Is there method behind March Madness?
The AT & T Stadium in Arlington Texas gets ready for the Final Four of "March Madness." (Getty Images)
April 4th, 2014
05:10 PM ET

Is there method behind March Madness?

Every March in the United States a number of words and phrases come back into use among millions of Americans – bracket, Cinderella, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four and March Madness.

The men's college basketball tournament – a three week playoff between 68 teams that culminates in the Final Four – has become an obsession with sports fans and non-sports fans alike.

The tournament often sees favorites lose early and surprise "Cinderellas" make deep runs. The teams may feature a future NBA player or two, but for the most part, players are 18-22 years of age and enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience before graduating and moving on with their lives.

It's win and advance or go home and contemplate what might have been.

It's estimated that U.S. companies lose billions of dollars in productivity during March Madness, with the Columbus Dispatch newspaper reporting $1.2 billion is lost during each unproductive hour of the opening week of the competition, with many games played during office hours.

Perhaps it's fitting that the Final Four this season is played at the Dallas Cowboys' state-of-the art $1.3 billion AT & T Stadium.

Kentucky, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Florida are the last four universities standing after surviving the carnage of competition.

Over 50 million Americans filled out a bracket – a sheet of paper that maps out each basketball clash throughout the three weeks – and many of them took part in office pools in the hope that they would win some cash from their co-workers.

Even billionaire Warren Buffet offered up $1 billion to anyone who picked a perfect bracket in 2014. After just one game, 80% of people who entered his challenge were out, and by the second full day of competition, all brackets were busted.

That's not too surprising given the odds of picking a perfect bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion (9.2 billion multiplied 1 billion times).

U.S. President Barack Obama has annually filled out his own bracket, and has only guessed the champion on one occasion – back in 2009. Only Florida survives from his Final Four picks this time around.

The Connecticut players took some time to have fun with the President, tweeting:

It's hard to find a similar sporting event that grips an entire country in this manner. And whether you're a sports fan or not, you have to admit, there's a method to March Madness.

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Filed under:  U.S. Sport
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Samson mbakwe

    Am realy intrested, and wish to do beter in any play.

    April 4, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  2. College athletics is professional sports

    Yep, nothing like it in any other American sport. Could you imagine the loss of productivity if NCAA football D1 schools had a similar tournament. The whole country would probably stop.

    April 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm | Reply

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