The madness begins today!  Many who know very little about college basketball will spend the next couple of weeks debating the merits of Zags, Bears, Wolverines and Fighting Illini…that is if those teams are still around.  The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament gets into full swing today with 16 first-round games and will be followed by another 16 games on Saturday.  Millions of people have spent the last day or so filling out brackets which for many are funny-looking pieces of paper with lines, boxes and the names of colleges they know like Ohio State, West Virginia, Alabama and Rutgers and ones they never heard of including Winthrop and Grand Canyon.

So here’s how this thing which has been dubbed “March Madness” works.  The 64 teams that begin play today are broken into four regions…East, West, South and Midwest although for safety reasons the entire tournament is being played in and around Indianapolis.  Number one seeds were awarded to Michigan, Baylor, Illinois and Gonzaga...the later of that group being a private Roman Catholic school of about 7,500 students in Spokane, Washington who is seeking to become the first college team since 1976 to go undefeated and win the national title.

The only two things that are guaranteed in the 63 games that will take place beginning today is there will be upsets and I won’t predict them correctly.  The key to winning your office pool is to not have your final four teams lose early and to try and find those surprising schools who make unexpected runs. Among those I think have a chance of pulling off a surprise or two are Drake, San Diego State, Utah State and UC-Santa Barbara.

Anyway, we have a bracket contest for employees of Townsquare Media in which I selected Gonzaga, Florida State, Purdue and Illinois as my final four with the Zags/Bulldogs winning it all.  I don’t expect to win or even challenge for first place but if I get lucky then maybe I’ll at least finish ahead of some account executive in Lansing, Michigan who had her 9-year old daughter do her bracket.  By the way watch out for Texas Tech.


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