The Face Off: Fill out a NCAA tournament bracket or not?

Two Spectator staff debate their view of the topic



Story by Scott Procter and Graham Rowe

Fill out a Bracket

Some basketball fans would argue they enjoy the March Madness Tournament for the game but they do not care who wins in the end because they just enjoy basketball. However, I would say sports are way more exciting when you can compete to see who wins with each matchup and have a team to root for throughout the tournament.

Yeah, I get it, it’s not all about winning, but wouldn’t it be more fun to have a bit of friendly competition while you are watching the games? If you are watching the game anyways, why would you settle for passive entertainment when you can be actively involved in the tournament as well?

There are plenty of organizations, teams, clubs and groups that participate in making NCAA brackets. Instead of just watching the game alone or with a few friends, you compete with them as you watch the games.

About 40 million Americans will fill out approximately 70 million brackets this year to total about $9 billion wagered in the NCAA tournament, according to the American Gaming Association.

It is a popular hobby to have in America, and nowadays there are even apps to keep track of the leader brackets as well as your friends’ and celebrities’. You don’t even need to know anything about basketball to make a bracket anymore either, you can just click randomize, and this app will make a bracket for you. And who knows you might get lucky enough to win the money in the pot.

March Madness makes for great conversations, too. Some of my friends enjoy talking about the history of teams and how they are sure they are going to win this time. Also, the excitement continues if there is a competitive game or an upset in participants’ brackets. No one has gotten all the right picks yet but I am looking forward to the day when someone does.

The faster you get started on your bracket, the more time you have for the actual fun of many game nights, debates with friends and aiming to have the best bracket.

Graham Rowe, Staff Writer

Don’t fill out a bracket

March Madness is one of the most exciting times of the year for sports fans. Perhaps the most thrilling aspect of the tournament are the incredible upsets that inevitably happen each year.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a virtual no-name no. 15 seed upset a highly favored no. 2 seed in the first round (which has happened three out of the last six years).

The only thing that can take away the joy of witnessing a historical upset is the agony of having your predicted national champion fall in near unprecedented fashion. This is the tough position fans are constantly being put in: Choose between your bracket and an incredible upset.

The solution is simple: dump the bracket.

Of course there are large amounts of fun that come with doing your research on the tournament field and selecting each game’s winner until you decide a champion. Or maybe you find pleasure in bragging to your friends about correctly choosing a no. 12 seed to upset a no. 5 seed while your bracket sits at a measly 34 percent correct (oh wait, that’s just me).

But once you make those picks and your bracket is complete, you are bound to those teams and have a separate interest in the tournament other than watching simply for the joy of it.

Not filling out a bracket gives you the freedom to enjoy March Madness exactly how you want to. You can cheer for every upset, not just the one or two you picked for your bracket. You can cheer endlessly for your favorite team, and root against that team you hate in every round of the tournament. You can go crazy about every buzzer beater because you are not obligated to your bracket’s picks, you are free.

Filling out a bracket may add fun to March Madness, but the NCAA Tournament doesn’t need enhancement to enjoy, as it is naturally wild.

Dumping the bracket frees you of guaranteed conflict and lets you enjoy the madness exactly how you want to.

Scott Procter, Freelance Writer