A Beginner’s Guide to the Big Dance

Not a sports fan? March Madness – technically the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship – can still be fun, even if you don’t know anything about sports. Here are just a few things you can do to ensure you know what you’re talking about next time you’re at the bar.

Familiarize Yourself
The tournament format can be confusing at first, especially with the inclusion of the “First Four.” The make-up of the 64-team bracket is not as simple as “someone picks 64 teams” – the tournament actually starts with 68 teams, made up of 31 conference champions, and 37 teams given at-large births, chosen by the NCAA’s Selection Committee. This committee also assembles the teams into four regions (of which the names vary year-to-year, based on the location of the stadium in which games will be played) of sixteen teams per.

Fill out a bracket
After reading up about how the tournament runs, the next thing to do is fill out your bracket. This is a largely uncomplicated process; almost every major sports website offers an easy-to-complete bracket. The composition of a bracket involves selecting the winners of each game, all the way from 64 teams down to the National Championship. ESPN’s website offers not only an interactive bracket, but also detailed matchup information (free for the first round, available for a fee for following rounds) that helps in identifying potential first-round upsets and provides basic information about each team, their style, and regular-season performance.

Watch the games
This seems obvious, but it’s the easiest way to really get a good grasp on each team – especially lesser-known, lower-seeded teams. With 36 games, how do you watch them all? Well, it’s difficult to watch them all; in the last few years, CBS has started broadcasting every game on one of their many networks. Whether it be on TV, on the Internet, or even using the March Madness smartphone app, it’s now easy to watch games wherever you may be. The most helpful way, however, is to simply go to the bar with friends and pay attention to what others are saying about the game.

However you decide to watch it, follow these few quick tips and you’ll soon be chatting about the merits of Oregon’s #12 seed or the strength of Florida’s offense in no time!

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One response to “A Beginner’s Guide to the Big Dance

  1. Pingback: Things I Would Rather Do Than Watch March Madness | Life Abridged·

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