March is finally here! That means ushering in the start of spring, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, and filling out brackets, because the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament is upon us. Think thrilling upsets, star-making performances, and nail-biting finishes. And that all could happen in Thursday’s first game alone…
The NCAA Division One Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament aka March Madness, is a 68-team, single elimination battle for College Basketball supremacy. This year’s “Final Four” will take place in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Every team’s goal is to be crowned champion in Indy, but it’s a tough journey, requiring teams to reel off six straight victories. Everyone seems to be buzzing with college basketball fever this time of year and it is estimated that 10% of the population will fill out at least one bracket.
March Madness isn’t just about the on-court action, though. In fact, the madness is best enjoyed in the company of others, which is one reason the popularity of office pools has exploded in recent years. It’s never been easier to setup a pool online for free. There are many great websites that allow you to complete all your picks online and automatically handle all of the scoring so everyone can sit back, relax, and enjoy the tourney unfold.
If you haven’t started planning for a March Madness tip-off party for Thursday, now is the time to get the ball bouncing! Get your group lunch delivery orders in and make sure your big screen TV is set-up in an easy to gather around location in the office. Most importantly, make sure everyone’s bracket is completed and submitted before the first game!
Before the opening tip on Thursday, here’s a primer on what you can be guaranteed to expect in your NCAA pool:
- A non-basketball fan or pool novice will take all. The fun of March Madness is that literally anyone who fills out a bracket can win. The tournament has become so unpredictable, with so much parity between the teams that everyone has an equal opportunity to bask in the glow of victory. That means the guy who relied on his toddler to pick his teams based on mascots and team colors, is probably going all the way. March is a particularly helpful time to have access to a discerning toddler who can breakdown the difference between a Blue Devil and a Wildcat.
- An obscure school that no one’s ever heard of will bust your bracket. Each year there are Cinderella teams that surprise all to make a deep tournament run and leave a trail of carnage in everyone’s bracket. This year will be no different, and the Cinderella is almost sure to conveniently knockout the team that you took deep into the tournament. Wofford, Coastal Carolina, Stephen F. Austin… we’re looking at you.
- The game stream on your computer will start buffering at a crucial game moment. It’s bound to happen that while you’re streaming a gameon your PC, in the final seconds of a nail biter the video feed will freeze and start buffering endlessly. Screams will ensue, hair will be ripped out, and you’ll try frantically refreshing the page to no avail. Meanwhile, you’ve just missed a classic finish to the game. Don’t let this happen to you! Remember Ethernet cables are always faster than WiFi. And now might be a good time to start lobbying your boss for that internet upgrade that the IT department has been stalling on. A friendly reminder that all games are streamed online for free at the NCAA March Madness Live website. And yes, there is a “Boss” button if needed.
- You WILL have fun! It’s guaranteed that you will enjoy every shining moment of the tournament along with all the friendly competitive banter between friends, family and co-workers.
Whether you’ve watched 5 minutes of basketball this year or have intensely followed the last 5 months of the season, we’ve got the fun facts to make you sound the smartest at your office party:
- Kentucky is attempting to become the first team to finish a championship season undefeated in almost 40 years. If Kentucky takes the title, they will finish with an astounding record of 40-0. The most recent team to go undefeated was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers led by Bob Knight.
- UCLA has won the most NCAA Tournament championships, with 11 national titles. Kentucky has claimed 8 titles, with Indiana and North Carolina racking up 5 championships apiece.
- Don’t bet on an all-Big Ten or ACC Final Four. In fact, the most teams from a single conference to reach the Final Four is three and it only happened once. In 1985, the Big East trio of Villanova, Georgetown, and St. Johns all made it to the Final Four.
- Over the previous eleven seasons, every champion except for Louisville (2013) has had blue as one of their primary school colors.
- It is estimated that 70 million brackets will be completed this week for the NCAA Tournament, according to the American Gaming Association.
- The odds of picking a perfect bracket: 1 in 9.2 quintillion
Now that you’re prepped for March Madness, all that’s left is to complete your winning bracket and enjoy the three best basketball weekends of the year. Let the madness begin!
Author: Mike Roeslmeier is the Data Visualization Specialist at Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff staffing software for the staffing and direct hire industry.