NCAA March Madness: It’s Not Just for Fans Anymore

Hello, hello! I come to you with a proposition! We are just days away from the first tip-off in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Don’t listen to Andy Williams –  THIS is the most wonderful time of the year. And it’s a wonderful time for both fans and non-fans alike: when filling out brackets, expertise is not in any way a boon. That’s the beauty of the tournament: while perennial favorites can make deep runs in the tournament, underdogs like Butler can make big waves to the surprise of all the experts. So, let’s fill out our brackets (link below the cut) and duke it out for ultimate basketball glory. Oh, and if you’re new, I’ll show you the ropes with great enthusiasm.

My love of the game was born from living in a college town. A college town that went absolute co-co-bananas over basketball. I mean, I remember watching the local news as a kid and this woman came on, her nails all done in the school colors with little paw prints, and she was telling the reporter how she was biting her nails all month but she saved one nail to bite during the championship game that was happening that night. I am not joking: people went wild for basketball. We’d have the tournament games on in the background in class (only when our team was playing, we weren’t just a bunch of sports-crazed yokels). We’d have parties if they won something big. It was great.

After I left that college town to actually go to college myself, I realized how special that fervor was. OK, part of it was that I had gone to a big city and was attending a Division 3  school, which, let’s be honest, can’t compete with the Division 1 Big Dogs. A moment of explanation. The NCAA has 3 divisions for all colleges and universities: Division 1 refers to schools that give many athletic scholarships, Division 2 refers to schools that give out limited athletic scholarships, and Division 3 refers to schools that give out no athletic scholarships. The amount of attention that athletes get increases with the divisions. Basically, if you want to go to the NBA, Division 1 scholarship is your way to go.

So right, when I was in college, I realized that not everyone got through March on the excitement derived from college ball. However, I also realized that everyone liked filling out brackets. Or maybe they just said they did to get me off their backs. Either way, I liked setting up bracket challenges. In this bracket challenge, run through the CBS Sports website, you’d go through each game and pick the winner. You do this for every pairing until the final Championship showdown. The internet is a marvelous thing and the website will help you fill out the bracket. Heck, it even gives you some information about whether the team is expected to win (in handy percentage form, thank you very much), so no great skill or insight is required. Like I said earlier, given the number of upsets, a lack of skill might actually be encouraged: who other than the uninitiated would have expected a 4 seed (fairly good team) to lose to a 13 seed (not so great team). PS ““ they don’t happen every year, but they’re a good bet.

I’m inviting you all to participate in a bracket challenge. Here’s the link (password: aasaysdoit). If you’re not registered, it’ll take just a few minutes and they do not send annoying emails, so that’s great. The group is closed to just us. As an extra bonus, I have a grand prize for the person who gets the highest score and a consolation prize for the person who gets the absolute lowest score.

Here are some helpful tips for filling out brackets:

  1. Don’t feel bad about getting things wrong. The likelihood of getting a perfect bracket is 9.2 QUINTILLION to 1. So, you know, it basically never happens.
  2. Only once have all one seeds made it to the Final Four.
  3. No 16 seed has ever beaten a one seed. Too bad, right? It’d be an epic upset.
  4. You can usually (not always) expect a 13 to beat a 4. Almost always, a 5 goes down to a 12.

So sign up! You must fill out the bracket before NOON EST on THIS THURSDAY. It’ll be a party, an internet party (clearly the best kind because you can be here drinking wine out of the bottle in your underwear, or you could be eating cake in a wedding dress, no one cares, it’s the internet). If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll get you some answers.


25 replies on “NCAA March Madness: It’s Not Just for Fans Anymore”

I’m so glad I decided to read the posts I missed from Monday otherwise I would’ve missed this. The first weekend of the tournament has to be my most favorite time of the year.

If you have an iPhone and want to watch the games without a TV, the NCAA has a free app called “NCAA March Madness On Demand” where they will show every single game. Go to Top 25 Free apps list in the app store to find it.

Ailanthus-altissima, thanks so much for organizing this and I second sonjamikail’s request for Fantasy Football. I’ve wanted to try FF, but joining my guy friends’ league is a little too intimidating for a rookie.

I am glad you found it! And thank you for sharing that tip. I love the frenetic pace of the games (I mean, like 4 games at once, not the pace of the play in the games).

A Persephone FF League would be fun, too. I agree – it can be intimidating to join a league with a bunch of guy friends – it’s irrational but I feel like I have to do awesome to show that women can do football, too.

I’m actually throwing all caution to the wind, and apart from supporting my Heels to the end, I’m going to choose teams based off the hypothetical situation of “Which team’s mascot would win in a bar fight”.

My dad tried it one year and was apparently the pool winner!

Heck yes! I am so pleased you are joining.

It actually leads me to ask you a question – I pick NBA teams to follow based on where my favorite college players ended up. Have you ever done the reverse? Picked a college team because your favorite NBA player went there?

I mean, it’s not exactly the same because I can follow the player to the NBA, but you can’t go back in time to backwards-follow the NBA player back to college. But, you know, it’s the principle of the thing.

AA, forgive me! I missed your reply. I can’t say that I’ve gone back to support the college teams of NBA players I like, but I can say that I’ve learned to actively dislike the college teams of players I hate. Duke (I’m guessing this comes as no surprise to you) seems to have churned out more than its fair share of players I really can’t deal with (JJ Redick, Carlos Boozer, Chris Duhon, among others). Grant Hill is the great big shining exception. I will love Grant Hill forever and ever.

I stink at this. I hear my family roar when it’s NCAA season, so I closet myself in the far reaches of the house. Their manly shouts rattle the house. I watch from time to time, never quite knowing all that my eyes are missing. Was more in tune in college, vicariously through my brother who is a Pukester.

Kasa Kitty is Team Terps as always. When Puke loses the family calls my bro to rub it in.

I am a Kentucky fan and hate Duke due to their 90s antics, so I don’t know how much you’ll like me :P BUT I will cheer for the Tar heels any and every time they come up against Duke.

You should fill out the bracket if you haven’t already! UNC finished super strong (thanks probably to some maneuvering at the point position) and they’re poised to make some big waves.

I’ll root for ANY team but Dook (unless they’re playing against my heels, of course! I’m sure you understand.) The Wildcats are a welcome ally in this battle of good against evil!

On a similar note, there’s even a book on the rivalry between UNC and Puke (To Hate Like This is to be Happy Forever)! How true, how true… I wonder if anyone in these parts has read it.

I’ll try to get my bracket in before lunch! This will be my first, so I’m kind of nervous :P

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