March Madness begins on March 19 for its 75th Anniversary season. To celebrate, the NCAA has launched a YouTube channel, featuring clips from games over the years. If you’re an avid college basketball follower — or just have the desire to keep up with conversation in the dorm — it may be time to start thinking about how you’ll follow the games. Will you manage your fantasy season with a March Madness bracket app? Make basketball cookies? Or look into the history of men’s college basketball to honor those great moments of the sport? Here are ways to do all three and really be in the know!
Predict the winners
March Madness, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the college basketball season, featuring 68 teams in a single-elimination tournament. A loss, and you’re out; a win, and you move to the next game. Basketball lovers track the games bracket, making predictions about who will move on to the next level. In fact, March Madness is the center of millions of dollars exchanging hands in office pools and friendly bets. In 2012, March Madness betting surpassed Superbowl betting around the country.
While your college might not look kindly on organizing a large-scale betting pool on campus, you can still predict games and compete with your friends to see whose results are closest to reality. In order to make that group competition easier, Studio Neat — entrepreneurs who have successfully funded such projects as their iPhone tripod mount, Glif, and their Cosmonaut stylus — have developed a project called Simple Bracket, which they are funding through crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter. Simple Bracket is an iPhone app developed to fill in the brackets and track your competition with friends. To make it work, Studio Neat is changing the user interface provided by most bracket apps, featuring an improved scoring system, and is further integrating their app with social networking so you can celebrate your triumphs over your friends via Twitter.
Harrison Weber, reporting on the Kickstarter (which concludes on March 5, 2013) in his February 6, 2013 article “The duo behind Glif and Cosmonaut return to Kickstarter with Simple Bracket app for March Madness” for The Next Web, concluded: “Regardless of your interest in sports, it’s exciting to see such aesthetic value and fresh thinking applied to a space that is normally not receiving a ton of attention from the design community.”
Baking for baskets
Maybe you’re just not that into basketball. No problem! You can still celebrate the sport (and get brownie points from all your basketball loving friends) by making some seasonally appropriate treats. If your friends are getting together for the big game, consider making any of these ideas from the SnackPicks.com article “March basketball game time goodies and snacks“:
- Homemade trail mix
- Mustard-Parmesan dip and crackers
- Store bought pretzel crackers
- Store bought cookies good for dunking
Feeling more ambitious? Consider making a chili, either from scratch or from a can, and providing crackers and tortilla chips for dipping. If you enjoy baking, you could make some basketball shaped cookies, and even feature your school mascot, like Erin Mccammack demonstrated on her February 21, 2013 post on ELM’s Hot Stuff, “Butler bulldog cookies.” Even if your college isn’t one of the 68 schools competing, you can still show your school spirit while celebrating the competition — and maybe your contribution will even be one of the high points of the game.
Remember the historic moments
Of course, cookies and snacks can’t stand up to the high points of all of NCAA’s March Madness history. To make it easy to access those historic game changers, the NCAA has created its own YouTube channel, NCAA OnDemand. Along with the high points of the tournament, the channel is also prepared for fan involvement. “After allowing fans to watch those clips, the NCAA” will ask them to determine the players, teams, and moments that stand out the most by using an online poll, Ryan Lawler reported in “To celebrate 75 years of March Madness, the NCAA launches OnDemand YouTube channel” for TechCrunch on February 12, 2013. “The idea is to use the YouTube experience as a funnel to help drive traffic to the more comprehensive NCAA video page.”
So whether you’re baking, looking at the high points of March Madness over the years, or donating to a Kickstarter to help out the next big thing in March Madness apps, get ready for the tournament… It’s almost here!