Your NCAA Tournament bracket looks like a slice of 10-day old Swiss cheese that wasn’t refrigerated.
Your neighbor’s 11-year-old daughter, picking her bracket based on mascots, is in first place.
Your buddies are claiming they had South Carolina upsetting Duke, and 11th-seeded Xavier dismantling Florida State by 25 points in Florida.
Of course, they neglected to submit that bracket.
Yes, March can be a maddening and humbling ride.
But it also can provide the memories of a lifetime. The Knicks know this as well as any basketball fan.
The Knicks roster includes 10 players that have competed in the NCAA Tournament, four that have combined to win five NCAA titles, one that helped put a college program on the map, and another that anchored one of just eight No. 15 seeds that upset a No. 2.
“It’s something you never forget,’’ said forward Lance Thomas, who played in four NCAA Tournaments and helped Duke win the 2010 title. “Winning it all is great, but it’s the relationships you remember. Your coaches, your teammates, the work and sacrifice to be a part of something bigger than you. That’s what I’ll remember.’’
Thomas has a teammate he can console with today. The No. 2-seeded Blue Devils were upset 88-81 by No. 7 seed South Carolina on Sunday. Marshall Plumlee was a captain on Duke’s 2015 team that won coach Mike Krzyzewski his fifth national title.
The Gamecocks, along with No. 3 Baylor, No. 4 Florida and No. 8 Wisconsin will play this weekend at The Garden for the right to go to the Final Four.
South Carolina lost to Seton Hall in The World’s Most Famous Arena earlier this season. Star Sindarious Thornwell was suspended for that game for a violation of athlete department policy.
Within moments of leading the Gamecocks to their first Sweet 16 appearance ever, Thornwell summed up what March is all about.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play in The Garden,’’ he said.
In March, dreams come true.
They came true for center Joakim Noah. Noah, Al Horford and Corey Brewer were the cornerstones of the 2006-07 Florida teams that won back-to-back national titles. They are the last team to do so.
“You’re standing on the podium and their playing ‘One Shining Moment,’ and it’s really emotional because you know how hard it was to accomplish,’’ said Noah, who was the Most Outstanding Player (MOP) of the 2006 Final Four.
“Everyone thought we were going pro after we won it the first time. But the feeling of togetherness we had on that team with each other and with coach [Billy] Donovan, we wanted to experience that again. Every March, when I see a team win it, I know that feeling.’’
So does Carmelo Anthony, who led Syracuse to its national championship in 2003. Anthony had 33 points in a win over Texas in the semifinals, a record for a freshman. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the championship game victory over Kansas, earning him MOP honors.
“There’s no way to overstate what Carmelo did for our program,’’ Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “When you win it, you join an elite fraternity.
“And for Carmelo, it was never about him. When he won it, he said, ‘This is for you coach.’ I didn’t need to win it, but after that, I didn’t have to listen to all you guys asking me about not having won it. So that was good.
“Carmelo is one of the most loyal people I know. Without him, we don’t have the practice facility we have now. He’s a great talent and a great team player. Every one of the Olympic team loves him.’’
You see a cauldron of emotion in March. Players crumple to the court in tears when a season has ended. Coaches get showered with water sprayed from bottles in jubilant locker rooms.
Belief. Disbelief. Relief.
“When we went to the Final Four, it was such a unique experience because no one outside of Wichita really knew us or knew what to make of us,’’ said Knicks rookie point guard Ron Baker, who helped the Shockers to the 2013 Final Four.
“People didn’t know where Wichita was or what conference we played in, but we had each other. That’s what a team is all about: your teammates, your coaches, all the guys in the locker room. We believed in each other and we played for each other. That’s the best feeling you can experience as an athlete.’’
Baker’s Shockers almost went on another NCAA run. They were edged, 65-62 by Kentucky on Sunday. But because of the foundation that Baker’s teams laid, no one asked the Shockers the location of Wichita.
Reserve center Kyle O’Quinn can empathize with Baker. He was the man in the middle that led No. 15 seed Norfolk State to a stunning 86-84 upset of No. 2 seed Missouri in 2012.
Missouri was the ranked third in the nation going into the tournament. O’Quinn scored 26 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and his effervescent smile made him the face of the first weekend.
“Everyone is equal in March,’’ O’Quinn said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a power or a smaller school. When the ball goes up, anything can happen.’’
As we learned this week, it certainly can.
Other Knicks that have experienced March Madness are:
Justin Holiday made three trips with Washington to the Big Dance, playing in seven games. He was a key cog of a Huskies squad that advanced to the Sweet 16 as a No. 11 seed in 2010 before falling to No. 2 seed West Virginia.
Courtney Lee led No. 12 seed Western Kentucky to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2008. He scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, made four steals, three blocks and had one assist in a loss to No. 1 seed UCLA.
Marshall Plumlee went to four NCAA Tournaments with Duke from 2013-16. In the 2015 title run, he got Duke started in its first-round win over Robert Morris when he scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Chasson Randle scored 13 points, had six steals and four rebounds in Stanford’s 60-57 upset of No. 2 seed Kansas in 2014. He had 23 points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists in the 1st-round upset of New Mexico.
Derrick Rose was a freshman sensation for Memphis, leading the Tigers to the 2008 championship game. Memphis lost, 75-68, in OT to Kansas. Rose had 18 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals in the championship game.
“I think it’s the greatest sporting event of the year,’’ Plumlee said. “For three weeks, the nation is watching college basketball. Everyone is so focused. Every play is crucial.
“It’s what you work your entire life for, to have the honor of playing in the NCAA Tournament.’’