Let the Madness Begin

As you may know, the 2009 NCAA men’s basketball tournament brackets have been released. Also, as you may know, I have been running the annual Pearce Bracket Challenge for the last seven or eight years or so. I’ll be doing it again this year, and in case you didn’t get the email last night, here’s the deal.

Due to life circumstances, I’m doing things a bit differently this year to make it more low key. First, there’s no money involved – we’re playing for bragging rights only. Why? There are a number of reasons, including the fact that I’m not a collection agency or a bookie, people don’t need to put up money in order to get excited about the games (filling out a bracket is enough) – which brings me to the second change.

I’m trying to keep this year’s Challenge smaller. If people don’t stand to gain any money by joining a random bracket challenge with a bunch of strangers, what impetus do they have to join? So I’m trying to keep it to family and friends (and spouses/significant others/family members of family and friends). I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I have to do what I have to do to cut it back. However, I won’t turn anyone away who joins, and am encouraging you, the reader, to join!

Next, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about: The Tournament will officially start on Thursday, March 19 around 12 p.m. There are 64 teams laid out in bracket form. Email me or leave a comment, and I will email you an Excel version of this year’s bracket for ease of filling out.

Fill out the bracket completely with your predictions/desires for who you think will win – every field, including the final champion. Include your prediction for the final score of the championship game for tiebreaking purposes, too. Email me your finished bracket no later than when the first game tips off at 12 noon on Thursday, March 19.

Here is how this works: for each correct game you pick right, you receive points. For first round wins, you get one point per win, unless you pick an upset correctly – then it’s two points for an upset win (only in the first round). The team rankings are in blue next to the team name – higher numbers are lower “seeds” and thus, the underdog. Second round wins get 3 points, then 5, then 8, then 12, then 17 for picking the correct champion. Got it?

The person with the most points at the end of the tournament wins. I’ll keep track of the standings with my patented color-coded Sharpie system (I should really get them to sponsor me). I’ll also try to send out updates to all the participants after each round (that’s what makes it fun, really).

Get me those brackets, and let me know if you have questions. Email address is in the top right of this page, or leave a comment.

GO BLUE!

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