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Column

NCAA madness abounds in March

I always get excited trying to show off my college basketball knowledge by trying to predict which of the 68 men's teams entering the NCAA tournament will eventually win the title each year.

It is fun trying to predict upsets because every year, lower-seeded teams beat higher-seeded teams. Upsets like the 15th seed beating the second seed, 14th seed beating the third seed, 13th seed beating the fourth seed, 12th seed beating the fifth seed or 11th seed beating the sixth seed always happen every tournament.

I can remember watching a game on TV and trying to see the scores from other games across the country to see how well my predictions were holding up. Those days were before the Internet when a person could see scores much quicker on their computers or nowadays smart phones.

Today, the four networks broadcasting first and second round games March 16-19 are CBS, TNT, TruTV or TBS.

TBS and CBS are broadcasting Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight March 23-26.

CBS gets to broadcast Final Four games on April 1 and the national championship game on April 3.

There are numerous office pools across the country where people wager some money trying to show they are the smartest in their place of employment.

Different methods are chosen from studying which teams are playing their best entering the tournament, versus more unconventional methods of choosing which team’s uniform colors or design the picker likes over another.

Some just choose the higher ranking no matter what, although that method doesn’t take into account the many upsets that make the tournament a highlight of many basketball fans’ month.

Vegas casinos reportedly earn millions of dollars each spring from hundreds of college basketball fans making an annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the NCAA Tournament. Some fans are content to win their local office pools, but the real gamblers head to Sin City to throw down action on individual games as well.

The NCAA tournament reportedly ranks second to only the Super Bowl in terms of betting and seems to be gaining ground in recent years. Bracket pools alone see Americans risk billions of dollars annually.

Bracket pools consist of a group of friends, co-workers, family or strangers each submitting a bracket with an entry fee of as little as $1 or higher. These pools have a point system where the entrant gains points for successfully picking who will advance, with the later rounds being worth more than the early ones.

Let the March Madness begin.

BCR Staff Writer Lyle Ganther can be reached at lganther@bcrnews.com.

Tonica New Staff Writer Lyle Ganther can be reached at lganther@bcrnews.com.

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