DAYTON, OH - MARCH 15: A general view of the opening tip off between the Clemson Tigers and the UAB Blazers during the first round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at UD Arena on March 15, 2011 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
"Hey there Jimbob, what teams do you have in your Final Four?"
"Ohio State, Duke, Kansas and Pittsburgh. How about you?"
"No way! That's the exact same four I have!"
"Unbelievable. What are the odds, eh?"
"I know dude, tell me about it! This is crazy!"
Despite the ear-gouging nature of the above conversation, this sequence will be repeated over, and over, and over again during the next few days. Listen closely at your local watering hole, or collegiate house party, and you might literally stumble into this exact same discussion. This is usually a fair time to break out your long-lost foreign language ability as an exit strategy. As for me, I prefer the response "Que Chevere!/How Awesome!" in Spanish.
March Madness is a wonderful time of year, and it is great to see so many people filling out brackets and generating a larger interest in the sport. But let's be real: We live in a country that includes two vastly different levels of the population; normal people, and celebrities.
When little Suzie from down the street takes UC Santa Barbara in the opening round because she is afraid of alligators, a grand total of four people will laud her overt cuteness and move along. But when a famous person like um, I don't know, let's say President Obama unveils his selections, we get an in-depth breakdown of every game on national television. Seriously, what is the true difference here? Suzie's fear of alligators impacted her bracket, much like Obama's chalk-loving nature did the same for his. Where is poor little Suzie's 30-minute special on SportsCenter?
When the scrolling bar at the bottom of our screen informs us that LeBron James, the self-described king of every basketball level aside from the most important one, has turned in the final copy of his bracket, I cringe. This is a perfect example of how the media fails us, the viewer, on a daily basis. We want score updates, and instead we get a tourney bracket from a guy who never attended a single day of college. And sadly, I wish I could speak for everyone in the country when I say this, but NOBODY CARES about [Insert Celebrity Here]'s bracket. Somebody needs to stop to this nonsense.
There are hundreds and hundreds of hardworking college basketball writers and bloggers out there who know the game, they know the teams, they know the coaches, and they know the players. These are the people who have a valuable opinion around this time of year, and these are the only ones who deserve your attention. Instead, the pencil-led whims of famous actors, musicians and politicians get shoved in our faces at every turn as if they have even a clue on what they talking about. It's hard to believe that a guy like LeBron James can find time in between sob sessions to watch teams like Old Dominion or Oakland play. So why would his selection of one of these particular schools be any more valuable than mine or yours? Because he thinks he's some sort of king? Please.
Picking games in the NCAA tournament is a crapshoot. We all know this. Most bracket pools end up going straight to the lady who picked her winners based on the most desirable tourist locations, and that's just the point. Once the games start everyone becomes an expert, not because of their knowledge, but because their sheet says so. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to speak with John Madden about possible sleepers for this upcoming fantasy baseball season.