It’s that time of year again, when even C-level execs brush aside all notions of productivity to watch the 2012 NCAA Tournament. For several weeks, 24 basketball teams fight their way for the NCAA championship, and cubicle dwellers across the country bite their nails, hoping they picked the most accurate bracket predicting the winner of each game. Many offices hold pools worth both cold hard cash and bragging rights, which can often be won by the most unsuspecting person — such as the brand new secretary who might not know much about basketball, but got a 4.0 in her statistics course in college.
For those who don’t have the time for March Madness — or endless hours analyzing stats the way your secretary is secretly spending her evenings just to prove a point — there’s an app for that. (If you’re not surprised, don’t worry — we aren’t either.) PickMyBracket is a Web-based app that allows users to pick a stat to emphasize in picking the winning teams. These stats are notably limited, and your options only include offense, rebounds, defense, or assists. However, don’t worry; you can also choose a “random” stat to add to your bracket methodology including the type of mascot, the “hotness” of coeds, the partying reputation of each school, and SAT scores of the school.
After you choose your top stat from each category, PickMyBracket will generate a bracket for you. If you don’t like your results, you can click “try again” to see a slightly different bracket, which, of course, makes me question just how random this bracket is and whether your statistical choices even matter. That said, if you really don’t have time to make your own bracket, PickMyBracket does generate a reasonable bracket each time, and one that I’d be proud to show my friends or submit to my office pool should I have an office. While PickMyBracket users don’t have the option to win anything for using their bracket creation system (as you can’t join a pool using the app), users can enter for a chance to win a “brand new” iPad for “liking” the app on Facebook. (Though if you do decide to use PickMyBracket, you might not tell anyone how you made your picks anyway.)
However, if you still want to make your bracket the old-fashioned way, you have several options. If you want to join a pool online with friends or family, you can create a group online at FOX. However, as Gizmodo points out, the downside to this choice is the lack of full-bracket view; you can only see each round at a time. Its $1 million prize may be well worth the pain, however.
Other choices include ESPN, NBC, Yahoo!, and CBS. CBS, which Gizmodo also says is the best way to go about filling out your bracket due to its “most inclusive list of ways to invite your friends to join your illegal gambling group,” also offers an Android and iPhone app — a must-have since you’re probably not watching the games at home (and who wants to carry around their bracket in their back pocket for three weeks?). While you may want to do a little research about your teams, we understand that not everyone has time for March Madness yet still wants a chance at those bragging rights in the office. Just be sure not to announce to everyone that you picked your teams based on the school colors or mascot until you win.
However you choose to create your bracket, be sure to fill yours out ASAP — most brackets must be finished by the first game of the second round (which is tomorrow, March 15th) to be qualified to participate in a pool.
What is your favorite app to follow the NCAA Tournament? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.