My Tournament Bracket Is Busted to Shit, and Now I Just Want the World to Burn

Illustration for article titled My Tournament Bracket Is Busted to Shit, and Now I Just Want the World to Burn
Photo: Kevin C. Cox (Getty Images)

I probably watched less college basketball this year than I ever have. Actually, “probably” is unnecessary. That is definitely true. For someone as obsessed with basketball as I am, this might seem odd. But I have a few perfectly rational reasons for this lack of viewership:

  1. The second draft of my book is due soon, which means that some days I’m working from 9:30 a.m.-ish to 5 p.m.-ish (on VSB stuff) and then from 9 p.m.-ish to 2 a.m.-ish (on book stuff).
  2. The team that’s usually my favorite to watch (the University of Pittsburgh) might have been the worst team in major Division I basketball this year.
  3. I’m playing basketball three times a week now.
  4. My nephew is the starting point guard for his high school team, and I’ve been to several of his games.

Anyway, I’ve watched enough to have a general idea of who is good, and I know enough to know who the top NBA prospects are. So when I filled out my bracket this year, I went with Arizona—the team that has the best NBA prospect (DeAndre Ayton) and three other players (Rawle Alkins, Dusan Ristic and maybe Allonzo Trier) who might be in the league.

And then Arizona got blown the fuck out.

Usually, when a lower seed beats a high seed that’s thought to be a title contender, it’s because the lower-seeded team shot the lights out. Or the higher-seeded team couldn’t hit shit. Or maybe the game showed that the teams were actually a bit more equal than the seeds would suggest. But Buffalo beat Arizona like they were a No. 1 seed and Arizona was a 16. They didn’t just beat them. They punked them. In the last five minutes of the game, Arizona just gave up. It was such a display that even though it ruined my bracket, I was rooting for Buffalo to run up the score.

And now, the day after that—and the day after Trae Young was knocked out, too—I want everyone’s brackets to be as fucked as mine is. I want UMBC to beat Virginia and Bucknell to spank Michigan State. I want Charleston to do the Charleston on y’all’s brackets’ grills. I want to see Texas Southern and Trae Jefferson (my new favorite player in college basketball) in the championship game.

(Also, if you have a minute, watch these clips of Jefferson in high school. You won’t be disappointed.)

Before Arizona lost, I was normal and well-adjusted Damon. I was Damon with dreams and goals and a savings account. I was Damon who intentionally ate some kale yesterday because I knew I needed something green in my system. I was Damon who just really enjoyed a comfortable pair of socks.

Now I just want anarchy. I want all brackets busted. I want the world to burn.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



This perfectly encapsulates my feelings when I saw that bit of news. Going from 0 to Killmonger seems about right. Goddammit Arizona!

In my defense, I know next to nothing about college basketball. Now it’s up to bracket #2 to restore my equilibrium.