How to Enjoy March Madness When Your Bracket is Busted

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 Kirk Irwin / Getty Images

The office shredder is next to the printer.

You remember the printer. It's the machine you walked away from last Monday with this year's NCAA bracket in hand, full of hope and confidence that this was going to be your year. The year Sylvia in sales was going down and you were finally going to own the office March Madness pool.

But just a week later, your bracket is busted, your confidence is shot, and you're standing over the shredder, wondering when Fantasy Baseball starts. You're not alone. More than 99 percent of March Madness brackets were busted over the weekend thanks to upsets by rabid underdogs like UAB, Michigan State, NC State, and UCLA.

But with failure comes freedom. Now you can watch the games in peace. No pressure. No more degenerate binge-watching of games; no more hanging on every possession on every channel, on every app, and every available live stream. No rumpled sheets of sweat-stained picks to stare at during dinner with the game flickering in the background. You are a free man, unchained from March Madness. Here are four ways to get yourself through the rest of the tournament now that you have no real rooting interest in it anymore.


Start scouting the NBA Draft
If your NBA team sucks right now (we’re looking at you, Sixers, Knicks, and Lakers fans), use this opportunity to get a good look at the talent on the floor. Keep an eye on Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, and Arizona’s Stanley Johnson, all of whom are likely to turn in deep runs as they guide their schools through the tournament before bouncing to the NBA in a few months. You can say you knew about their talents first.

Not an NBA fan? Maybe it's time to get off the couch, go outside, and start training for that adventure race you've been talking about doing for the last two years. 

Troll your friends, loved ones, strangers, etc.
Unless you went there, you probably hate Duke. Or maybe John Calipari makes you want to put your fist through your TV. Or maybe Iowa State destroyed your bracket (again). Embrace the hate. Root against the teams and coaches and players you can’t stand — openly and in public. Post snarky, hate-filled feelings on Twitter. You may not have a rooting interest left that’s going to win you any money, but you can sure as hell take all that energy, turn it into something negative, and let your hate flag fly.

Then again, why not curse at a golf ball instead of the TV? It's officially spring, so hit the range, knock the rust off your swing, and really take your golf game to the next level.

Fall in love all over again
This is your chance to find a team you like for any number of reasons. Maybe you like their uniforms, their colors, the way they play the game, maybe there is a storyline you are drawn to, maybe they knocked out your ex-girlfriend's school and now you adore them. Maybe your alma mater is still standing and it's time to break out the old sweatshirt. Or maybe your wife's school is still going strong. Root for them. Hard. Because hey, you can watch the games together, you’ve actually got something in common, and maybe, if you play your cards right, you can get in on the action.

Or maybe the person you to need to love is yourself. Start getting in shape for summer now (and maybe lose some of that unwanted hair.) She'll thank you for it. 

Drown your sorrows (in beer)
Booze got plenty of Civil War soldiers through leg amputations, so a little potent punch will easily get you through the excruciating pain of watching the tournament after your bracket is shredded. So play the March Madness drinking game. Take the edge off by taking a shot every time Charles Barkley insults someone or the officials are criticized or the word "Cinderella" is uttered. Television coverage of the NCAA Tournament has become a caricature of itself, so flip over that broken bracket sheet and sketch out some new rules that will help you get through these games with a load on.

Or, instead of keeping Coors in business this month, prepare for grilling season. Go outside, clean your rig, and get ready for some quality time with your two friends: meat and fire.