33rd ANNUAL WORLD'S TOUGHEST NCAA CONTEST


It's time once again for the most magnificent three weeks of sport every year, and with it, the continuation of the third DECADE of the greatest of all prediction competitions. If this is your first time competing, please don't let the rules intimidate you, as they are actually quite simple.

RULES

Purchase a newspaper on March 12th, (Monday), and locate the NCAA bracket. Using the numbers 1 thru 64, (each once), assign a different number on every team in the tournament field. Your goal is to assign the numbers 1 - 32 on the first round losers, 33 - 48 on the teams which will win one game only, 49 - 56 on the two game winners, 57 - 60 on the three game winners, and 61 - 64 on the final four, with 64 on the eventual champion and 63 on the runner-up. 

There will be 4 playoff games on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 13th and 14th between eight teams to decide the final 64. These games are NOT part of the contest. 

Each bracket on the entry form will display one of the "two-team" play-ins (like Northern_Iowa/Belmont). Whichever team wins the playoff game will be assigned the number you give the pairOnly assign one number to this pair!! For technical reasons, the entry form cannot be updated after this game is played without losing all entries already submitted.  Although these play-in games tend to be somewhat irrelevant, significant numbers of players elect to wait until the play-in games are completed before they attempt to fill out their entries. As a direct consequence, many will run out of time; i.e., some who planned put in 3 entries will settle for 2, two entries will make do with one, and others will skip the main event all together and wait for the Sweet 16 Pool. As always, I will be flooded with a barrage last-minute submissions and questions.  I urge players to work on filling out their entries early, and then perhaps tweaking them slightly if necessary after the play-ins. If you wait until Wednesday night or Thursday morning, chances are strong you will be unable to devote as much time as you would have hoped toward making the best selections.

Of the 32 teams advancing to the second round, you will score 3 points for each team you assigned a number greater than 32. Similarly, you will score 6, 10, 16, 24, and 36 points per team for correctly assigning advancing teams with numbers greater than 48, 56, 60, 62, and 63 respectively in subsequent rounds.

In addition to your base score, every time a team wins - whether you predicted it to win or not (determined by the size of the number on the team) - your score increases by the number you placed on that team! For example, if your team #50 wins its first game, it scores 53 (50 + 3) points for the first round. If it wins its second game, it scores 56 (50 + 6) points for the second round. If it wins subsequent rounds it will score only 50 points each time as you did not give it a high enough number to qualify for the 3rd round bonus.

A brief overview of the bonus structure
pts assigned @ team  1-32 33-48 49-56 57-60 61,62  63  64
# games predicted @ will win    0    1    2    3    4   5   6
bonus earned @ team    0    3    6   10   16  24  36

 

STRATEGY

Fill out the entire bracket and make your best predictions of which teams will win each game.

Place the number  1 on the team you predict will win 0 games            and is least likely to win    1 or more games.
Place the number 32 on the team you predict will win 0 games            but is most likely to win    1 or more games.
Place the number 33 on the team you predict will win at most 1 game  but is least likely to win    2 or more games.
Place the number 48 on the team you predict will win only 1 game      but is most likely to win    2 or more games.
Place the number 49 on the team you predict will win at most 2 games but is least likely to win    3 or more games.
Place the number 56 on the team you predict will win only 2 games     but is most likely to win    3 or more games.
Place the number 57 on the team you predict will win at most 3 games but is least likely to win    4 or more games.
Place the number 60 on the team you predict will win only 3 games     but is most likely to win    4 or more games.

Fill in the gaps following the same procedure, always being careful to place the smaller numbers on the teams least likely to win any given round, and the larger numbers on the teams most likely to win any given round. Note that to stay in contention, winning entries must not only closely forecast the final participants, but also must try to insure that very few of their low numbers advance. In other words, if a team to which you assigned a really low number wins two games, you are probably out of the race.

Use the convenient entry form on the Main page (Available March 13th).

If you have not entered in the past, you must email your intent to play to me before the deadline for entries. In your message, explain how you learned about the contest, and who your sponsor is. New internet entries from unknown players will not be accepted. I will not be accepting entries via snail mail. There just isn't enough time. 

Phone entries from past participants are still allowed, although internet entries are strongly preferred. You may call (630) 244-9292 or (630) 766-5302 anytime before 11am EST, (That's 10am Central) Thursday, March 15th. I'm no longer taking fax entries. Internet entries (via entry form) will be accepted until slightly after noon EST March 8th, (tipoff).

As always, I will accept advance payment for entries in JH's Sweet-16 pool. It is more popular than ever! Entries are now $15 each, and I will accept entries via phone or email for anyone wishing to participate. Multiple entries are common and welcome. Remember to wait until March 18th to submit entries for that one. If you would like to know more about this 2nd chance pool: check out the link on the main page.

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