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Bracket Chicanery 

By Ike Martin


Perhaps it was the madness that comes with the ides of March, but after I filled out my NCAA Basketball bracket this year, I decided to have some fun. I went totally manic and decided to create a totally “blind draw” process to complete an additional bracket. I wanted to see how my educated prognostications would fare against a bracket based solely on kismet.

Also, I thought it would make the karmic bracket that much more comic if I entered it for my dog, Zoe.  I thought she would be a great choice based on two astute observations. One, I recently saw her sprint the length of the kitchen and dunk her favorite ball --- of course her water dish isn’t that high, but she did it with great flamboyance. Two, when she was a puppy, she seemed to spend a great deal of time perusing the columns of a Harvard educated writer, or at least she seemed to stand over them frequently.  One should ascertain considerable knowledge reading the opines of a widely acclaimed columnist. Actually in retrospect her penchant for an Ivy League writer may explain some of her initial picks. Now that I think about it, who else could have influenced her to pick the Ivy League eggheads over the SEC eggheads.  

After the second round, Zoe and I were closer than I was comfortable with. It’s not with a lot of pride that I say that I beat the family dog by one. Plus she had predicted two of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament. Yes, that’s right! She had the team who sounded like a French high school and had to play an extra game, plus do the chairman of the selection committee’s lawn just to get in the tournament, beating the 2nd seed of the region. In another region she had a team that sounded like an over-zealous high school beating a team with great burger credential. One could only pick those two 15 seeds if they were Harvard-educated or catnip intoxicated. She’s a strange dog; she does have catnip “on her back”.

In the third round, Zoe abandoned the over-zealous high school, but she had allowed religion to inspire one of the picks. Consequently she learned that the experienced prognosticator will attempt to maintain a separation of church and State U. I doubt reconciliation will be required.  After the third round, she was still only one behind the “head prognosticator of the house.”  

She was almost kicked out of the house when she picked a team of elves over the beloved family alma mater. I’m a fierce fan, but I’ve mellowed over the years. The mellowing process began to develop after a stern reprimand from my wife. One Thanksgiving, I denied a niece access to our home until she took off the sweatshirt of a rival school. My wife has a way of getting my attention and then pointing out the “error-of-my-ways and the “mellowing” process began.  

I can see some of Zoe’s personal opinions in many of her picks.  I’m pretty sure her pick of the French high school over the winningest coach in NCAA history was more about her belief that the great coach often gets out-coached in the early rounds. I know that her questionable pick of Iceberg State was based more on her experiences, than on the opposing coach’s ability. She is a fashionista, who once exhibited a distinct distaste for a fluorescent pink jacket that my wife bought for her. My guess is she doesn’t like “Iridescent U’s” new “hi-lighter green and yellow” uniforms and, like many of us, she’s hoping they exit soon.  

It appears that she has reconciled her distaste for her sworn enemy, and picked a team with “Cats” on the front of their jerseys. As a matter of fact, she actually picked a very feasible Final Four. She has Kentucky , Kansas , Syracuse and Long Island University . Okay, well you tell her LIU is a bad pick, but if you have the purported greatest coach in the history of college basketball advancing beyond the first game you may want to reserve judgment. 

I’ve resigned to the fact that the family dog beat me. I bought her a new plush toy…a cat and some catnip. She seems to be happy. Fortunately the only people who know that she beat me are the other 250 prognosticators that she beat and like me they’re not broadcasting it.

Copyright 2013 Ike Martin

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