The Dagger - NCAAB

Don't fill out more than one of these. The Colonel sees you. The Colonel knows.

It's that time again. That two-day respite between the conference tournaments and Selection Sunday, and the actual NCAA tournament. It's the calm before the storm. It's also when you need to figure out who you like going where in what bracket, and how you're going to be certain, positively certain, that North Carolina is going to win it all and that Western Kentucky is upsetting Illinois and so on and so forth. Now's your time, so make it count.

As you go bracket-filling, though, I -- and by extension we here at The Dagger -- have but one request. Actually, "request" isn't the right word. I have one command, which you must obey: Fill out one bracket.

That's right. Fill out one bracket. Use it for all your pools. No exceptions, and no excuses. Be a man, or a woman, or whatever you are, and make your picks and deal with the results.

Why? First of all, because doing the opposite is impractical and annoying. I want to talk to you about your bracket. I am a college basketball fan, and I'm interested in discussing college basketball with you, and anyway, you work down the hall from me and you always have your headphones on so I figure hey, sure, the NCAA tournament will provide an easy conversation piece. Let's chat. Then I ask you what your Final Four is, and you list anywhere from eight-to-10 different teams, with various contingency plans for each. I can't keep track of that, and you've ruined this conversation. And now we both have no excuse to avoid work. See what you've done here?

But more important than that is integrity. Sure, it's fun to go all willy-nilly and pick every single possible combination of teams. It might even save you from embarrassment in your office pool. But that slight outward embarrassment you would have for losing to your office's token non-sports fan will be overshadowed by the crushing, devastating shame you feel at subverting the honest and good and American process of picking one basketball team over another, and then momentarily rooting for that team with all your heart, because your bracket depends on it.

This is my one rule. Usually, you're free to enjoy sports however you please; I respect your rights as a sports fan. I don't even mind that you just started caring about college basketball yesterday. Your choice. (Though I do hope you come back to The Dagger in the offseason!) But this time, look deep inside yourself, meditate, and make the right decision. You know I'm right. Take your time, fill it out, and be excited about it, until it all comes crashing down on Thursday morning.

One bracket. One bracket to rule them all. Now get out there and be somebody.

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