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POINT: Filling out a bracket is the best part about March Madness


PointCounterpointCounterpoint: Read why sports editor Justin Janssen thinks brackets ruin tournament fun.

Every year on what has been dubbed "Selection Sunday," sports fans across the country are clamoring for the NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket to be released. Fans both casual and committed wait to see where their favorite teams will end up, or just watch for the thrill of the process.

The most integral part of this process is filling out your own bracket. It's up to you to pick a unique and accurate bracket, with the hope of eventual perfection, using whatever advice the website you're on provides and combining it with your own judgment.

RyanClarke3-17Unfortunately for literally everyone who fills out a bracket, it's impossible to be perfect, and you will likely want to tear your bracket in half or toss your laptop in a lake by the time the tournament is over.

But that's what is so great about the tournament.

Sports themselves are emotionally evocative –– that's why so many people watch and support sports teams with a passion that is nearly unparalleled. Filling out a bracket every March provides basketball fans with a rooting interest in the tournament, whether their school is in it or not.

If the team or teams that the fan who filled out a bracket is rooting for go down in epic fashion, whether it be in the form of an upset or otherwise, that provokes emotion. If a total shmuck wins his office pool tournament, he's elated, but his coworkers are likely fuming with rage. That's pure emotion.

Filling out a bracket is an essential part of the tournament experience. For one reason or another, however, many people choose not to fill one out, claiming that it takes away from the amazing events that occur in the tournament.

That's just patently false.

If anything, filling out a bracket enhances the experience of watching March Madness games, providing an activity that makes you feel like you're personally involved in the action.

Filling out a bracket has always been my way of getting involved with the tournament. Growing up an Oregon fan, their basketball team was never in contention for a spot in the tourney until the last couple of years. Being a student at ASU, I know that it's no coincidence that "Arizona State University" has the same number of words as "National Invitational Tournament" or "Second Round Bounce."

Those two reasons, along with the fact that I want to write about sports for a living, are enough for me to voraciously fill out multiple brackets every year. I know that there's no way I'll get everything right, but the meticulous nature of picking each and every matchup and possible matchup is enticing.

Whether you decide to fill out a bracket or not, there is also something about that "One Shining Moment" video after the national championship that sends shivers down your spine. The NCAA tournament is the greatest spectacle in amateur sports, filled with shock and awe.

Filling out your own bracket just makes it that much better.

Reach the columnist at rclarke6@asu.edu or follow @RClarkeASU on Twitter.

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