“March Madness” is a term drilled down your throat in the middle of March, signifying the beginning of the Men’s Division I NCAA Tournament. The event this year stretches from March 18th to April 7th, with a few breaks in between rounds. In order to understand what some of your friends may be gluing their eyes to the TV for, here are five essential aspects of March Madness.
The NCAA tournament is bracket-style; there are four regions of 16 teams, making 64 in total. It’s common to fill out predictions on how the Tournament will finish out and compete with friends to see who’s was more correct. The later the round, the more points you accumulate. There are also four play-in games for a spot in the tournament that take place the Tuesday and Wednesday before the Round of 64, or the “Second Round” begins on Thursday. This is a new development over the past few years; there used to be just one play in game, but now there are four. They really don’t matter much.
“Mid-Majors” are conferences in Division 1 basketball that aren’t generally known as consistent producers of contenders in the tournament. The ACC, Big 10, Big 12, and SEC are the “big five” conferences. All others, including the A10 where Fordham plays, are considered mid-majors. When making selections, you should be aware teams from tough conferences usually have been tested more than those in smaller ones.
To really keep up with the tournament, you need to block out hours of your day (or learn how to multitask). Games on Thursday and Friday will range from Noon to 9PM. The great thing about that is if you’re not religiously watching scores, you will be able to find something worth watching at all hours of the day. Even in the Round of 32 on Saturday and Sunday, there will still be games going on all day (albeit half as many).
Much like every live event nowadays, you’ll be able to stream games on your phone with the March Madness Live app (available for Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone), on your iPad, Android Tablet, or Kindle Fire, or on your computer at ncaa.com/march-madness. All games will be streamed in HD and will be free.
5. Your Stake
It’s a longshot (around a 1 in 128 billion chance) but if you were to pick a perfect bracket, Warren Buffett has offered up $1,000,000,000 to that person. By picking on Yahoo, you’ll be automatically entered. Even if you didn’t, however, you’d be famous since no one has ever done this. You have a better shot of winning $100,000 from ESPN, which is also a free entry, or money from your friends (that’ll cost you anywhere from $5-100). The ESPN prize is based on how you do against everyone else in the world who used their system to make their picks. It’s common for people to stumble into great brackets, so it’s worth a minute or two to fill out a sheet.