My son, Gunnar, is 4 years old. This is, technically, the fifth NCAA tournament he has witnessed (although I bet he doesn’t recall much, obviously). Even so, I have always taken the time to fill out his bracket.
The concept is simple: I give him the four No. 1 seeds in the first round, but the rest is decided by a coin flip (better seed advances with heads, tails means it is Upset City.)
I have never beaten him, which goes to show you how much of a crapshoot the brackets can be. I’ll never think highly enough of myself to declare myself an expert, but there’s no doubt I watch more basketball than 99 percent of people, especially in years in which I am West Virginia’s only representative Associated Press Top 25 poll, which was the case this year.
Well, Gunnar can’t defeat me this year, but we can still tie.
Entering the Final Four, we’re deadlocked at 80-80. I can still earn 16 points with an Oklahoma win, but if the Sooners fall and Villanova advances, we’ll tie. I didn’t come up with a tiebreaker, although I think he should win on cuteness.
He held a commanding lead after the first round games. You see, not only do I award the standard 1-2-4-8-16-32 point system, but for first round games ONLY there is a bonus for picking an upset. The bonus points are determined by the number of seeding lines between the two teams, so if a 15 beats a 2 and a person picks it correctly, they get the 1 point for the win and 13 additional bonus points.
Gunnar raked here.
He had Wichita State over Arizona (5 bonus points), Yale over Baylor (7 bonus points), Northern Iowa over Texas (5 bonus points), VCU over Oregon State (3 bonus points), Providence over USC (1 bonus point), Little Rock over Purdue (7 bonus points) and Syracuse over Dayton (3 bonus points).
Obviously, he benefited greatly from Syracuse’s run. He had the Orange in the Elite 8.
He’s done earning points, though. He had Colorado vs. A&M. Yikes. Plus WVU vs. Little Rock. Double yikes.
But I still have Oklahoma. And, perhaps, a little bit of dignity.