It’s that time of year again – that time when I show that maybe I haven’t completely processed *all* the anger I built up over the course of a decade on the academic job market. That’s right, it’s time for the Bitterness Brackets!
For those new to this tradition, I pick a men’s NCAA tournament bracket (knowing almost nothing about the current state of college basketball) simply by picking against schools that rejected my application for a faculty position or as a student. This does not decide all the picks of course, so there are tie-breaker rules (see here for a full listing). Yes, the rules are capricious, opaque, and mean-spirited in some cases. No, I will not explain how I got them.
You can laugh at this all you like, but remember that the Bitterness Bracket is the only system ever to pick a 16-seed upsetting a 1-seed. It’s Science. Look it up.
It’s a year without a natural team to follow. Maryland (where my parents and grandparents attended school) imploded mid-season in what’s become an especially tough basketball conference. Pitt limped along, less embarrassingly than in the recent past, but was nowhere to be found by season’s end. Staring more directly into the mouth of madness, Georgetown lost 19 straight games at the end of the season. (EDIT: 21 straight games… yeesh…) I believe they may have been playing jai alai by mistake and the referees just didn’t have the heart to tell them to stop.
I am not cursed this year by the presence of LIU Brooklyn, a school that has never rejected me as a faculty member or as a student (I’ve never applied as either), and is perilously close to Camden Yards when tie-breakers come into play. LIU-
BrooklynThe Planet regularly makes the tournament by winning its conference tournament, and I assume its conference contains only them and three middle schools in Connecticut. But the system still leaves me committed to 15- and 16-seeds such as Jacksonville State, Norfolk State, Georgia State, and… hoo boy… the University of Delaware. The system also leaves me committed to Duke, which improves my bracket but renders me morally unfit by association.
Anyway, here are the brackets. Needless to say, they are already on fire but I am purging my rage and inching closer to ataraxia as well.