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Busted!: A Degenerate’s Descent Into Madness During the NCAA Basketball Championship Game

While the NCAA title game was nerve-racking for almost everyone, it was especially so for this one fan.

My therapist says that I am a “compulsive gambler that has problems with control”, and in an attempt for me to realize the errors of my ways (or something), she suggested that I keep a running diary of a day in which this issue affected my life. She said that it might help me to realize the extent of my problem.

I don’t think I have a problem. 

But with that being said, here is my diary entry from April 3, 2017: The day of the NCAA Basketball Championship game.

9:47 AM on April 3, 2017

I’m at my desk and I can’t sit still. I check my fantasy baseball team. It’s Opening Day, and I want to get off to a good start, but frankly I couldn’t care less. I have bigger things on my mind.

In a little under nine hours, Gonzaga and the University of North Carolina will be playing for the NCAA Basketball National Championship.

They will also be playing for my livelihood. For, if Gonzaga wins tonight, I stand to take home more than $1,400 dollars. Which is great, because I need that $1,400 for rent this month, and I’m already two days late.

That might not seem like much to some people, but it most definitely is for me. I make $9/hr. as a forever underemployed intern for a failing startup, and I’ve been here for nearly two years. For eight hours a day, my brain slowly melts while I pour over spreadsheets, copying-and-pasting letters and numbers that begin to mesh into one another by about this time.

To prevent my mind from turning into some sort of viscous soup, I spend every free second I have pouring over sports statistics. Because of this, I would say I know a lot about sports. Because I think this, I have lost and won a lot of money betting on sports.

And I mean a lot.

That’s why I’m writing this.


Maybe I do have a problem.

I spent the past twenty minutes checking my bracket to make sure I had Gonzaga winning it all. I did. I knew I did.

I was the only one who picked Gonzaga to even get this far. Why was I the only one in my bracket who had Gonzaga winning it all? Because I’m better I guess.

Did my cohorts even look at KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin? Gonzaga posted at 32.66! That was more than two points better than any other team in the country, and one of the best in the past 15 years!  I can’t even do that on NCAA March Madness 2007.


So what’s the exact situation you may ask? Well, let me tell you.

I’m currently sitting at 1060 points in my bracket challenge. Four UNC-pickers trail not so close behind me, but close enough that if UNC comes home with the W tonight, I not only fall out of first, but I would drop all the way to fifth.

Essentially, I could go from winning more than 1,000 big ones to losing the $100 that I originally put in.

I had to pawn my autographed Adam Morrison jersey to cover the costs. I like to think he would’ve wanted it this way.

12:23 PM

Would I say I’m confident in my selection? Of course.

I’m sure the four wannabe bracket champs trailing me picked UNC based on name recognition. Sure, they ranked high in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, but does Jeff from accounting know that? Highly unlikely.

Whereas, I poured through the data analyzing game trends, luck factors, and ball bounces (little known fact: Gonzaga leads the country in kisses off the glass from between four and eight feet). I mean, did anyone else watch the Zags dismantle St. Mary’s three times?


Jeff from accounting walked past my cubicle loudly talking about the new boat he’s thinking about buying.

No, Jeff. You’re not going to use my winnings to buy a stupid boat. That’s my stupid boat.

Oh wait… that whole rent business.


As I walk around the office, all I see is Carolina blue. Whether this is a sign or a coincidence or nothing, I don’t know.

My therapist says that when I feel like I’m not in control of a situation, I revert to identifying signs and attributing patterns to things where there aren’t any. Maybe this is one of those times.


I swear I just saw a school bus that was light blue! That has got to mean something! Does that mean the Tar Heels are going to take them to school?


Get out of the way, blue minivan! Don’t you know there’s a game about to start? 


My therapist also asked me to keep track of whenever I experience anger while driving.


Finally home with about twenty minutes to spare.


What is Aerosmith doing there? Did Steven Tyler even go to college?

Follow up question: Did they even have colleges back then?


Is that the drug dealer from Moonlight?


Wait, Moonlight played college basketball? I had no idea.


My mom always said I talk a lot when I’m nervous does that extend to typing as well?


Siri, what does ‘Gonzaga’ mean?


But are they healthy?…Gonzaga had a couple of scary moments in the Final Four game”, the announcer says.


Mark Few says they’re okay. **Raised hands emoji**


Joel Berry II says to Roy Williams that he’s feeling 80%. **20% raised hands emoji**


Meet the teams”? Come on, what kind of plebians are watching this game that we need to “meet the teams”?


The Chainsmokers and Coldplay has got to be the single worst set of two groups you could ever put together to make a song. Maybe second only to Nickelback and the Hitler Youth Choir?


UNC leads Gonzaga 2-0. I’m going to have a heart attack. I’m frantically looking up the Zags’ record when the opposing team scores first.


No data found.


Does Kennedy Meeks think he’s Dirk? He shot over 60% from inside the key this year and he’s shooting one-footed fadeaways. I’m not complaining though.


Zach Collins will be WCC Player of the year next year. Mark it down. That 14 point, 13 rebound, six block game against South Carolina confirmed it. As if averaging 10 points per game on 65% shooting on a National championship team as a freshman left any doubt.


Charles Barkley putting his snack in his reverse hooded sweatshirt. I invented that when I was four! I have the pictures to prove it.


Gonzaga currently has +9 rebounding margin late in the first half. The three times UNC has been outrebounded, they are 0-3. UNC had the best rebounding margin in the country at +12.3 per game, but Gonzaga ranked 12th this season in the stat this season. I know that it’s a cliche’, but whoever wins the rebounding battle will probably win this game.


Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins has 13 points. When he has more than 10, the Zags win by an average of more than 21 points per game.


Gonzaga leads 35-32 at Halftime. If neither team scores again, I should be okay.



After halftime nachos, and a third beer to calm my nerves, there are back-to-back turnovers to start the half. I won’t last another 19:32. 

Surprisingly, despite Gonzaga’s uber-efficient offense, they rank just 46th in turnovers per game. While still very good, Gonzaga did not excel in this category as they did some of the others.


Three fouls on Collins and Williams. Put me out of my misery.


Now, four fouls on Collins. The future WCC Player of the Year is letting me down.


The Zags’ Przemec Karnowski has missed seven shots inside of four feet. He shot almost 59% from the field this year, and he can’t buy a bucket.


There have been 21 total fouls in this second half with more than eight minutes to play, and three knocks on my door from my neighbor asking if I’m okay


So now you can make up fouls on replays? I’m saying the fix is in. I’m blaming Russia. No matter what, I will not accept these results.


My nails are nonexistent.


You know, despite all the research and all the stats, I guess you sometimes forget that these players are humans, with human aches and pains (I’m looking at you Nigel Williams-Goss’ ankles), and all the numbers in the world don’t always paint the whole picture.


Well, it’s all over folks. Goodbye cruel world. Goodbye cruel roommate. I never liked you anyway. My parents’ house is much nicer anyway.

Enjoy your stupid boat, Jeff.

Edited by Joe Sparacio.

How many NCAA basketball national championships has the University of North Carolina won?
Created 4/5/17
  1. Six
  2. Eight
  3. Five
  4. Four

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