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Bernstein: Shut Up About Your Brackets

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NCAA Tournament. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

NCAA Tournament. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Dan-Bernstein Dan Bernstein
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since...
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By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com Senior Columnist

(CBS) I know. Three of your Final Four teams are already out, your chances of winning blown up after two rounds. Or you have fourteen of the Sweet Sixteen. Great.

Can I just go in and get my coffee, and then walk back down the hall? Can I go, maybe, after you explain that you were sure some school was destined to win because your brother went there? I understand that you picked that upset. Congratulations. No, I did not remember that you almost won the pool last year. You have that “system” you use, right. I do not know when the updated points-standings will be posted by the copier. And yes, you hate Duke. You and everybody.

I’ll get the coffee later. I don’t think I want it anymore.

Every year around this time, some consulting firm or another releases its unscientific study that estimates the decline in American office productivity due to the attention paid to the NCAA Tournament. They attempt to quantify man-hours and dollars lost by businesses as employees track their teams, sneak peeks at games and linger in the break room.

What we need, really, is a study that can measure precisely how much of our lives are wasted listening to you talk about the current condition of your brackets. Time we will never get back, precious minutes shot to hell, our very existence lessened palpably by you saying things like, “I was going to take Missouri in that one, but I didn’t,” “I had them in the Elite Eight in my other pool,” or, “I need Syracuse to lose tonight.”

There are few conversations that switch the healthy human brain into standby mode faster than your descriptions of which games you have so far called correctly. Tales of your golf game, your miserable fantasy team and even your stupid dog all finish behind your brackets in making me want to get away from you as quickly as possible.

At least when I’m watching TV or listening to the radio I can change the channel or turn it off. No such luck this week when you’re standing in front of me outside the bathroom, and I’m forced to affect a polite expression of feigned interest while my mind drifts to the nearest safe harbor it can find.

Ideally, we could actually talk basketball. That’d be nice.

Perhaps there’s a kid on a team you’ve seen a few times who might be playing his way up the NBA draft board, and he has an interesting defensive matchup in the second round. I’d like to hear about that. Let’s discuss whether a given 2-3 zone is more vulnerable to high/low action or ball-reversal after a good skip pass. We can speculate which coach is leaving to go where, debate substitution patterns, compare cheerleading squads or make fun of the broadcasters.

And I’m happy to talk about the brackets – the real ones – the ones where the name of the winning team is advanced onto the next line after the buzzer. Either tonight after they come out, or any time as the festivities go on. Those matter.

Yours, however, do not.

Best of luck with the pretend tournament on your sheet, but leave the rest of us out of it. I can’t go weeks without coffee.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Shut Up About Your Brackets
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s columns here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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