March Madness For Dummies

spartybracketmath

Here’s a fun fact that you may not know about me; I am a Spartan.

No, I don’t mean that I am spartan: marked by simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort. In that regard I am more of a sybarite: a voluptuary or hedonist.

I mean that I am a proud graduate and loyal daughter of Michigan State University. And just because I don’t follow college sports and, as a matter of fact, don’t know very much about such things, that doesn’t mean I can’t claim full bragging rights because the MSU men’s basketball team has made it to the Fantastic Four.

Go Green!

For those not familiar with this great tradition, a fever grips colleges all across the land at this time of year.   Students abandon their scholastic pursuits and get drunk because it is spring break. But that does not concern us right now.  They also abandon their scholastic pursuits and get drunk when it is Thursday.  We’re not getting into that, either.

I want to talk about this magical time for college basketball that is known as The Spring Fling.

The NCAA (National Council on Avoiding studying in April) breaks the country up into 4 divisions: East, Midwest, South and West. There is no North division because the northern schools’ only sport is playing hockey against Canada.  Each college plays the other schools in their division until each has a winner. Michigan State, for example, which is generally considered be in the Midwest of the contiguous United States map-wise, is in the Eastern division for basketball purposes. We play all the other Eastern teams like the one bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana.

Before any games may be played, however, every adult male in the nation (and many intrepid females) must formulate their brackets.  This is a complicated process which involves calculating wins divided by losses multiplied by free throws, all carried to a power equal to the number of tattoos the point guard has. Sports fans are cautioned to keep in mind the Order of Operations rule, working from left to right except that equations within parentheses and brackets come first. That’s how they got the name.   At the end of these logarithms, each person winds up with their own, personal ranking of teams going from dead last, which position they call Unable To Get Alumni Donations, to the team they think will win the whole tournament, called The Big Kahuna.

This process is so complex that many men find it necessary to abandon their work pursuits and get drunk EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT IN COLLEGE!

Formulating and betting on brackets is a vital part of the U.S. economy during this time, and it accounts for a full 67% of the Gross Domestic Product of Las Vegas. Every time anyone anywhere says they bet their team will go all the way, they have to send $50 to Antonio “Sonny” Parmigiano-Reggiano at the Sands Hotel & Casino.

The first round of games is called the Sudden Death Double Elimination. That’s also what they called it during the playoffs sophomore year, when I spent the night on the bathroom floor with a bucket after I had enjoyed the Little Caesar’s 2-for-1 anchovy pizza deal along with 5 shots of tequila.  But I don’t want to talk about THAT, either.   All you have to know is that MSU beat Virginia in this round to get into the Sixteen Candles.

Go White!

Michigan State was unstoppable as they whupped another East coast powerhouse, Oklahoma (formerly known as a Great Plains state before they migrated East,) to advance to the Crazy Eights.

Go Green!

Then came Sunday’s nail-biter. That game went into overtime before MSU emerged victorious over Louisville to earn a place in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Go White!

This weekend will be major. No, I’m not talking about the events marking the passion, death and resurrection of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ, although that’s big, too.   I mean the two games on Saturday that will determine who goes to the final showdown.  If MSU wins, we play for all the marbles on Monday as one of the Dynamic Duo.

This is big.

Of course it’s not as big as in 1978-79 when MSU won the Big Ten championships in football, baseball and cheer-leading, and went all the way  to #1 in the country in basketball.  I’m sure all the athletes worked really hard that year, but was it merely coincidence that I had just transferred in to MSU at the start of that Never-To-Be-Repeated-Year-Of-Glory?  You decide.

Be sure to cheer for Michigan State this weekend.  All of us loyal Spartans will sing the fight song loud and clear.  And if anyone still wonders why the song is “fighting with A vim” (as in only one vim; wouldn’t it be better to have a whole bunch of vim (vims? vimi?) for the big game?) that won’t diminish our enthusiasm for our team.  My money is on MSU to go all the way.

(The $50 is in the mail, Sonny.)

Go Green! Go White!

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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80 Responses to March Madness For Dummies

  1. I’ve abandoned any hope of understanding let alone winning the bracket sheet stuff. Tried it a few years. Only frustration.
    I spewed coffee reading about the geographical ridiculousness which is the team matchups. Yeah, who’d a thunk Oklahoma and Louisville would be in the EAST bracket.
    Thanks for the chuckle and GO GREEN!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      …and Texas is in the Midwest? I think they just want to even things out so that all the true talent, which is primarily in the Midwest, doesn’t knock each other out in the first round. That’s my take on things, anyway. 😉
      Enjoying your time off, sissy?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s going too fast and not very warm outside, but crossing some things off my list to do.
        Met another contractor yesterday and gave a set of plans for bid. Time is running out to secure someone for this summer. Trying to remain optimistic…

        Like

  2. Hey! It’s been a long time since I was your first poster. I’m honored! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Al says:

    Where was this logical, rational and helpful blog when I was picking Robert Morris college to go all the way?! And tell me more about this voluptuary side of you.

    Like

  4. Jeannie Rupp says:

    Peg, You have summed up in one post what my husband has not been able to explain to me( in terms I could understand) in years! Thank you for that! Happy Easter and GO GREEN!

    Like

  5. I am still laughing at your crazy explaination of the March Madness playoffs! It is hysterical and I really enjoyed your humor! I will certainly be cheering for MSU, as I have a dear friend in Michigan, and my team never made it to the first bracket. 😦 I will also be sharing this post with the many sports fans I know. Your blog is always good to read and I enjoy it. Thanks so much! Good luck to MSU! ~ Vickie

    Like

  6. Blogdramedy says:

    The only brackets I know well are the ones I put around words to emphasize a point I’m trying to make because you can never use enough words. Or brackets.

    But because you asked so nicely, Go Green, Go White! (Does this mean their uniforms are so white because they were washed in an environmentally-friendly detergent?)

    PS — I retweeted your “new blog post” tweet as you are still new to #Twitter. And I’m only charging you for the gas. Go Peg!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks for the retweet, BD. You are my techno-guru. Should I now go on Twitter and favorite your retweet or is that redundant?

      I supposed March Madness doesn’t get much play in Italy, what with all the grape-stomping you’re engaged in right now.

      Like

  7. susielindau says:

    Sorry Peg. I’m wearing my Wisconsin sweatshirt right now.
    Duke beating Gonzaga ruined me. I had high hopes for a $20,000 gift card from Best Buy, but I dropped to 92%. Dang! And I had all that dumb luck on my side.

    Like

  8. Your explanation of March Madness may be a little sketchy, but your choice for the eventual champion is above reproach. Go Green!

    Like

  9. George says:

    March Madness….the best three weeks of American sports. Love Tom Izzo……go green!!!

    Like

  10. Reblogged this on HorseMark Cards Blog and commented:
    This is so funny and entertaining! A Must Read for non-sports fans too! Enjoy this post and check out her blog– there is always something interesting to read! Enjoy your day! ~ Vickie

    Like

  11. So that’s what NCAA really stands for – how could I be confused. Of course.
    Brackets. Like bracket fungus: grows among the tall, and those little fingers get a tight hold on the unsuspecting. Some just can’t walk away from them.
    Guess all the talk about going Green is making progress.

    Like

  12. Michael says:

    Conversely, and sadly, I am a Louisville fan (I went to UofL’s law school), so, Sunday was a bit of a disappointment. Also, since my fiance goes to UK, I am currently a Kentucky fan as well. I do enjoy filling out the brackets, even though my picks are usually wildly off and my bracket has so much red it looks it played Julius Caesar at his stabbing. I did pick Kentucky to win, though, I will admit. They’re good. 38-0, and all that. There’s more cheers, but I am only a new fan and don’t know them yet. 🙂

    Like

  13. Carrie Rubin says:

    Logistic regression makes more sense to me than this, which is another reason I don’t follow sports. But I do enjoy going to an occasional Cavs game with my family. Mostly because I enjoy the popcorn and beer and watching people dance on the Jumbotron. But don’t tell anyone.

    Like

  14. Does anyone else think it’s silly that Peg thinks college kids need an EXCUSE to drink, or is it just because I’m in Wisconsin – the state that runs on hops?

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  15. Oh my goodness! I love your writing! I always laugh out loud! (I had to spell it because I really do it.)
    Thanks for explaining everything to me, now I won’t be lost.
    Melinda

    Like

  16. mary says:

    You forgot to mention how half the country is sleep deprived and not worth a darn at work! I love filling out the brackets-just guessing but I was ahead of Pat so I’m HAPPY! We eat, drink and live GREEN and WHITE, as you well know. Happy Easter and don’t call after 6:00 pm Sat.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I know your family bleeds green. Looks like Carolyn and possibly Lib will be here for the weekend so we’ll join you in cheering from a couple states away.

      Like

  17. thedailydish says:

    I am an Owl. And as my beloved cherry & white failed to fight! fight! fight! their way to the championships this year, I will help root on your green. Green is my favorite color, after all, and I was born in Michigan (though we supported a different school – lets go BLUE!) Anyway, I hope your team wins and I do not feel like a turncoat. good luck to us both.

    Like

  18. k8edid says:

    Now, Peg. May I call you Sister-Spartan? I attended MSU (of course, all the good ones did) and had lived a few miles from campus for many years. I have spent many an afternoon/evening enjoying hoop-related functions at the Breslin Center and Jennison Fieldhouse before that. I have hobnobbed with Magic Johnson (he is huge and his smile is blinding), and even Tom Izzo (he is short, but exceedingly polite) at campus events. My blood runs green and my hair is white. My granddaughter asked Sparty to marry her, and I fully expect that wedding will take place.

    I have been known to play the brackets (which you have explained in your usual pragmatic and highly entertaining manner). Of course, at the workplace we had to bet “paperclips” as gambling was frowned upon. I usually picked my winners by whether or not I liked the way the name of the institution sounded, or the caliber of their mascot.

    Next weekend wlll be big. We will be watching. Thanks for lesson in bracketology.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Of course you’re a proud and loyal Spartan daughter, as all should know. May your game viewing this weekend be filled with cheers, happiness, victory and no hangovers.
      I expect an invitation to your granddaughter’s wedding. What are her colors going to be?

      Like

  19. OK, so I showed this post to Jim as his family’s from Michigan and he said, Go blue! not Go green! (???) Because apparently he doesn’t like MSU but likes the other Michigan team? I have no clue what the hell he’s talking about. I don’t watch b-ball, especially college. When I see stuff about brackets on TV my eyes glaze over instantly. Glad you made some sense of it all, Pego.

    Like

  20. I plan to quote this delightfully factual article frequently and with great authority. Thank you!!

    Also, my picks were based on blue uniforms, but I did have MSU hanging in there for a while, which is saying something because I didn’t have the Terps lasting past Round 2. Congratulations and best wishes!

    Like

  21. WOW! You may not e-speak e-Spanish Peg, but boy do you e-speak basketball! I got into it this year only because my daughter goes to Villanova…but we all know how THAT turned out. Very short-lived. My husband was drunk and yelling at the TV at the bar we were at. Luckily, he did not need a bucket.

    I will be watching JUST for you! Seriously. I had kind of lost interest but now I will make sure to watch your team WIN! I might even sing a verse or two of the song, albeit, with a Spanish accent. “Eets e-specialty ees weening, an dos e-Spartans plei goood bol.”

    Like

  22. Shannon says:

    Whoa! Anything requiring square roots and fractions gets me all excited. Where do I sign up?

    Like

  23. Thank you for explaining all of this–especially the drinking part. Now, is there a real sport I can watch, like a dog agility competition? I’m serious. No, really.

    Like

  24. Elyse says:

    I will have my head under a rock because I hate it all. But go MSU– for Peg-o-leg!

    Like

  25. Yeah Baby! Go Spartans! Obviously I didn’t follow all your mathematical formulas which is why I’m in the middle of the pack somewhere in my brackets! Oh and even though I’m a Michiganian I did pick Wisconsin as the “Big Kahuna”. But I’m rooting for STATE!!!

    Like

  26. Dana says:

    Try being a non-basketball-watching, non-caring-about-college-sports-at-all Canadian in Arizona right now (BEARDOWN, WILDCATS!) We were wondering why the whole city shut down last Sunday and why there were police and even SWAT teams (!!) everywhere. Then, when UofA lost the game (I think), the whole city was eerily silent. (I assume this silence indicated a loss, although I haven’t bothered to look online and check. Anyone?)

    Like

  27. My pools are usually mathematically eliminated from contention by halftime of the first game, at which point I lose all my vim for college hoops and go back to work.

    Like

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