Let’s get ready for March Madness!


March Madness is almost here! I have prepared a guide for you to get ready for the men’s basketball tournament.

Inarguably the most exciting time of the college basketball season is March Madness. Constant game action, single elimination tournament, and a chance for “Cinderella” teams to shine, there’s a lot to watch. For casual fans, it can be a time to tune in to their favorite colleges. For diehard fans and bettors, it’s an excellent time to begin scouting teams and preparing your picks.

The “Bracketology” Process

For those unfamiliar with what “Bracketology” entails, it’s the process in which a selection committee decides who plays who in the NCAA tournament. The ten-person committee picks which teams are going to March Madness. Those teams are then “seeded” based on the strength of the schedule and “quadrant” wins (Quadrant 1 wins being worth the most). Lastly, they create a bracket that seeds every team in the tournament.

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There are a variety of factors to consider when seeding the teams. Those factors include overall record, quality wins/losses, head-to-head results, and others. It’s an important task to seed the teams, but no matter where a team gets seeded, they’re usually quite happy when they learn they’re going to the “Big Dance” (a colloquial term for March Madness).

Are rules for NCAAB or March Madness different than the NBA?

You wouldn’t know if you’re a casual fan, but yes! There are several differences between the rules of the collegiate game and the professional game.

In college basketball, the shot clock is set to 30 seconds (versus a 24-second shot clock in the NBA). For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a shot clock, it represents how many seconds you have until your shot has at least made contact with the rim of the hoop.

Also, the college basketball three-point line is closer to the hoop than the NBA three-point line. For fouls, college teams are allotted five personal fouls per player (in the NBA, you have six per player) before fouling out.

College teams are also only allowed one timeout per half. NBA teams are allowed four timeouts per half (technically, two per quarter).


So what should I know for the 2023 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament?

The tournament begins in roughly a month, on March 14th. So you still have time to scout your Cinderellas, watch some films, and pick your favorites, and more. With 68 teams entering the tournament, there are 32 “automatic bids” that go to the teams that won their conference tournament.

march madness 2023

Normally, several of those teams are relatively easy to predict. However, the 2022-2023 NCAAMB season has been quite hectic. There have already been eight losses by the school ranked number one in college basketball, the highest number of losses in a few decades.

The remaining 36 bids are defined as “at-large,” – meaning the selection committee will handpick those schools/teams for March Madness.

There’s also a play-in event known as the first four. In this case, eight teams compete (the four lowest-seeded automatic qualifiers versus the four lowest-seeded at large bids) to advance to the main bracket of the tournament itself.

In rare cases, the winner of the first four games actually goes deep into the tournament. One such example was VCU in 2011, who beat the USC Trojans in a play-in game and then advanced all the way to the Final Four. Another example was UCLA in 2021 (ten years later), who beat Michigan State in an overtime classic First Four matchup and then also advanced to the Final Four before losing (also in overtime) to Gonzaga.

Are there teams in this iteration of March Madness I should watch?

That’s up to you! There are a few teams that I like to go deep in March Madness, but the truth is – it’s really a crapshoot. In 2014, billionaire Warren Buffett offered a $ 1 billion (yes, with a B) challenge. He will pay one billion dollars to the fan who presents him with a perfect March Madness bracket. Berkshire Hathaway offered the same challenge again in 2021.

March Madness basketball

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? All you need is a perfect NCAA men’s March Madness bracket, and you win 40 annual installments of $25M.

What’s the math on that?

The odds of filling out a perfect March Madness bracket are one in 9.2 quintillions (9 with eighteen zeroes). The odds of having a perfect March Madness bracket through the Sweet 16 are still ~one in 282 trillion.

Every year, you see roughly 80-90% of brackets busted from perfection… within the first day of tournament play.

As we close in on March Madness, I’ll be offering tips and pointers on who I have winning the whole thing. I’ll even post my bracket so everyone can embarrass me when my projected champion loses to a mid-major on Day 1.

Catie Di Stefano has worked in the gambling industry since 2011 for major brands like Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Gaming Innovation Group and Betsson Group. She started in customer support at age 19 and has since worked her way through VIP, CRM and Marketing. Today, Catie is passionate about educating players on consumer rights and the best approaches for legal play in the United States as the Director of Community Marketing at OnlineGamblers.com. Catie was born in Indonesia but grew up in Sweden. Currently, she resides in Spain with her two daughters.

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