March Madness provides a great opportunity for novices and experts to have fun and socialize around the NCAA Tournament. Here are a five game styles to consider playing:
- Pick the Bracket – This is the most common and most popular game style. Everyone picks all the winners prior to the start of the tournament and gets points for each win. Scoring formats can vary quite a bit, but usually the value for wins increases each round. There are always some perfect bracket contests that can be entered, but nobody has ever create a perfect bracket.
- Auction Teams – If you have a large enough group and want a good reason to get together to have a few beers before the tournament run an auction where people bid on each team. Go free market or assign a spending cap. Set the payouts so that teams that make the Final 8 are in the money and increase the % payout each round. Assign a % to team that is the biggest loser in the first round so that some money is spent on those teams.
- Squares – This style is extremely popular at Super Bowl parties. Create a 10 x 10 grid and draw numbers at random or just go straight 0 – 9 on the top and 0 – 9 down the side. We like to get people in the squares first and then draw the numbers at random. Pick one game each day of the tournament or do all 63 games. Doing all 63 games can really spread the pot thin.
- Vegas Style Bankroll – If you can’t make it out to Vegas and enjoy the sportsbook action, then play a bankroll game where play money can be wagered on point spreads and over/under. The person that accumulates the largest bankroll wins.
- Survivor – A popular format during the NFL Regular Season. It can be set up to pick one on each tournament day or one each tournament round. A team can only be picked once. With the field getting cut in half every round, it gets tricky pretty quickly. You don’t want to be out of teams by the Final Four.
All the major sports websites off a variety of contests and many of them for free. If you want to avoid the ads and have some really cool features, check out PickHoops.com and TournamentPools.com.
Our fan analysis / bracket advice based on the 2015 brackets is:
- While the brackets were far from chalk last year, this year the tournament is top heavy so expect the Great 8 and beyond to be loaded with top seeds. We expect the total sum of the Final Four Teams to be less than 10 this year.
- The 5 – 12 upset we like best is Stephen F. Austin over Utah. Buffalo seems to be a sexy pick be we are not buying it.
- Villanova will be the first Number 1 seed to drop. That will be in the Second Round to NC State.
- The ACC will have 4 teams in the Great 8 (Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia, NC State)
- In Vegas you can take Kentucky or the field. In Vegas we bet the field, in office pool brackets we roll with the Kentucky Wildcats. Arizona and Duke are our alternate Champions for multiple brackets.
Best of luck and enjoy all the different brackets you create and game styles you play.