It’s March. Weather-wise, we’re in for some trouble. It’s an awkward interlude between seasons, during which the winter wonderlands cease to exist, but the 70-and-sunny days remain bashful.
Also, it’s March. Pop-culture-wise, we’re in for some trouble. No more award season. Kind of a lull for movies. There are actually some pretty solid albums releasing, but that thwarts my argument, so let’s move onto the climax of this three-part set-up introduction:
Hey, it’s March! Basketball-wise, we’re in for a treat! College hoops fanatic or not, you’ll most likely fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket, effectively gambling on the most important games of some unpaid college interns’ lives.
Within the NCAA basketball beat, folks like to make fearless, large-scale projections. Like, “A mid-major team will win the Championship this year,” or “A double-digit seed will make the Final Four.” Bold predictions are stupid. They’re fun, for a minute, and then you realize they’re not going to ring true, and s/he who makes the prediction is rendered a fool. Me? I’m a smart guy, myself. A safe guy. My predictions are more along the lines of “There will be an upset” and “Your bracket will suck.”
These 23 unadventurous projections will almost certainly happen in the next month. Feel free to also predict these things, especially in the general direction of your friends who say things like, “No, seriously, the first Thursday and Friday of March Madness are my two favorite days of the year.” Attached to each prediction is my corresponding confidence level, scored on a 10-point scale, 10 being the most confident.
1. The first team ever to finish the regular season 31-0, Wichita State, will be invited to play in the tournament. (Confidence level: 4)
2. At least twice in the next thirty days, you’ll Google “Kychevski” to learn how to spell “Krzyzewski.” (Confidence level: 8)
3. Someone close to you will be confused by the difference between conference tournaments (held March 3 – March 16) and the actual NCAA Tournament (held directly thereafter). Both events will be televised and a part of societal discourse, so the confusion is understandable. Make fun of your friend, sure, just don’t be a dick about it, you know? (Confidence level: 9)
4. You’ll hear a disproportionately high amount of talk about bubbles. (Confidence level: 10)
5. More than once, a large woman will claim to be proud of her son and credit God for his ability to play basketball. (Confidence level: 10)
6. A little old man named Dick Vitale will shriek. (Confidence level: 9)
7. ESPN’s bracketologist, Joe Lunardi, will finally combust from calculating too many statistics and bracket trends. Dick Vitale will shriek at his funeral, but it will be a more somber shriek than before, and you’ll be overcome with sorrow. (Confidence level: 10)
8. These four teams will not reach the Final Four: Cornell, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Tennessee-Martin, the Los Angeles Lakers. (Confidence level: 6)
9. A 1-seed will beat a 16-seed. (Confidence level: 3)
10. Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid — teammates on Kansas and prospective NBA lottery picks — will combine for more than 10 points in the month of March. (Confidence level: 5)
11. On multiple occasions, announcers will say this about a young man they have not met: “He’s just a really good kid.” (Confidence level: 7)
12. Despite the NBA’s propensity towards “tanking” — losing on purpose to earn a better draft pick — very few NCAA teams will adopt this strategy. (Confidence level: 2)
13. This phrase will be repeated over and over again: College basketball is so much better than the NBA. (Confidence level: 6)
14. But really though: College basketball will prove, once again, to be so much better than the NBA. (Confidence level: 10)
15. These two teams will make the NCAA Tournament: Duke, Kansas. (Confidence level: 7)
16. Former college hoops announcing legend, Gus Johnson, will watch the first round games in solitary at a local sports bar. As a game ends in buzzer-beating fashion, he’ll ask the bartender to mute the television so he can utter his signature phrases, “From the parking lot,” “Pure!,” and “Cold blooded!” As a single tear rolls down Johnson’s cheek, the bartender will toss him the keys and yell, “Just lock it up when you’re done, Gus!” (Confidence level: 9.5)
17. Oklahoma State star, Marcus Smart, will hit more three-pointers than men sitting in the front row. (Confidence level: 5)
18. Kentucky head coach John Calipari will continue to be an asshole. (Confidence level: 9)
19. The term “explosive” will be used to describe an African American superstar. The term “firecracker” will be used to describe a Hispanic guard. The term “high basketball IQ” will be used to describe a Caucasian role player. (Confidence level: 8).
20. More people will thank God in post-game speeches than Matthew McConaughey did in his Oscar speech. Less Mr. Stone references, though. (Confidence level: 7)
21. One night, you’ll miss an especially exciting game due to a prior engagement. You’ll say something like, “Ah, just my luck. I always miss the best games. I’m so mad!” Then, a snide friend of yours will quip, “That’s why they call it March Madness!” Then, the two of you will furiously dry hump in the name of wit. (Confidence level: 1)
22. The NCAA has already figured out how the bracket will work. There won’t be any problems with schools having to play multiple games against the same team or double elimination or extended-byes or any of that shit. Stop worrying about that, everyone. (Confidence level: 10)
23. An aunt of yours will win your family pool. She’ll remark that it’s crazy that she won — she doesn’t even know anything about college basketball! At the next family gathering, her suddenly vicious trash talking will be insufferable. (Confidence level: 8)