theSkimm's Guide to

MARCH MADNESS 2016

March madness 2016 partnership 00

THE STORY

Your co-workers are taking long lunches. Your BF isn’t responding to your texts. And everyone is suddenly coming to work with $5 bills. Welcome to March Madness.

HOW DOES THIS WORK AGAIN?

Every March, college basketball has its own version of the Hunger Games. You’ll be hearing about the women’s tournament at the same time as the men’s tournament. The women's madness starts with 64 teams and -- for the past three years -- has ended with UConn players cutting down the championship net. The men's madness starts with 68 teams and ends with lots of grown men crying to the tune of “One Shining Moment.” 32 teams make it by winning their conference tournaments. The other 36 teams are chosen by the NCAA on Selection Sunday based on things like record, strength of schedule, and stadium snacks.

HOW LONG IS THE MADNESS?

The first game goes down on March 15th and the National Championship game is on April 4th. In between, there’s the Sweet 16 (not the party where your cousin gets a new car), the Elite Eight, and the Final Four. Lesson: The NCAA loves brackets with alliteration.

REMIND ME WHAT A BRACKET IS.

It’s where you fill out your predictions for the entire tournament. It’s also how you win money and bragging rights. The tournament is about as predictable as your grandma’s commentary at Thanksgiving dinner. Read: Anything can happen. You don’t have to be a basketball genius to pick a few winners and earn some sports cred in the office. Fill out your Skimm bracket here.

WHY DO I CARE?

Because March Madness will be all up in your newsfeed for the next few weeks. More than 25 million people watched last year’s championship game, and people spend billions of dollars (yes, billions) on bets throughout the tournament.

WHERE CAN I WATCH?

CBS and Turner (TBS, TNT, TruTV) broadcast the games live. But you can also livestream them here. If your boss walks past while you’re watching, there’s actually a button for that.

ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?

Yes. March Madness generates a lot of cash money for the NCAA, schools, and sports networks. But the players on the court go back to their dorm rooms with empty pockets...and apparently sometimes even empty stomachs. Enter: the ‘should college athletes get paid?’ controversy. ‘Team no pay’ says being a college athlete is not a profession, and most of them are given scholarships. ‘Team show me the money’ says college athletes are making the bacon, so they should get to fry some of it at home. Plus, they could easily get hurt and lose their scholarships.

WHO SHOULD I BE FOLLOWING?

Kansas...the one that’s #1 in the country. The players are looking to click their sneakers 3 times and say ‘there’s no place like (bringing a trophy) home.’ Remember the name Perry Ellis. Really good shooter. Not the men’s clothing line.

Duke...the team everyone loves to hate. Coach K is the Regina George of basketball, and Grayson Allen (who apparently has a thing for tripping people) is his Gretchen Wieners. Duke is the defending champ, so the pressure’s on to make it a repeat year.

University of Virginia...the one that lost its conference championship, and still got a top spot at the tournament. Player to watch: Malcolm Brogdon. He’s Virginia’s golden boy on and off the court.

Michigan State...the one with Denzel. Yes, their top player is named Denzel Valentine…he’s always been a Michigan hometown favorite, and now he’s getting some big time recognition for his jack-of-all-trades style of play. Love side, strong side.

Oklahoma...the one with the all-star baller. Buddy Hield is arguably the best player in college basketball right now. Bonus: he has a Bahamian accent. You’re welcome.

University of North Carolina...the one that really likes the color carolina blue. UNC has a lot of seniors on the team who are hoping to end their college careers with a trip to the ‘ship.

Villanova...the one having a better 2016 than you. The team is expected to outwit, outplay and outlast the competition. And the team’s coach is expected to win ‘Best Sideline Suit.’

theSKIMM

For top college players, March Madness is a chance to prove they’re good enough to one day have their own sneaker line. For fans, it’s Christmas in March. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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