We let children make March Madness picks. Here are their brackets


As sportswriters, we recognize that mistakes come with the territory. Predictions on games, fantasy recommendations, draft evaluations, all come with a wide error band.

It comes with the job.

There is often criticism, sometimes along the lines of “a child could do a better job.”

Well, about that …

Some of the staff members here at SB Nation put that theory to the test, by sliding some blank brackets in front of some family members and asking them to submit their brackets.

Hilarity ensued.

S. Schofield, age 10

My daughter scoffs at the notion of a “Sheet of Integrity.” Instead, she filled out two brackets this year, one for her math class — where I assume some math lessons will be tied in — and another for our family bracket challenge.

If I recall correctly, she won that a season ago.

We first talked about the one she submitted for her math class which you can see below. That has a Final Four of Nebraska, Illinois, North Carolina, and South Carolina:

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Her reason for picking Nebraska? “Because that’s where Mommy grew up.”

What about picking Illinois? “Because that’s also where Mommy grew up.”

I am starting to come to a dark realization about my place around here …

What about picking Illinois to win? “Because I’ve been to Illinois, I just don’t remember it, but I’ve still been there.”

I then asked her about her bracket for the family challenge, shown below. In this set of picks she has a Final Four of Washington State, Kansas, Oakland, and Arizona, with the Wildcats winning it all:

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Washington State to the Final Four? “Because it sounds like Washington D.C., and Washington D.C. is where my aunt and uncle live.”

At this point I’m not quite sure she knows I exist.

Oakland to the Final Four as a 14 seed? “Because oak is a type of tree, and trees are in nature, and I like nature.”

Arizona to win it all? “Because A is the first letter of the alphabet, so it’s like ‘number one,’ you know?”

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Cohen, age 6

Cohen chose Colgate because “they have a C, the same as my name” and he chose South Carolina because “they have a crazy chicken!”

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Max, age 2

“It was fun clicking daddy’s phone”

Charlie, age 2

Making 63 decisions in one sitting proved impossible for this two-year-old. So over the course of roughly 12 hours, and a few redos, we made it to a champion.

Seeds and favorites went out the window almost immediately. That’s how you end up with a Final Four featuring two seven-seeds, a nine and a one. But to be honest, can’t argue with the process.

Washington State is going on an absolute historic run to win it all.

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After missing top-seed UNC who gets upset by Howard, Michigan State blitzes through the West. Why? “Go Green!” That’s my boy.

The only expected participant in the Final Four was Purdue, who narrowly dodged another upset by Saint Peter’s. He wen’t back and forth on that decision, likely because of Uncle Peter. But Purdue gets the win thanks to “Aunt Annie Rose goes there.”

“I like Peacocks. They lose.”

Florida’s run is the standard get hot at the right time situation. Is Nana currently in Florida, so that word is being used a lot this week? Sure, but that must be a coincidence.

Finally, the absolute surprise and total dark horse Washington State. There is no familiar ties to Pullman.

“I like Cougars.”

J. Dator, age 7

When it comes to my daughter’s bracket the one thing I learned from here is that nothing, and I mean nothing beats a dragon. Which is why UAB and stunning the world and cutting down the nets.

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It took two rounds for her to remember that UAB’s logo is a dragon — and at that point every single round was “dragon wins.” Now, I will say she really struggled in the Sweet 16 because she also loves huskies, but dragons are still better.

I was a little mystified why she was leaning so hard into Duke. I mean, we live in North Carolina so there’s not a lot of positive Duke talk in our circles. I figured maybe she had a friend who really liked Duke, or some other explanation why.

“Bush’s baked beans,” she quipped when I asked why she was so in on Duke. I realized she was talking about Duke the dog from the bean commercials.

bean dog

Bean Dog

We’re approaching easter, and we’re catholic — so I guess the deep Saint Peter’s run makes sense. She’s been thinking about religion a lot lately. We don’t really force it on her, but she is counting the days until she can have soda again, because she gave it up for lent along with “going to Disneyland,” which is impressive considering we have not gone to Disneyland, nor do we have immediate plans to go to Disneyland. I respect hustling god like that.

The most important thing about this bracket to my daughter: “If this bracket wins, I get the money.”

Go UAB.



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