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The Joy of Being So Very Wrong: March Madness2 min read

Cody Stack, MBA Class of 2016

I have a system. Highlighters by my side, multiple tabs open, I pore through pages and pages of statistics. Every year, I repeat the process, building on past mistakes. I waiver back and forth, weighing risks in an attempt to optimize returns. If only I were this diligent with my school work.

And yet, despite all of my effort, I fail. Every. Single. Year.

I am of course talking about my experience during the most wonderful time of the year – March Madness. It’s the only time when television in the middle of the work day is somewhat acceptable. When college students are measured not by their character or grades, but by their ability to collectively move a ball. And when being completely wrong is still supremely fun. You can bring all of the statistics and research to the table and it likely won’t help you with your bracket selections. But that doesn’t make it any less fun.

As of this writing, after the first weekend of play, my bracket is already busted. My champion is out. All of my upset picks were wrong. The piece of paper that I’ve carried around for the last four days is covered in pink highlighter. But I am still loving it. I have email chains bouncing around with my high school friends, with my college friends, and you may have seen me posting in the Stern Facebook groups repeatedly before Spring Break. March Madness is about coming together. It’s about celebrating our collective futility in predicting basketball games. It is truly a bonding experience. Why not print out your very own championship bracket sheet through sites like It’s all about taking part and having fun, especially if you are a basketball fan. Other than printing out brackets, us basketball fans find alternative ways to have fun and take part, including in the form of betting! Basketball lovers, and other sports fans, are causing things like Indiana Sports Betting Apps to blow up; what’s more exciting than winning after placing a bet on your favourite team!

This year, the Stern Basketball Association (affecbballtionately known by the Office of Student Engagement as “Hoops”) held its first annual Stern March Madness Charity Challenge. We had about thirty entrants, a third of whom have already lost their champion team. The best part of this contest though is that half of the proceeds will be donated to the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research – an initiative inspired by former college basketball icon Jim Valvano. I hope that this bracket challenge lives on at Stern, to raise money for an important cause and to bring our community a little bit closer as we physically separate around the world (#SpringBreak). Because what’s more important at Stern than creating lasting relationships, having a positive impact on the world, and investing money in improbable gambles in the hopes of generating returns?

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