March Madness!

Part of the 2017 NCAA Division 1 Finals Bracket, courtesy of SB Nation.

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About This Episode

Underdogs! Cinderellas! Giant Killers! It’s time for the NCAA Division 1 Basketball Tournament, aka the Big Dance, aka March Madness! To make sense of it all, hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly welcome bracketologist Chris Dobbertean from Blogging the Bracket and SB Nation, and Prof. Alan Zaremba, author of The Madness of March: Bonding and Betting with the Boys in Las Vegas. If you’re one of our fans who doesn’t know what “bracketology” is, or why it should matter, never fear: Gary, a former pro-soccer player, doesn’t either, and so we can all learn together. First up, Chris explains the basics of this three-week-long, 68-team NCAA championship, from the tournament structure, to the selection criteria, metrics and matchups. Dive into the sneaky scheduling and secret strategies bracketologists must penetrate to succeed – you’ll even learn about a WikiLeaks-style leak that happened last year on Twitter. Chris and Chuck will give you tips for filling out your brackets, from the kinds of teams and coaches you want to consider, in addition to other factors like performance in specific situations including early or late games, or distance traveled to the tournament. Explore the importance of programs, from traditional powerhouses like North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and Kansas, to up and comers like Villanova, Florida, and Oregon. Chuck even gets Chris to look into the future (the show was recorded weeks before today, March 22) and ponder his Final Four matchups and his biggest Cinderella in the Sweet 16. Finally, Chuck and Gary explore the cultural impact of March Madness with Prof. Alan Zaremba, both positive and negative. You’ll find out about the unparalleled loss in productivity suffered by businesses around the country, the role of the media and the billions of dollars in contracts and advertising that surround the event, and the culture of sports betting and gambling in betting parlors in Las Vegas and office pools around the country. Even Warren Buffett runs a bracket at Berkshire Hathaway, where you can win $1 million dollars a year for the rest of your life if you can predict the Sweet 16.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: March Madness!

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