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The Five Stages of NCAA Tournament Bracket Picking

You go through a lot to pick the perfect bracket...

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Five Stages of Bracket Picking Everyone Goes Through

1) Smart Picks and Favorites!

You're just super excited and you want to get a bracket on the books. #1 seeds don't lose, the 5/12 match is murderous, and usually all the favorites don't make the Final Four so you throw a #3 or #4 seed in there. (I mean have you seen Arizona's athleticism?? No way they lose to (insert name of team they're going to lose to)

But this is all a bit predictable and rushed, so you reset...and then decide to find the next Davidson in your...

2) Upsets!

Picking the Favorites is so last year. You've got to differentiate yourself somehow. Your upset ridden bracket is definitely going to win the "State Farm Regional Office - Livonia Location" Bracket Challenge. You can almost taste that $25 gift certificate to Jimmy John's. C'mon Buffalo! C'mon Arkansas! C'mon Purdue!

But, goodness, some of those picks look like you allowed your pet turtle Timmy to choose. You're feeling uneducated on hoops so let's go ahead and do some...

3) Research!

KenPom and Algorithims and Quality Wins and Momentum Meters and Bench Depth and Foul-Rate, Oh My! You're so deep in the research weeds, it's like one of those movie montages with lots of scribbling and mouse-clicking and Sister Christian playing in the background.

But you don't even know what KenPom stands for, you're just showing off for your roommates. You're lost! So much information, so little time, it's time for...

4) Personal Defeat

/Lies sobbing on bathroom floor

/Crumpled up brackets litter your room, hallway, kid's room, kitchen


Your body and mind are wracked with guilt and shame. How could you know so little? Why didn't you ever stay up late to watch San Diego State play? Is Fred Van Fleet an Elite 8 level guard or just a product of the national media's obsession to highlight the best mid-major players? How do you pronounce Oubre?

Don't get down friend, this is March Madness, the best time of the year, it's best to just fall into...

5) Acceptance and/or Homerism

Whatever. Go Big Ten. Go (insert name of hometown or adopted team). BEST BRACKET EVER.