March Madness for Beginners: How to Fill Out Your First March Madness Bracket

It's time for March Madness! If you're not a huge college basketball fan, then this might be your first time watching the infamous tournament. March Madness is the spring NCAA Men's Division Basketball Championship in which 68 college basketball teams compete in single elimination games to decide who the national champion of the year is. One of the easiest ways to keep track of all the teams and winnings is by using a March Madness Bracket.

What is March Madness?

What is March Madness?
Image via Flickr by Lyssah

A March Madness Bracket is an easy way to keep track of the games: what teams are playing, when the games are on, who won the games, and who's moving on to the next round in the championship. Printable versions are available online. Simply print one out, then use it to keep track of the games and winning teams throughout the Championship. Brackets can also be used to select the teams you think will win each game, and then can be used in office pools or other competitions among March Madness fans.

Picking Your Teams

Picking Your Teams
Image via Flickr by Dougtone

There are several ways you can select your teams:
  • Pick your favorites
  • Pick the top teams
  • Pick teams with the top players
  • Pick teams who have the best records of the season
Be sure to leave some room for upsets, underdogs, and surprises throughout the Championship. It's nearly impossible to be sure about anything when it comes to March Madness.

Watching the Games

Watching the Games
Image via Flickr by Sonnett

Now that you've printed your bracket and selected your teams, it's time for the fun to begin. You can easily find a schedule for March Madness in your local TV guide or online. If you're not familiar with the game, here are some basic rules to help you follow along:
  • The basketball court is separated into two areas: The offensive team's basket area and the defensive team's basket area. The two areas are split by the Midcourt Line.
  • When the offensive team has the ball, they have ten seconds to run it over the Midcourt Line.
  • Once over the Midcourt Line, the offensive team attempts to throw the ball into the defensive team's basket to score. Most baskets are worth two points. If a player makes a basket from the three-pont arc, that basket is worth three points.
  • Once the offensive team scores, the defensive team takes control of the ball, runs it to the opposite end of the court past the Midcourt Line, and attempts to make a basket, and so on.
  • Each team can try to take control of the ball if it falls out of play.
  • At the end of the game, the team with the highest score wins.
These basic rules should allow you to follow the game well enough to enjoy it and keep track of who's winning.

Keeping Track of Your Bracket

Keeping Track of Your Bracket
Image via Flickr by big swift

As you watch the games, fill in your Bracket with the winning teams and upcoming games. You'll start to see which of your picks are being eliminated and which are moving closer to the Championship.

Now that you know how March Madness works and how to fill out your Bracket, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the Championship. Be sure to enter the March Madness Contest for chances to win a trip to the tournament and experience the thrill of March Madness for yourself.

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