Thursday, March 20, 2008

Alma mater matters for March Madness

If you're seeing a spike in 30- and 40-somethings at the office wearing their college T shirts and sweatshirts, chances are the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournament is underway.

What's interesting about college basketball's postseason (which also includes the NIT, NAIA, JuCo and others) is that the competition lasts for several weeks, 65 teams vying for the national championship. Which means at the start of the tournament, there are a variety of rooters, from alums to office pool players filling out their tournament brackets.

Perhaps you have seen your share of bracket forms, and maybe you have the method to the Madness, the clairvoyance to pick 'em all. That probably takes a little research and a lot of luck to correctly predict the winners of more than 30 games.

Or, if you're a real bottom-liner who follows the height of college hoops action (not unlike those who prefer the final two minutes of NBA playoff games), try this basketball bracket. Select your Final Four, the finalists and the winner. I promise you will not lose your shirt over it. In fact, you might win one if you enter.

All I know is, from my limited experience in trying to pick winners, someone else takes home the kitty, and likely the bragging rights that match his/her sweatshirt.

To that end, here are some Style Points on college wear in the workplace during March Madness:

  • Proudly wear the sweatshirt of your alma mater (or favorite team) on the first day of the tournament. Your coworkers probably already know where you went to school, so it's cool. (In corporate environments, a golf shirt version on dress-down Friday, or a lapel pin with a tie that represents your school colors makes for a subtle ensemble.)

  • If your team is winning, no need to rub it in. The sweatshirt does the talking.

  • If your team is eliminated, you are subject to inevitable ribbing, which may get worse if you take the sweatshirt off before the shift is over.

  • No Style Points are awarded to upset winners who did not wear their gear until after the game.

    Not least ... my Final Four picks? Hmm ... North Carolina, Kansas, Stanford, UCLA. Winner: UCLA.
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