Brackets mean business

Published 12:22 am Sunday, March 22, 2009

It’s the time of year in which the sports world is overrun by those wonderful things called brackets.

Those sheets of paper have little boxes drawn all over them, enough boxes to fit 65 college basketball teams in the greatest tournament in sports, the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

If you’re like most people, you’ve filled out at least one of these brackets, and probably more than that. Whether you’re in an office pool, a friendly wager or simply putting personal pride on the line, chances are you’ve probably got an extra reason to watch the tournament.

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In my case, I have a bracket competition with my wife Jennifer. It’s a thing we’ve been doing since we began dating.

Every tournament, she picks her bracket and I pick mine, and we see who is the better basketball expert.

We usually put a wager on the outcome, like the loser has to do all the laundry or the loser has to wash all the dishes, but since the loser never does what he or she is supposed to do anyway, we didn’t even put a wager on it this year. This year’s competition is only for pride.

After losing two years in a row, I finally broke through last year with a victory and am looking to start my own two-year winning streak.

But by the looks of things so far, it’s going to be very close this year. I started off well, correctly picking 14 of the 16 games on the first day, but tailed off big on Friday, picking only 10 of 16 correct that day.

Because of that, Jennifer was able to catch up with me and both of us sit 24-8 after the first round.

I’m not exactly sure how we began picking a bracket contest against each other. Jennifer has always been pretty good at filling out a bracket. In college, she always won the office pool at the bank she worked at, mainly because I think the other ladies that worked there picked their teams based on the mascots while Jennifer actually knew something about the teams.

But even so, when we started picking against each other I thought it would be a piece of cake for me. I mean, after all, I was a sports writer and sports editor for the Mississippi State newspaper and a lifelong sports fan and she was … well, a girl.

But I have met my match the past five years, as she has gotten the best of me much more than I have gotten the best of her.

This is the year that turns the tide. Time for me to start a winning streak. West Virginia has already let me down, so I need Memphis, North Carolina, Louisville and Pittsburgh to keep winning.

Come on guys, I need you. I can’t let my wife beat me yet again, can I?