The Five Stages of Bracket Grief

  1. Denial and Isolation: “What? Duke lost? No way. That’s got to be wrong.”
  2. Anger: “Damnit! Why the Hell did I pick them in the Final Four anyway!? Coach K did this on purpose to mess with me!”
  3. Bargaining: If only I’d factored in Duke’s ten-year PASE and watched a few more of their games.”
  4. Depression: “Aw, what’s the use? I’ll never figure out this stupid bracket thing.”
  5. Acceptance: “Oh well, crazy sh*t happens. Where’s that link to the round-by-round challenge?”
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19 Responses to The Five Stages of Bracket Grief

  1. Mike L. says:

    WOW! Nobody has replied to this. This has to be the biggest upset of all.

    This is comedic genius from a bracket genius. Come on Bracketscience Community. I’m starting to think you guys only like Pete for his models and his spreadsheet.

    I’ve got your back, Pete. Top-notch post.

    • ptiernan says:

      Thanks Mike. You’ve got to keep your sense of humor. Our bracket fate is in the hands of 19 year olds.

      • larry k says:

        depression? DEPRESSION???? you dont KNOW depression unless you had VCU on the money line and watched some kid foul on a 3-pt with a 4 point lead and less than 10 seconds left……….

        THATS depression……………..

        a worse Bad Beat i cannot imagine….. thankfully, it did NOT happen to me….

        but what if????????????/

        • Mike L. says:

          How about 2004 Final Four game between dook and CONN. Spread was -2.5 CONN. Chris Duhon heaved a half-court shot at the end of regulation to take a 4pt win down to 1pt. Lot of money changed hands on that one.

          • larry k says:

            Ya, that was bad, but at least it wasnt some player forgetting what you are taught from mite-basketball… four point lead, get the hell away from the ball….

            absolute travesty

    • Gary Diny says:

      Seeing as how I am still in the denial and isolation stage….just now coming out of that isolation.

      I took 4 Duke players in a player points pool. It is a snake draft, generally need to find a team that can make a deep run and load up on those players to get the max number of games. Won it last year with the Louisville (Russ Smith, Harrell, Behenan, Hancock). Had Parker, Cook, Hood and Dawkins. That was $50 down the crapper.

      • larry k says:

        that sounds like an interesting pool… would you mind emailing me with info on how it works, i might be tempted to run one next year…

        larry k (

        • Gary Diny says:


          It is pretty basic. However many people are in the player pool, this year we had 12, other years have been up to 16 (I think). Draw for draft position….scraps of paper with a number written on it. Snake draft for a as many rounds as is agreed upon (for some reason it has been 5 rounds which screws the later people picking). Pool is points scored and nothing more. Payout for highest drafted team score and highest individual point scorer (half the pot payout each). Someone just needs to have a list of the top scorers (5-6) for the top 1-6 seeds and top 3-4 scorers for the rest of the seeds. We pick during the first few games on Thursday, and the opening round game points count.

          • larry k says:

            thanks gary, does sound interesting… but if i do it, it will have to be possible online… maybe some kinda chat website..
            this year i ran a ‘flavor’ of the crazy eights pool, and most people are very into it… basically divide up the 64 teams into four groups (top 2 seeds, next 2 seeds, seeds 5-7, all rest seeds) and have people select ANY 2 they want from each group.. then award points each time one of your teams wins… points vary by group and round of win…
            entrants seem to like it because you dont have to predict each and every game in the tourney, only the ones that involve the teams you pick (or like)….

            gonna try some variant of yours next year.. thanks!

  2. B D says:

    Most brackets in my pool did not pick Duke, so the Pop that was heard around my pool was more like a pindrop. Seems the league has gotten smarter a lot wrt Duke. Go with them when they have 2-3 stud seniors and a couple of Top 5 shooting freshmen/soph phenoms that everyone has heard about.

    Still laughing hard about #1-#5 especially #5 :)

  3. Paul says:

    Forgive me for I am in stage 3.
    Pete, have you ever factored in location, time of game, time zone changes, wether its the 1st game or did they just watch an upset happen 20 minutes before tipoff? I am thinking there may be some science to back up some of the intangibles that can sway 19 year old men. Give me something man….this is tough tourney.


    • Bullets-and-Blazers!!! says:

      Is “they” you mean the selection committee? Well, I can help you a little bit. That upset on Duke should not come to surprise (check their schedule and you’ll see that they suffer bad losses and a very narrow win in Vermont). In 2012, they suffered a bad lost in UMiami (they had no answer to Reggie Johnson attacking the rim). And guess what? Just like in 2012, they rank in the 200th on defense. I saw how Duke played, and Rodney Hood is freaking sissy when it comes to defense (he gets away when an opposing big man head to attack the rim). I originally penciled Mercer over Duke but was discouraged by the experts (namely Andy) to make me reconsider (thinking that Duke will slow down Mercer’s guard like they did to Michigan). Well, not going to cry about not picking it (although I wanted to correctly pick 14 over 3 or 15 over 2), but Duke did show weakness during the season. From now on, if you see a team rank in the 200th whether it is offense or defense, do not pencil them beyond the sweet sixteen. Analyza which team will boot them out (Dayton defeated both 200th rank team on offense in OSU and Syracuse).

      And then there are idiots that make stupid decision in VCU and NC State. That, you cannot predict.

      • Andy says:

        Good thing to remember in the future! Had I known that I never would have taken Duke very far (I also didn’t know that about Syracuse and Ohio State, but I already knew I was taking Dayton anyway). The Midwest is still the goofiest region to me. It makes me feel better though about taking Arizona to the championship…and losing to Michigan State.

        • Bullets-and-Blazers!!! says:

          Down to 3 Final Four. I saw the 1 wichita vs 8 Kentucky. Wichita had them beat, they step back on defense in the final 7 minutes. I would prefer that they gave Early or Baker on the last shot but oh well. Now it is time to hear stupid headlines like “they got shocked” or “they shocked the nation”. Aside from that, I am heading to do the second-chance bracket and hope to win something there. I like Arizona too, though I did picked Florida but with small confidence.

  4. Bullets-and-Blazers!!! says:

    Not me, and so far, all my Final Four pick are still on the field. One of my rule did not break. All powerhouse conference champ advance to atleast the round of 32. This year are five powerhouse champ:

    1 Virginia – ACC champ [passed]
    1 Florida – SEC champ [passed]
    3 Iowa State – Big12 champ [passed]
    4 Michigan State – Big Ten champ [passed]
    4 UCLA – Pac-12 champ [passed] (inspite of “snakebit” Steve Alford)

    Now, about that back-to-back Final Four appearance. From 2013, these were your Final Four -> Syracuse, Michigan, Louisville, and Wichita State. Syracuse is eliminated. So for the remaining list, who is the favoirte to make the run? I still like Wichita State, but Michigan might actually have a shot. No, and I won’t consider Louisiville. Outside of Russ Smith and Harrell, who else is consistent? Hancock numbers has lower from last season. If they face Michigan (IF), expect them force Louisville defense to spread thin because they can’t defend both Glenn Robinson III and Nik Staukas with that current lineup.

    • larry k says:

      i sure hope you are right Pete, as i have TENN moving on, and a michigan loss here makes more than several entries in my pool bite the dust…………

      interesting that they are such a small dog to michigan in vegas…

  5. Dee says:

    Goodness, on a high, 1st in one pool and 3rd in another so far, that TN win is doing it for me, also have them over Mich, which will keep me in contention.

    FL, AZ, Mich St, Lousiville in final 4. Still worried about Lousiville only.


    • ptiernan says:

      The way Tennessee played tonight, they’ll give a finesse team like Michigan trouble.

      • larry k says:

        i sure hope you are right Pete, as i have TENN moving on, and a michigan loss here makes more than several entries in my pool bite the dust…………

        interesting that they are such a small dog to michigan in vegas…

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