March Madness is much more than a some spring college tournament. It is the nail biting, single elimination tour de force that, by months end, has crowned the NCAA’s top team. The winning squad has to out perform 63 of the nation’s other top performers.
While the action on the court is intense it pales in comparison to the drama, the tension, and the heartache of the office pools that accompany it. These coworker competitions, often for money, bring out everyone’s inner Nostradamus. Luckily, trying to guess what will happen from the 9.22 quintillion possible outcomes puts the sport neophyte in accounting on equal footing with with ESPN junkie in sales. But if you’re a web worker without an office what madness does March contain for you?
If you’re content to simply follow along the web provides a number of sources. CBS’s Sportsline.com, in conjunction with the NCAA, offers a free March Madness On Demand package. People who sign up before March 15th can watch up to 56 games from the first three rounds of the tournament and skip any queues for the limited streaming slots. If streaming audio is more conducive to your bandwidth and/or workstyle check out Yahoo’s College Sports streams. Also, after March 11th’s selection announcments, there will be numerous printable brackets available. If you want to start practicing your pairings now there are empty sample sheets available. A sample of last year’s brackets can still be found online. Finally, if you’re impatient for the Big Dance to get started you can while your time away with March Madness trivia or watch how the pairings are shaping up with ESPN’s Bracketology.
But what about putting some community with your cognitive ability? Web sites like RunYourPool.com allow anybody to throw together a geographically disparate set of friends for as little as $19.95. The service includes less than five minute setup, emailing of potential pool buddies, private message boards, and generated reports as the tournament progresses. Alternatively, Poolhost.com is a free service that allows for customizable scoring and underdog bonus options. While these sites don’t have the same cash-in-an-envelop buy-in like the traditional office event fifteen minutes and a PayPal account will quickly remedy the situation. Just make sure that you trust the person holding the money because, unlike the traditional office pool, you may not know where they work.
Special thanks to Ryan Stewart for the topic idea.