March Madness Gettin’ Busy

Each March starts the same way. Brackets are filled out with confidence after watching hours of Bracketology, Cinderella stories are thrown in for the sake of it, and potential national champions-to-be are named that absolutely cannot fail.

Then, three weeks later, some friend’s nephew wins the pool because he likes the color blue, dogs, or something like that.

This announcement is followed by complete frustration, hours of cursing and throwing objects against other objects, and a burning hatred for this ambiguously existing 6-year-old.

Strategies of picking brackets range from complete randomness or calculated indecision and pickery. Joey Schulman ’14 watched hours of expert analysis on ESPN and watched as many highlights and looked up as many statistics as possible.

“Day and night from Selection Sunday until the brackets locked, I was focused on making my bracket as perfect as possible,” Schulman said. Unfortunately for Schulman, his strategy was ill met with reality, as he sits in 93rd place in the pool.

Tied with Schulman at 93rd is Cole Gendels ’14 who admittedly did not know a lot about college basketball but watched games toward the end of the season and put together a bracket to the best of his abilities.

“I didn’t watch a lot during the bulk of the season but when conference tourney time came around I knew it was time to get serious with my bracket picks,” Gendels said.

At Staples, the culture of March Madness is ubiquitous. Each year, hundreds of students hand in their cash to a senior commissioner who has had previous success in the pool. Bo Gibson ’12, the winner of the 2011 “Big Dance” pool, is the commissioner of this year’s tournament challenge.

Every year, there are those who try to get in without paying, taking advantage of the group message board trash talk or potential winnings as a freeloader. With more than 130 entries this year, Gibson had quite a bit to worry about.

“I had an intricate system of assistants and spreadsheets,” Gibson said. “As commissioner, I have the power to boot anyone who hasn’t paid, and I used that power to clear the league of free-riders.”
This year’s tournament pot is upwards of $1100. The winner will receive $800, second place $200 and third will receive $100 according to Gibson.