March Madness is almost upon us, folks. The conference tournaments are in full swing, dozens of teams are already officially dancing, and we're just under a week away from the official start of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. But forget all of that - you just want to know one thing.
When is my March Madness bracket due?
See, this answer used to be very simple. Back when there were 64 teams in the field, brackets were always due by Noon on the Thursday following Selection Sunday (March 16th this year). Now, there are 68 teams in the tournament, with four virtual "play-in" games, affectionately known as the "First Round" on Tuesday and Wednesday. Therefore:
Most sites allow you to submit all of your picks before those Tuesday/Wednesday games. But, after seeing the results of those first four games, you're usually allowed to change your picks for the then-64-team bracket before Thursday at Noon. Make sense?
I'd like to say that it doesn't matter, but it does. In 2011, VCU, an 11-seed, defeated USC in one of these "First Round" games and eventually made it all the way to the Final Four. So pay attention, you just might find a big-time sleeper pick playing in one of those first two days.