It’s the time of year when everyone has an interest in college basketball. People join the excitement of March Madness by filling out NCAA Tournament brackets, regardless of their knowledge or interest in the sport.
Some people play for money. Some play for bragging rights among friends and family. Others put it all on the line with co-workers in the office pool. Hopefully, no matter who you play with or against, filling out a bracket is one of the fun ways to enjoy the suspense of the NCAA Tournament.
And in my experience, people seem to fall into specific types of categories when it comes to filling out a bracket. You can always count on someone fitting in one of the following 10 personas as part of March Madness.
For the record, I’m using “he” in each of these categories to save from having to say “he or she” as the proper grammatical term. Fear not, ladies, “she” can also apply for any of the following.
1. The Organizer
This person never receives the credit he deserves. They collect the money, print the brackets, send out the e-mail reminders and usually answer people’s ridiculous questions, all out of the kindness of their hearts. They have a pretty good knowledge of the tournament field and usually fare quite well, but they also have to deal with the stress of helping everyone else.
Symptom: There’s an excitement prior to the start of the tournament, but it’s overtaken by frustration and annoyance by the Sweet 16.
2. The Obnoxious Idiot
There are far too many that fall into this category – and all of them are on Twitter. This is the person who’s convinced he knows a good deal about every match-up and has the entire bracket figured out. Regardless of whether he actually knows what he’s doing or not, he feels the need to tell everyone about it. He’s also really good at just regurgitating whatever he heard on ESPN’s bracket show.
Symptom: Tells you not to sleep on Harvard this year because the Crimson aren’t the typical Ivy League team.
3. The “I don’t know what I’m doing and it’s hilarious” person.
I actually find this person to be even more unbearable than the obnoxious idiot. This person thinks it’s just so funny and adorable that he filled out a bracket but doesn’t have any idea what he’s doing. Like the obnoxious idiot, he feels the need to constantly remind you that he doesn’t know anything about college basketball and that we should all pity him because of his terrible picks.
Symptom: Can’t stop saying that he picked teams based on colors, mascots, or coin flips.
4. The Puppet
I have great respect for this individual. He knows he’s in over his head for filling out a bracket, so he enlists the help of a ringer who has better knowledge of the teams. Parents do this with their kids all the time for the office pool. It’s about winning the cash, and usually the puppet has made some type of arrangement about how the winnings will be split with the person that actually completed the bracket.
Symptom: The puppet doesn’t even know Tulsa has a basketball program, but has made the genius move of putting them in the Sweet 16.
5. The Gambler
Treats March Madness like it’s 12 days of Christmas. The gambler knows how this works better than anyone and studies each matchup like it’s part of preparing for the bar exam. They don’t fall for the insights of the so called “experts” from the networks. They rely on the true experts – oddsmakers from Vegas.
Symptom: Has a notebook handy at all times during the NCAA Tournament. Doesn’t have any rooting interest in a specific team – cares only about money lines.
6. The Blindly Loyal Fan
Emotion reigns king for the blindly loyal fan. It’s not about match-ups or overwhelming differences of talent. It’s about always believing in your team and knowing they’ll figure out a way to pull out the improbable victory. These people are part of what makes the tournament great and special, but their brackets are often comically stupid.
Symptom: Graduate of Purdue who somehow manages to have Purdue in the Final Four even though the Boilermakers aren’t even in the tournament.
7. The Historian
This is the person who makes picks based on old information. They typically rely on information they might have heard during that one time they watched College Gameday a few years ago, or something they vaguely remember about a team because they read it in a magazine article while waiting for a doctor’s appointment.
Symptom: Thinks P.J. Hairston is talented enough to carry the Tar Heels to the Sweet 16.
8. The Quiet Expert
This is the person who enters your pool that you’re not even sure watches sports, but suddenly emerges with a near perfect bracket. He keeps to himself and never mentions pulling for a team, but actually has a subscription to Kenpom, which he has saved as a bookmark on his computer and checks religiously every day at lunch.
Symptom: Makes no mention of the NCAA Tournament all year but mysteriously gets sick on Thursday and Friday.
9. The Tardy Participant
Despite sending out constant reminders that brackets are due an hour before the first game begins, this person always tries to submit his bracket at halftime during the first set of games. They promise the bracket was filled out the day before, but they just hadn’t had time to get it turned in and officially submitted.
Symptom: He turns in the bracket late and just happens to have correctly picked that 13-seed over 4-seed upset from the early games on the first day.
10. The Upset Picker
Even though the statistics are overwhelming that favorites and chalk are the smart picks to make when filling out a bracket, this person is more concerned with picking one correct upset instead of making 14 correct picks. He’ll pick every 11-14 seed to win and likely has a couple 9-seeds in the Final Four. He finishes last in your pool, but it doesn’t matter because no one else was smart enough to call that 14-seed over the 3-seed.
Symptom: Has every No. 1 seed eliminated in his bracket before getting to the Sweet 16.
What are some other personas that fill out brackets? Which one are you? Let me know in the comments section.