march madness for dummies

Last fall, I was all about Fantasy Football and became the commissioner of a girls only fantasy league with my favorite gal pals. It was awesome because most of us had never played fantasy or just didn't follow football that much, so we were all in the same boat. We had a blast talking smack and grabbing drinks for games here and there. Now, it's time for March Madness. I decided to do the same. I started a girls only March Madness bracket with my friends, and asked my wonderful fiancé, Joe, to give me some advice as I'm a complete noob. Below, you'll find his explanation of the tournament, how to create a bracket, and how it all works for (non) dummies like me!





It’s a game, but for many it’s a game that embodies so much more than a final score or a win/loss. It’s a representation of teamwork in the athletic form. It’s a dance, as players spend countless hours perfecting footwork in order to create minute inches of separation between themselves and a competitor. It’s physically exhausting, as the toll of a defensive stance drains energy and the effort put forth for every rebound or loose ball that fatigues a player. And although the importance of team is pivotal for success, this game allows for moments of brilliance to be owned by one individual in various ways during competition. It’s basketball and if that perspective doesn’t get you excited about the game, then Maybe March Madness will.

Ok, cut the drama... what the hell is March Madness and how do I win my money and pride?

March Madness is a single elimination NCAA Division 1 basketball tournament that occurs every year starting in mid-March, ending with a sole champion come early April. 68 teams compete in the tournament, which includes four play-in games that occur before the commonly recognized bracket of 64 teams. Outside of the pure excitement the tournament generates by watching college ballers lay it all on the line, upset victories, and buzzer beaters, a great way to get involved the event is by having a bracket challenge amongst friends or coworkers. The following is the need to know information to get you ready for competing or hosting a bracket pool of your own.


The major players in the online bracket game include ESPN, Yahoo Sports, and CBS Sports. With all of these sites, you will be able to form a league for the 2016 tournament and invite friends or coworkers to join. This way, you will have to do any tallying of points manually as the rounds advance. Once you make your selection on these sites, you are then able to print your bracket making it easier to follow along while watching the games. And of course, what fun are sports unless you are putting a little money on it? Most pools have a buy in fee decided on by whoever is hosting. Payouts usually occur at third place (individual receives buy in amount back), second place (individual makes a profit), and first place (individual takes a majority of the winnings).


Points are awarded to a correct pick of a winning team. During the six total rounds of the tournament points for a correct pick increase as the rounds advance, meaning that the deeper that you get into a tournament the more valuable wins become. See below for scoring explained for most major sites: