It’s that time of year for me to lose another five bucks on a sport that I pay little attention to yet am socially obligated to follow for three weeks in March and April. To me, March Madness is always the same. Of course there are occasional surprising upsets, and some years are crazier than others, but in the end, the fan bases of sixty-seven teams go home disappointed. The whole charade is like a night at Colosseum: I pretend to have fun until reality strikes and I realize I’ve immersed myself in the lives of dozens of sweaty dudes.
This apathy has taken a toll on my brackets. Instead of looking at teams’ styles of play, strengths of schedule, and common opponents, I find myself simply taking my anger out at the teams that disappointed me the year before (fuck you, Villanova).
I will be boycotting March Madness this year. It’s overhyped and I’m terrible at it. We need another March/April-specific alternative to lose money on.
My eureka moment came during a
drunken argument simple inquiry while walking through the main green: “Which snow mound will be the last to melt on campus?” No need for 67 games; just countless piles of ice, salt, and dirt in a war of attrition against the sun.
I am overjoyed to present the first annual March Melting. Here are some previews to get you oriented:
Strengths: Good balance of dirt and salt, sheltered from wind and afternoon sun.
Weaknesses: Heavy weekend traffic of drunk college kids could pose a hazard.
March Madness Equivalent: Duke
Few piles can stand up to the prestige of the one on Wriston. Made up of snow from all around Wayland Arch, the mound has been a consistent presence this season, from the snowball fights and tackle football of the first snowstorm, to the sweltering 50-degree heat of March 12th.
The Early Favorite: Power St. parking lot
Strengths: Tremendous depth… and width.
Weaknesses: High sun exposure, set on top of asphalt.
March Madness Equivalent: Wisconsin
The Power St. Parking Lot pile got of to a
fiery outstanding start this season. The mound drew from immense area, leading to the creation of a new mountain range so large that the Brown Outdoor Club ran a weekend backpacking trip through it. However, the past week has been rough, as the asphalt base conducts heat much better than grass.
The Team with the Fundamentals: Metcalf Hall
Strength: Can defend the post better than any other pile.
Weakness: Prone to foul trouble.
March Madness Equivalent: Arizona
Meltcalf has had to struggle with the media’s “main-campus-bias” all year as contenders from Pembroke receive little attention. Regardless, this is a pile to watch out for. It has a great balance of shade and size and is well rounded, which is the most efficient shape for minimizing surface area and thus, sun exposure.
The Sleeper: Alleyway between and Wooley and Alumnae Hall
Strength: Extreme protection from sun.
Weakness: Small starting size.
March Madness Equivalent: Stephen F. Austin
Well out of reach from the sun, this pile could make a deep run through the month. Its scrappy style of play could knock off unsuspecting top-seeds.
The Stacked Undefeated Team: The Main Green
Weakness: The necessity to clear the snow out of the Main Green for spring weekend could pose a problem in the late stages of the tourney.
March Madness Equivalent: Aaron Harrison, Alex Poythress, Karl Towns, and Willie Cauley-Stein. (Kentucky’s entire starting lineup)
These guys have been the favorite all year. The average height of these piles is taller than that of any squad in the NBA. But who knows? It’s March melting and anything can happen.
The not made-out-of-snow Team : Kentucky
Strength: They literally can’t melt.
Weaknesses: The team only has a few great shooters, and there are times when players haven’t been aggressive on defense.
March Madness Equivalent: Kentucky
These guys have been the favorite all year. The average height of these players is taller than that of any squad in the NBA. But who knows? It’s March melting and anything can happen.
Images via Jackson Cantrell ’18 and via.