Written by Aeryn McMurtry
For athletes and fans alike, March Madness is like a month long national holiday. There is something absolutely magnetic about the energy and camaraderie that comes with a win. College basketball becomes a religion and the congregation raises praises every time their favorite team moves forward in the tournament. Players reach celebrity status with jersey sales and promotions, becoming household names and icons.
But what happens if you aren’t a sports fan? Are you forced to miss out on all the fun and games just because you don’t know the difference between Villanova and Virginia? Or because you thought seeds belonged in the ground? No way!
The easiest way to get involved without actually getting invested is creating a bracket. This is a chart of teams as they move through the tournament, used as an official record and for predictions. Filling out a bracket is a way both professionals and fans flex their stat knowledge and prediction skills, but you don’t have to own a lucky jersey to participate.
Filling out a bracket is one of the easiest forms of friendly competition. You personally don’t have to do much, and there is nothing you can do to effect the outcome. You can fill out your bracket on March 19th and forget about it until you rake in all that sweet prize money from your friend group’s betting pool.
If you still aren’t motivated or you honestly have no idea how to pick, try these ideas:
Look up the team rosters and decide who gets to move forward based on how cute the players are. That might seem silly, but brackets are really nothing more than a game of chance anyway.
Which teams have the coolest looking jerseys? Are you mad at Miami for wearing bright orange and green? Do you love the simplicity of Kentucky’s white and blue? Set up your bracket in a fashion break down, let those teams know that patterned shorts are unacceptable.
Find out what one team your sporty friend can’t stand, and make sure that they go all the way. Sometimes friendly competition needs to be spiced up, and nothing says spicy like contempt! Seriously, taking an opposing approach keeps it interesting. Sometimes, coming out of left field is exactly the right way to win.
Or if all else fails, you can use this March as an opportunity to learn about teams, stats, and general basketball knowledge. Do some preliminary research about teams in the upcoming tournament and figure it out based on raw stats. Most of the time, stats aren’t a deciding factor, but the numbers don’t lie; you’d need to know the absolute ins and outs of every team to be able to accurately predict a bracket, but knowing records is, at the very least, a decent jumping off point.
In a world of stats and (not) steroids, don’t be afraid to fake it til you make it.