the minutes until I can fill out my brackets. But I have one very important score to settle.
Watch out Mom, this is my year.
All Inside Stories for Monday, March 19, 2001