Five Explanations for Picking a Correct March Madness Upset

You are sitting in front of your computer or at your desk, a blank bracket before your eyes. Running a tight schedule, you know you won’t be able to put as much time and effort as other people do into your bracket. Either way, it’s time to stop dawdling. 

Grabbing your mouse, you begin to click and drag teams into position. Okay, second round, here we go. Florida, obviously. Hmm…maybe Pittsburgh. You proceed thusly, and soon your eyes stop on a matchup between (11) Dayton and (6) Ohio State. Scanning your bracket, you notice a glaring lack of March Madness upsets.

Well, Ohio State is a powerhouse, isn’t i? You’ve never heard of Dayton. But something’s telling you that this is a good thing – those kinds of teams are always pleasant surprises. Regardless, you don’t have time to dwell on it. Clicking Dayton’s name, you forget about it until the tournament begins.

Suddenly, there’s screaming from one area of your office. It sounds like somebody’s dying. What could it be? Apparently, some team named Dayton won. Wait…Dayton? Your Dayton? You feel like a genius, the only one in the pool who correctly picked that game.

Dayton did it. Photo by Dayton Daily News.

Looks like you’re still in the running for that billion dollars (well, by now, you’re not. Nobody is. Warren Buffett is a genius). But soon, the questions start pouring in. “Why did you pick Dayton?”, “Come on, dude, what did you see? Damn it!!!!!!!”, “Cheater!!!”. You have no idea to respond.

This scenario plays out uncountable times, with a multitude of games, each and every March. And that’s where we come in. Here’s what your going to say to bolster your pride and look positively godly:

Replace (Cinderella) with the team that pulled off the March Madness upset and (Goofball) with the team that got upset

If you are on the other side of the pole here, and made the wrong upset pick, check out Five Excuses for a March Madness Upset Pick Gone Wrong

“You know, Fred, I really took a good look at the coaching matchup here. In March, those guys can be the most important pieces of the game.”

Would it be better if you actually knew the coaches names for this one? Yes. Is it absolutely necessary? No, not really. Just sing the praises of “Coach” for a few moments, and then you are free to change the subject or gracefully exit the conversation. Bam, easy as that. 

“Two words: advanced metrics. (Cinderella)’s efficiency numbers are way higher than their seed indicates, and their style of play is just way better suited for March Madness than (Goofball)’s.”

Ah ha, you’re hitting them with a curveball here. You start out talking about their efficiency stats and whatnot, which you obviously have no idea about, but then you end by talking about their style of play, which is a much easier topic to discuss subjectively. In this way, you’re putting up some seemingly irrefutable evidence while at the same time taking away the need to back it up.

Yeah, that’s how they won. Photo by Portland.

“Come on, Bob, that was the most obvious upset in the bracket! Just because (Cinderella) isn’t Duke or Kentucky doesn’t mean they can’t win a game in the Tournament! Wow, I thought you were better than that.”

Yes, berate Bob for his elitist views of college basketball. This is very often the case – people just pick the big-name teams, choosing to clothe themselves in the comfort of familiarity. That makes it even sweeter when you successfully buck the trend. Shame on him. He should have been more careful filling out his bracket.

“Mid-majors never get the respect that they deserve, Jim. I did a lot of research about the ones that made the tournament and (Cinderella) just really stuck out just because of the way it plays. It’s the right way to play basketball, and I knew they would be rewarded for it.”

Yes, preach! Honestly, if you hit him with this, what is Jim going to say? What can he say? Is he going to doubt the Basketball Gods? That’s not an option. This is a perfect way to make yourself look extremely knowledgeable without actually providing any real knowledge.

Never doubt the Basketball Gods. Photo by Slam Online.

“Sally, you’re a loser. How much time did you spend on your bracket? Four hours? More?! Guess what? I did this almost randomly. And I’m still doing better than you! Some people are cut out for this, others aren’t. I’m sorry. Better luck next year.”

The best defense is a good offense. Here, you’re just going to be brutally honest, and the genius of it is that somehow you come out on top! You’re making Sally seem inadequate for putting so much effort into such a trivial thing, while at the same time your own natural gifts are accentuated. It’s a hole-in-one, if I do say so myself.

I realize that you might look silly if you broke one of these out during the course of a normal conversation about college hoops (if you even remember any). Feel free to revise them, or not use them at all! It’d be good if you were one of those people who didn’t even need something like this – you can back yourself up just fine, thank you very much. At the very least, I hope you were entertained. Signing out!


What do you usually say when you don’t have a great explanation for your correct March Madness upset pick? Comment below.

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