By HOGAN LEPORE
It is mid-March which means it is time for March Madness. This is when different phrases like RPI, conference championships, last-four-in, first-four-out and bubble teams arise. Those terms no longer matter because after Sunday night’s Selection Show, the stage is set. Ever since the NCAA Tournament began in 1939, brackets have been alive and well. The issue is not the bracket itself, but how people fill out their brackets.
Back in the day, filling brackets were more complicated. One had to write the entire tournament tree out and make multiple copies so one could participate against their friends. Even half of a decade ago, participants would print out the tree, distribute it among friends and fill it out to compete for bragging rights. Well those days are coming to an end.
With so much media and news coming through social media outlets today, it only seems right to have one of sport’s greatest spectacles running through the World Wide Web. The NCAA Tournament is now singing the same tune as online sports leagues like ESPN Fantasy Sports and Yahoo Fantasy Sports. With ESPN’s Tournament Challenge app on iTunes and Google Play stores, fans can compete from their handheld devices. This app makes it easy for anyone to compete and it has more advantages than the hand-written/printed tournament trees.
Connectivity, for one. With everyone connected, participants can compete in as many brackets as they wish. Fan can also compete in celebrity brackets that feature famous personalities and professional athletes where you can face off against your favorite entertainers.
Convenience. Not only does the app make it quick to fill out multiple brackets at a time, but if your friends do not have the March fever, you can still compete against other users around the world.
Not only can you compete but you can also win. By playing in the Tournament Challenge app you have the chance to win a $10,000 Amazon Gift Card and a trip to the 2016 Maui Invitational. It is as easy as creating the perfect bracket.
Despite all the advantages of the online tournaments, there is still something about the good old- fashioned paper brackets that are appealing to people. Many prefer the paper brackets just because of its traditional aspect. Before the internet became top dog, paper brackets were the only way to do March Madness. Additionally, if you happen to create a perfect bracket it is more difficult to document that perfection through an app.
Nevertheless, despite what medium one uses to fill out their bracket, the games are always incredible and if you love basketball this is as close to basketball heaven as you will get. Enjoy the games and make sure you tune in to watch these college teams as they compete with their seasons on the line. All games can be viewed on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV.