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March madness is here. Let the betting begin!

Sports were created to produce champions, and gambling was invented to turn sports fans into big money champions. That’s why every sport except college football has a championship at the end of each year.

It’s March and I can barley contain myself. Just think about it, Major League Baseball has the World Series, the NFL has the Super Bowl and the NBA has the Western Conference Finals. As we will see over the next few weeks, these all pale in comparison to college basketball’s March Madness.

When 65 college teams get together to play in a single elimination tournament, basketball fans around the country hold their breath. Who’s the sleeper? Who’s coming in hot? Nobody ever knows what’s going to happen. This is where the gambling begins.

Here are a few tips in the way of sports gambling so that you might use your affinity for sweaty men and physical labor in the pursuit of personal gain.

After selection Sunday, when the 65 teams are invited to the tournament, the local newspaper will print out the first round of the bracket and you’ll need to cut this out. It is an American custom to enter or start a pool where you pick the winners of each game played in the tournament. I suggest you make copies.

There are many different ways to set up your pool. The easiest way to start a racket is to establish a point system. A participant gets a point for each first round win they chose, two points for each second round win and so on.

You accumulate points throughout the rounds . The person with the highest total wins. In case of a tie, it is essential to create a tie breaker.

The most common tie breaker I’ve seen has been the point spread for the final game. It’s actually quite simple. For the final game you pick a winner but you also make a guess the final score. Let’s say the University of Connecticut beats Duke, 78- 75. You would circle UConn and after it you’d put 153pts. You’d get ten points for picking the winner and five points for having the most accurate score -preventing a tie.

Last weekend was a crazy weekend as Stanford faltered for the first time this season, losing to unranked Washington. There was another fantastic meeting between Duke and North Carolina. Duke is now up 2-0 in this year’s head-to-head series, but watch out for another tournament match-up. Gonzaga almost chipped their glass slipper, coming from behind to win at the end. And many teams secured their spot in the first round’s Big Dance. This only enhances the desperation for those teams on the outside looking in, hoping to win a spot this week in the conference championships.

You still have time to watch some marquee teams this week during the conference championships. So you will need to get your friends, grab some beer and sit around the television. I know you have papers to write but if you do get involved, you can go mad with everyone else this March.

I would rally to start a school wide tournament. Something that could bring the campus sports fans together. We could put up a poster board in the Smith Memorial Student Union and have a daily tally, tracking progress. It would only be about five bucks per person, the more playing the more it’ll be paying. We could have a winner for both the best and the worst bracket. But too bad it can’t happen – campus policy.

Well, I’ve wasted ten more minutes of your life with another rambling sports article. I hope you can get involved in a tournament so you can be a part of March Madness. If you have any “questions” about brackets or how to start a pool, please e-mail me at [email protected] Rock, Chalk baby!