Tournament bracketing: A humbling experience for fans

If Shaquille O’Neal is the Big Aristotle, after witnessing the litany of upsets in this year’s NCAA tournament, I’m dubbing myself Lil’ Socrates.

Mirroring the thoughts of the Greek philosopher who said of his high level of intellectualism, “All I know is, I know nothing.”

This year’s version of March Madness has been more along the lines of March Mayhem.

It has driven me to do something that before the tourney began last week I could have never fathomed.

It led me to question my knowledge of the game of basketball and my skill to effectively analyze its talent.

I have been humbled. It’s somewhat like the guy who pulls all the shorties, but is then told by the one he considers wife material that she does not want him, not because his game is weak, but because he is ugly.

When I was around 12 or 13, my cousin Chavis nicknamed me ESPN.

I could spit statistics verbatim and without error, I took pride in my seemingly innate ability to see the end in the beginning.

I told people they were tripping when they said Carmelo was just as good if not better than Lebron.

I told people they were out of their minds if they thought T-Mac was a better player than Kobe.

I had a gift. All things considered, I was the source for insightful sports commentary.

I even started calling myself the “The Smart One” on WANM 90.5 FM’s “The Big Show.” Judging from my (still) undefeated record on the show’s challenge segment, that title too was well warranted.

I’m not just tooting my own horn. Every person on the show can tell you I know my stuff.

Nevertheless, like the great American folk heroes the G.I. Joes always said. “Knowing is half the battle.”

Soon after, I got too high up on my horse. I had to fall off.

When the tournament began, that’s when the feces, or at least my ego, hit the fan like never before.

First my Final Four pick and four seed in the Austin bracket Syracuse was beaten 60-57 by Vermont.

Vermont a team headlined by Taylor Coppenrath and some African dude whose name I couldn’t pronounce if you guaranteed me straight A’s for the rest of my college career.

But hey, three out of four ain’t bad right? That’s what I was thinking.

Then UCONN, with a roster full of McDonald’s All-Americans and Top 100’s, loses 65-62 in the last 25 seconds of the game to North Carolina State, a ten seed.

So now, I’m stressing like George W. Bush on Jeopardy. But I’m holding my head up because I could still get out of the weekend with a .500 record if Wake Forest takes care of business against West Virginia.

But who’s the most dangerous player on a basketball court? Yeah, you guessed it, the open white man. UWV hit more long-distance shots than a sniper in their thrilling 111-105 double overtime win over Wake Forest.

With no surviving Final Four picks left in the tournament after Oklahoma State got bounced. I’ve been left dumbfounded,perplexed if you will.Is it possible that I’m not the chosen one?

Nah. Never that. At least I didn’t bet money, like the millions of other broke losers that are soon to emerge. And all this does is put me in the same frame of mind as Socrates.

Nick Birdsong is a newspaper journalism student from Tampa. He can be reached at