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Why your bracket picks reveal a lot about yourself.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy/AP)
Why your bracket picks reveal a lot about yourself.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy/AP)

Freudian Picks

What your NCAA bracket picks reveal about your character Add to ...

There is a good chance that you will fill out an NCAA basketball tournament bracket for an office pool some time in the next three days. There is an even better chance that you spent the last four months focused on your family and career, not glued to TSN. Therefore, you have only a passing familiarity with most of the teams in the tournament, and your bracket selections are just a series of guesses.

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Those guesses say little about your basketball acumen but speak volumes about your personality. A tournament bracket can reveal more about a person’s character than handwriting analysis, or even phrenology. Read these five classic bracket archetypes and select the one that best fits your tournament strategy. Then, discover what your bracket tells the world about you. Warning: this system is so accurate that it can feel as if we opened a window to your very soul, so make sure you are seated comfortably.

The Favourites Bracket

You select favourites to win nearly every game. First seeds beat 16th seeds, fifth seeds beat 11th seeds, and if you dare pick a ninth seed to “shake things up” against an eighth, you make sure that the hierarchy is reaffirmed in the next round. You have Kentucky beating Syracuse in the final, and you view anyone who does not with suspicion.

WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU

You feel that societal order must be preserved at all costs, and that disagreeing with the wisdom of the selection committee is the first step toward anarchy. Upsets are for hippies. Rooting for underdogs is subversive. When Bucknell beat Kansas in 2005, you spent two weeks cowering in your fallout shelter eating Meals Ready-to-Eat. You do not have time to focus on a silly tournament, anyway: you have orphanages to foreclose upon and tie tacks to polish. You participate in the office pool only so your subordinates will think you are “one of the gang,” and the plebes totally fall for it. Your children attend military academies. Your pets attend K-9 academies. Your spouse attends support groups.

The Underdogs Bracket

You love a good upset and see no reason Savannah State cannot make the Round of 16 this year. While your bracket includes a few nods to common sense, you find yourself scribbling South Dakota State far more often than anyone not living in South Dakota should.

WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU

You truly believe that one person can change the world, but you cannot comprehend that Roy Williams or Thomas Robinson is probably that person. You are an incurable optimist, though several pharmaceutical companies are working on it. You applaud at the end of children’s movies, even when you are watching at home on DVD without children present. Your bracket strategy is also your investment strategy, which is why you are wearing a sweater with holes in it, and in the unlikely event that Davidson wins the championship, you will use the winnings to help pay off that mortgage you took out in 2007.

The Out-of-Date Bracket

You overrate teams that were powerhouses about 20 years ago. You have Michigan going all the way. Nevada-Las Vegas is in your final four. What: Loyola Marymount did not make the tourney this year? What gives?

WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU

Back in the early 1990s, you were single and had leisure time and disposable income to spare, so you spent winter evenings at the local tavern, hoisting beers and thrilling to the exploits of Bobby Hurley and Lionel Simmons. But now you have a family and a serious career, leaving you with little time for college basketball, but you cannot bring yourself to admit that your carefree weekends with Jerry Tarkanian ended decades ago. Don’t worry, friend. Grab a flannel shirt, pop the Spin Doctors into your CD player, and get ready for Georgetown and Indiana to make big runs. Your loved ones will break the news gently that you are actually watching ESPN Classic.

The Expert Bracket

You combine favorites with underdogs that you carefully selected based upon their strength of schedule, assist-to-turnover ratio and the expert opinions of the other message board posters at UnhealthyHoopsObsession.com. Your bracket is the product of 36 hours of painstaking research; you took breaks only to rank players 300 through 770 for your nine fantasy baseball drafts.

WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU

Data are your friends, perhaps your only friends. You understand that the purpose of a tournament pool is not to add zest to your basketball-watching experience or promote water cooler bonding, but to gain the 0.07 per cent advantage over your co-workers that comes from turning a small diversion into a life-consuming chore. You believe co-workers admire your ability to steer all break-room conversations away from movies, family and life’s pleasures and toward Baylor’s R.P.I. rating. All the effort was worthwhile, however, when you finished tied for sixth in the pool in 2003, winning $56 and gloating for two days before beginning your research for the next year’s pool.

The Nickname Bracket

You pick the team with the coolest nickname to win every game. Wildcats are cooler than Cavaliers, Blue Devils are tougher than Bears, and while Badgers are fierce, the Wisconsin Honey Badgers would win not only the tournament, but a Super Bowl and Wimbledon as well if they existed. When nicknames of indeterminate coolness face off, like Zips versus Shockers, you just flip a coin.

WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT YOU

There are two possibilities. The first is that you are female and attractive. In this situation, your male colleagues find your strategy cute. They also find your sneezing, blinking and existing cute, so do not put too much stock in the intrinsic cuteness of your bracket strategy. The second is that you are an ironic hipster who does not fill out a bracket so much as “fill out a bracket.” The fact that you are too urbane to take the pool seriously is only slightly undercut by your knowledge that Vermont’s nickname is the Catamounts.

In either case, when you inevitably win the pool with this strategy, you are obligated to announce that you watched no basketball at all during the tournament, cannot imagine what everyone got so worked up about, and think that sports are overemphasized by society. Then, you must use your winnings to buy a Jeremy Lin jersey. Whether you are ever invited to another office social event depends upon which of the two categories you belong to.

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