(WRONG BRACKET! GODDAMN ART DEPT.)
Things change. Six years ago, when the CSTBracket started, John Calipari was a coach with a talented roster and some Shout-proof gravy stains on his reputation, Michigan State was a topsoil-dull title contender defined by a feels-like-getting-a-headache style and a bunch of chunky elbow-tossing 6-8 forwards, and Duke was regarded as both typically loathsome and unusually flawed. But look at us now, living in a future in which which CSTBracket VI now officially a thing, wondering how things such as those described above could ever have been true. Funny old world and so on.
But yes. Yes, because it is March and because one of the internet’s most storied sporting traditions isn’t going to go away just because Colorado somehow won the Pac-12, CSTBracket VI is here, and if it’s not quite better than ever, it’s at least worth mentioning that you will no longer have to try not to win because you don’t want me to send you a photograph of myself in a Corliss Williamson jersey or some gross shorts. This year, this time, please feel free to pick without fear, because the actual prize — a selection of premium-grade 12XU swag, courtesy of GC — is an actual prize, in the sense that it consists of things that are actually desirable. As opposed to the Turbo Grafx16 “Vernon Maxwell’s Howling Mad Hoopz” cartridges and Patrick O’Bryant rookie cards that have traditionally been our prizes. This year, in other words, you’ll win more than bragging rights if you win. Although anyone bragging about finishing ahead of GC or me in a NCAA bracket contest hasn’t paid much attention to previous CSTBracket outcomes.
So: your window to enjoyable frustration and predictive inadequacy is here; it’s a public league, and as such there’s no password. I will be the person overrating Belmont for reasons I can’t explain without drugs or alcohol. You will be a few slots ahead of me. In that sense, not much has changed.