Start flexing those foam fingers, college b-ball fans. The NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments begin this week. And you just know Madison will be all in — especially since Milwaukee is playing host.
That’s right, first and second-round games will be tipping off at Fiserv Forum on Fri., March 18 + Sun., March 20. Tickets are already in high demand, so those who want to score some seats may need to consider the NCAA ticket exchange. Otherwise, best to click on that remote.
Local favorites are well represented in the tourneys, thanks to Wisconsin + Marquette in the men’s bracket. Truly any team has a shot to win it all, so may the odds be ever in their favor.
We’ll help you sort through all the madness to cheer on those home squads whether it’s on the couch or the bar stool. Oh, and don’t forget to vote on the cheese curd bracket, which promises to be a real buzzer beater, too.
Game on 🏀
- Marquette (9) vs. North Carolina (8) | Thurs., March 17 | 3:30 p.m. | TBS | Like the Golden Eagle’s chances? No. 9 seeds have made the second round 50.7% of the time.
- Wisconsin (3) vs. Colgate (14) | Fri., March 18 | 8:50 p.m. | TBS | Like the Badgers’ chances? No. 3 seeds have made the second round — aka the Thankful 32 — 84.7% of the time.
Party till the brackets bust 🎉
- Echo Tap & Grill, 554 W. Main St. | Thurs.-Sun., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. | Get a free drink if your bracket prediction is correct while watching a game there.
- Iron Social, 508 State St. | Thurs., 6-10 p.m., Fri., 4 p.m.-12 a.m. + Sat., 10 a.m.-12 a.m. | Pick up a golf club + catch the game with a drink in hand.
- Bierock, 2911 N. Sherman Ave. | Thurs.-Fri., 3 p.m.-12 a.m. + Sat., 11 a.m.-12 a.m. | Local beers on tap, stuffed bierocks + plenty of apps to keep you going through the games.
Winning picks ✔️
Spoiler alert — if you’ve joined an office or friend-created NCAA pool, you’re going to get some picks wrong, since the chances of selecting a perfect bracket are 9.2 quintillion to one. You just need to be less wrong than the other participants, so keep these other numbers in mind:
- Only once in the past 36 years did all four No. 1 seeds make it to the Final Four in the men’s tournament
- But only 18 teams seeded seventh or worse have reached the Final Four
- No. 1 seeds in the women’s tournament have won almost 80% of championships, and no team seeded worse than No. 3 has won the women’s tourney
In other words, pick a few upsets early, stick to mostly higher seeds late, and more than anything else — have fun.