It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

by brandt

Friends, it’s one of the few times in the year that I get excited.  Like, little boy excited.  Like, running around in a circle screaming my head off excited.

That’s right.

It’s NCAA Tournament time.  And since the best part of the tournament is picking your bracket, that’s what we’re going to do.


Now I know what you might be thinking: “Brandt, I don’t even like basketball.”  That’s fine.  I’ve been doing bracket challenges for the last 10+ years, dating all the way back to high school.  I’ve been in tournaments with die-hard college basketball gurus who could name the entire field of 68 teams, as well as their leading point scorer.  I’ve been in tournament pools where people picked the favorite (higher-ranked) teams only, where people picked teams based on which team’s colors looked better, which cities/universities they liked more, and which team had the more attractive players/coaches.  And you want to know the best part?  The odds on anyone winning is completely up in the air.  But that is what’s so great about it!  ANYONE CAN WIN!

If you’ve never done a tournament bracket, or have always wanted to do one but never wanted to ask questions, I’ll do some FAQ here.  If you are chomping at the bit, drooling for some awesome tournament pool action, skip down below to the end of the post and you’ll find the details.  And spread the word to all the other bloggers out there, homey bloggers, foodie bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, the more the merrier!


  • So what is this whole NCAA Tournament thing you’re talking about?

Every year, a committee of college athletics officials get together and decide who they feel the top 68 teams are in the nation, and give them a ranking, 1-16 (with 8 teams playing one game each to determine who gets the lowest seed, the 16 seed).  Then, the results are placed in a bracket, where the highest seeded team (#1) plays the lowest seeded team (#16), the next highest (#2) plays the second lowest (#15) and so on.  There are 5 rounds of this, the first 2 rounds taking place this weekend.  This is usually when the most exciting games happen.

  • What’s the big deal about this tournament?

Gambling aside (this is one of the biggest things to gamble on), the excitement of the tournament is the greatest part.  Many games come down to the last minute of play.  We want to see the lower-seeded team, the underdog, beat the big tough higher-seeded team (called an “upset”).  You want to see how far your particular school of choice will go.  And when you fill out your own bracket, there are points assigned to each round, so depending on how well you picked, you could be #1 in your bracket pool!

  • But I don’t even like basketball!

Ah, but when you have a bracket, it’s less about the games and more about the matchups!  You want to see the teams you picked do well!  It’s a vested interest!

  • OK, you’ve got me intrigued.  So what do I do?

Go to the bottom of this page, where I put all the information.  When you click the link, it will send you to a page where you have a big tournament bracket.  DON’T GET INTIMIDATED!  All you have to do is click on which team you think will move on.  You could get all geeky and do statistical analysis.  Or you could be like Ashley, who won the bracket 2 years ago by selecting teams she thought had the coolest name.  Then, you monitor how your bracket does!  Sign up your brother, husband, sister, wife, friend, mother, father!  The more the merrier!  (I almost think I need to make a button to make this legit, like Jenn @ Peas and Crayons does for her What I Ate Wednesday link-up parties…maybe later).

  • Are there any prizes for winning?

Bragging rights?  It’s too difficult to set up monetary prizes, because we’d have to have everyone buy a bracket, and it’s just too difficult.  Maybe next year.  But bragging rights are big in my book.

  • OK, how do we sign up?

First, follow the instructions below:

This message is from Brandt Malone who is challenging you to play Tournament Challenge on

Get in on the excitement of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Compete against other fans as you fill out a bracket and earn points for every correct pick! Come out on top and you could win $10,000. Get a group together and earn plenty of bragging rights amongst your friends by winning it all. Best of all, it’s free to play and win.

Get in the action now:

Group: NHotB’s Tourney Challenge
Password: newhouseotblog

Sign up for an ESPN account so you get access, and away you go!  Let me know if you have any problems or questions either about signing up, or about the tournament itself, and HAVE FUN!  Mine is already in the system!


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