theSkimm's Guide to

MARCH MADNESS 2015

THE STORY

Break out your party sneakers, it’s time for the Big Dance. Otherwise known as March Madness.

WHAT’S MARCH MADNESS?

The one with all the brackets. It’s the NCAA tournament that decides the national champs of college basketball. The focus is on men's Division I. The women's tournament starts Friday, but seeds haven't been decided yet.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Men's games start Tuesday, aka St. Patrick’s Day. So have yourself a side of Guinness with your bracket. But the games that really count start on Thursday. Noon is last call for your bracket. Watch on CBS, or online here, or get the app.

PSST WHAT'S A BRACKET?

The chart you fill out. The way you make (or lose) that money. Get your Skimm’madness bracket here.

I’M NOT INTO BASKETBALL. BYE FELICIA.

Good for you. But more than 20 million people watched last year’s final game, and about $9 billion will be spent on bracket betting. So you’ll be hearing about it all month whether you like it or not.

FINE. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

68 men’s college teams. Then they’re lumped into four groups of 16. Gryffindor, Hufflep--kidding. East, West, South, and Midwest. It’s three weeks and a lot of alliteration as the teams compete to get into the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four, and then finally the Championship Game on April 6th.

HOW’D THESE 68 TEAMS MAKE IT?

32 of the teams made it in by winning their respective conferences. The NCAA picked the rest on Selection Sunday through a complex and secretive process not unlike deciding where to store nuclear codes. The committee may have taken into consideration things like overall records, mascots, and LinkedIn profiles.

WHICH TEAMS SHOULD I WATCH?

Kentucky…The favorite to go all the way. And for a good reason. The Wildcats have a perfect record, and if they win, they’ll be the first team in decades to go undefeated. Kind of a big deal. Duke…Always one to watch. But this year, their coach, Mike Krzyzewski (aka Coach K) has a new kind of W under his belt. He’s the first Division I men's college coach to win 1,000 games. And you thought Coach Taylor was a BFD. Villanova…They’ve only lost two games this season, and they’re seeded no. 1 in their region. Last year, they packed their balls way earlier than expected. So they’re hoping for a better showing. Wisconsin…A Big Ten team with big potential. Star baller Frank Kaminsky is in the running to be crowned Player of the Year. Arizona…One of the teams voted most likely to take down Kentucky. Syracuse…Won’t be there. Because Orange is the new blacklisted. The Cinderellas...TBD. These are the underdogs who take down top teams, breaking hearts and brackets along the way.

theSKIMM

If you’re a college basketball fan, this is the Holy Grail of tourneys, and the one you’ve been waiting for all year. If you’re not, your co-workers are going to be having afternoon “dentist appointments” for the next month. Might as well get on board.

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