(not only is the above ad deeply sexist, but it also suggests a vasectomy reversal might be the best way to watch the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight in relative peace and quiet)
It seems strange and a little contradictory, the way that college basketball’s image-makers gloss over its teenage churn and general feudo-corporate sketchiness in selling the college game as the tradition-friendly True Basketball alternative to the flashy, for-the-money and otherwise code-worded NBA. Sure, college basketball has plenty of history behind it, many dusty decades and all flavors of dated dominance and boxer-brief shorts and Lorenzo Charles-ian random instances of grace, but in the present it is pure chaos. None of this is a bad thing, really; it’s just that the thing as marketed is different than the thing as consumed.
But there is room for tradition within college basketball’s familiar anarchy. There are things that endure from year to year, graduating class to graduating class, consistent and persistent and true. There is the observation that Mike Krzyzewski looks like the puppet from the popular Saw series, which grows only more true with the years. And there is also the CSTBracket, which returns for its seventh year. That’s a feat matched in the NCAA Tournament field only by Minnesota big man Trevor Mbakwe, who played in his first college game when Bill Clinton was President. Time flies, in other words, but what endures, endures.
As in the past, there will probably be a prize of some sort, and as in the past I don’t really know what it will be yet. In the past, GC has generously offered an amusingly outdated basketball-related video game — I’m pretty sure last year’s grand champion received a copy of Eric Montross’s Know Your Limitations Hoops ’97 for TurboGrafx 16 — and I suppose my (oddly still-unredeemed) offer from a few years back to send a photo of myself wearing my Corliss Williamson jersey to the winner still stands. But the important thing is not the prize: the important thing is participating in a tradition that now stretches back years, and which offers all of us an opportunity not just to participate in a living part of college basketball history, but to be totally wrong about Belmont’s bracket-busting abilities in the exact same way we were last year.
This is what it’s all about, and what it has always been about. To join the bracket, go here. The League ID is 101646, the password is cstbracket, and history will be there with you, as you pick a hugely flawed bracket that will, more or less inevitably, still be more correct than mine.