The NCAA Tournament and the accompanying March Madness are upon us. It’s one of my favorite times of the year when it’s time to start filling out tournament brackets.
I hear some of you protesting. Maybe you’re so busy with kids that you have no idea about any of this year’s field of 68 teams. Maybe you’re not an NCAA men’s basketball fan. Maybe you want to join in the fun but are worried about not doing well.
Forget about all that. You don’t have to invest a fortune in a huge pool, or gamble at all. It can just be a fun (and educational) activity to do with your kids to compare different ways of picking and have some fun.
Start by printing out a bracket here.
Then start filling it out with teams you think, or hope, will win. Don’t worry about getting all your picks correct. That’s incredibly rare. And this isn’t so much about winning as it is having fun.
It’s called March Madness for a reason – no one knows what is going to happen. It’s about basketball, not a crystal ball. There are always upsets and Cinderella teams, etc. People who cover college basketball as part of their jobs often don’t do very well with their brackets.
There are lots of ways to have fun with your bracket. Consider choosing based on completely random, non-basketball related topics. Here are some fun and different ways to fill our your NCAA Tournament bracket:
- Location of the school which is great for learning some geography,
- Favorite mascots that can teach kids about all kinds of people and animals,
- Which team colors you prefer (good for little ones learning colors),
- Even or odd seeds (for the first round, anyway), or
- Flipping a coin, which illustrates random chance.
If you’re going the mascot route, consider helping kids learn about grouping them. For example, pick all animals, or get more specific and pick all cat teams. Many teams are named the wildcats: Northwestern, Kentucky, Arizona, and Villanova. There are also the Princeton Tigers and the Vermont Catamounts.
The NCAA has examined the winning percentage of teams by mascot and found that cats won 50.1% of the time. That’s better than weather/elemental teams, which have won 49% of the time. And that’s better than the avian teams, so maybe that’s another reason to pick the Iowa State Cyclones and not the Creighton Bluejays.
If nothing else, it’s fun to guess. You may be surprised to find you and your kids cheering for teams you hadn’t heard of before filling out your bracket. You never know – your random picks, be it by color, mascots, location, could give you a great bracket!
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