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March Madness 2018: Non-traditional ideas to spice up your bracket pool

March Madness 2018: Non-traditional ideas to spice up your bracket pool

March Madness is here. And that means your nightmares of failed brackets are about to come flooding back.

It’s OK. You can admit it. Your bracket, in all likelihood, stunk last year. You signed up for Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick’em, confidently placed Villanova or Duke in your Final Four, then watched your bracket bleed on the NCAA tournament’s first weekend.

[It’s bracket time! Sign up now to play Tourney Pick’em]

Oh, but you weren’t alone. Far from it. You were one of millions who invested time, emotional energy, and perhaps money in filling out what initially looked like the perfect bracket, only to have your dreams dashed days later.

So you were frustrated. And still are. Frustrated by the old routine of hope and dejection every year. Perhaps it’s time for something new.

You can, and should, still fill out your Tourney Pick’em bracket. It takes five minutes, and brings unparalleled excitement to your March Madness experience. But perhaps you want to spice up that experience on the side. Perhaps you want to enhance it. We’ve come up with some inventive suggestions that will allow you to do just that.

1. The fantasy draft

If you haven’t tried a March Madness draft, you’re missing out. Grab 3-5 friends – 4-6 people in total – and pick rosters of teams rather than games. Do it like a Yahoo Fantasy Football snake draft. Gather at somebody’s house or a bar on Sunday night. Find a creative way to determine draft order. Then take turns selecting the tournament’s 68 squad, with the draft order reversing in even-numbered rounds, until all 68 are off the board.

It’s crucial, though, to adopt a scoring system that incentivizes the selection of lower-seeded teams. That makes the draft twice as fun. For example, you could use the traditional system – one point per first-round win, two per second-round win, all the way to 32 for the champion – but then assign a multiplier to every seed (as Twitter user @KorverAintMe has done here). Or you could lay out round-by-round rewards by seed line, like Brandon Anderson has done here.

A simpler option is to legislate bonus points for upsets: Use a 1-2-3-4-5-6 scoring system, rather than 1-2-4-8-16-32, but add one point for an upset where the seed differential is 4-7; two if the seed differential is 8-11; three if the differential is 12-13; and end the whole dang competition and declare a champion if a 16-seed beats a 1.

 one extra point for a “road win” – a victory by a team at least two time zon

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