Like other major sporting events, March Madness can be a little confusing for nerds. Why would so many people call in sick on a Thursday to sit around and watch basketball all day? Nerds understand calling in sick the day after the new Final Fantasy releases but why anyone would do that for a sport is a mystery to them. I’ve compiled some talking points to help nerds better understand March Madness.
Basketball is a sport in which teams attempt to shoot a ball into a basket suspended 10 feet in the air. It’s a lot like quidditch without the brooms, the snitch and the lily-white British people (unless it’s a BYU game). The goal is to score as many points as possible. Points are scored when the ball successfully makes it into and through the basket. In college basketball they play two 20 minute halves and the games generally last about two hours. I know that’s a lot of time to devote to something that doesn’t involve magic or fighting robots, but it can be an exciting investment.
March Madness is the name of the NCAA college basketball tournament. There are 64 teams competing in the tournament. If a team wins, that team progresses to the next round. There are four regions with 16 teams in each region. Teams are seeded in order of how they performed in the regular season. So the best team in a region, the 1 seed, will play the worst team in the region, the 16 seed. Basically it’d be like picking one of the coolest characters in nerdom and setting him or her against one of the worst. For example Batman versus Jar Jar Binks would definitely be a 1 seed versus a 16 seed. Most often the top seeded team wins, but sometimes there are upsets.
Point spreads only serve a purpose for gambling. If someone was going to bet on a game, he or she would happily bet that a 1 seed would be a 16 seed. In order to even out field, though, odds makers create point spreads. It’s not enough for the 1 seed to win; the 1 seed has to win by a certain number of points. Take our example of Batman and Jar Jar Binks. Everyone would put their money on Batman because he’s awesome and Jar Jar Binks is an embarrassment. But if Batman had to win in a certain amount of time or break a certain number of ribs, it would make the bet a little more difficult. Deep and thorough knowledge about specific point spreads is what turns a casual gambler into a degenerate gambler. Just like more than two World of Warcraft accounts turns someone from a casual gamer into a socially stunted gamer.
March Madness lasts for three weeks so this information will be useful until the beginning of April. There is a lot more to know about the basketball tournament so it’s important to keep the conversation at a level with which you’re comfortable. If the conversation begins to get too deep into zone defenses or coaching credentials, politely excuse yourself before your lack of knowledge seeps through.
And whatever you do, don’t refer to any underdog as the Jar Jar Binks of the tournament. Whoever you’re speaking with, coworkers or friends, will see through your ruse and dump you in the nearest trash can.
Who would be your top-seeded character from nerdom?