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National Bracket Day!

Andy Williams was wrong, so very wrong.  This is the most wonderful time of the year.

Why?  Because we are on the cusp of the greatest national sporting event in world…the NCAA Tournament.  The men’s version, not that joke of a women’s version.  68 teams competing over three weeks in 67 games, with the action to begin tomorrow night.  It’s the event that showed the world that Cinderella was more than just some oppressed hot blonde that lost a shoe.  It’s the event that (allegedly) costs companies a billion dollars in productivity every third Thursday and Friday in March.  It’s the event that made small schools like Butler and Gonzaga and George Mason household names.  I could go on and on about it, but Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports sums it up perfectly here.

And to my friends in England, your FA Cup sucks compared to this.  Maybe if Sunderland didn’t bow out early every time (since I became a fan, I know about 1973), then that might change.

But what’s just as much fun as the actual event itself is the anticipation of the event.  From the moment the brackets are released at 5:00 P.M. on Selection Sunday, millions of people across the country print out and make copies of numerous brackets to make their picks on who they think will make the Final Four and win the national championship, picking winners in all the match-ups along the way.

It’s so popular, that the NCAA is sponsoring something in part this year for that anticipation, National Bracket Day.  Sure, it’s part of the new deal that sees CBS and Turner Sports take over the tourney, but it’s still pretty cool.  It’s basically a day for everyone to try and get their picks in, although every tournament pool I’ve seen so far counts those play-in games as one team.

So take a few moments, hours or so, to fill in your brackets on this wonderful day.  In fact, do it at the official Illinois Fantasy League’s pool on Yahoo! and compete to see who’s the best.

It’s March people!  And to get you ready for the tournament, we’ll post a video each day until the real start of the madness, Thursday, from the play-by-play man who embodies what it is all about…Gus Johnson.  Today’s video is a classic from last year, the Sweet 16 match-up between Kansas State and Xavier.

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