Bracketology is defined as “the activity of predicting the participants in and outcomes of the games in a sports tournament, especially the NCAA college basketball tournament.” Yet, for all the scientific methodology some put behind their selections, there are always a number of surprise upsets and random-selection luck. By now, you’re ready to build the perfect bracket — but on which platform? And what’s the best bracket site for joining a public competition versus creating an office group?
If You Want Both Men’s and Women’s Brackets, Choose ESPN’s 2018 Bracket ChallengeEntry deadline: March 15 Pros:
- User-friendly and easy to use
- Fill out both men’s and women’s tournament brackets
- Each matchup has a stats analysis to compare team stats
- Ability to play on the general leaderboard or within personal groups
- Play against celebrity brackets
- Up to $19,950 worth of prizes for the grand prize winner
- Other platforms offer more advanced resources/capabilities
Good for Second Chances: CBS Sports’ Bracket ChallengeDeadline: The start date of each round
- Unique structure lets you create your bracket round by round, so even if you bust out initially, you get a second chance.
- Full bracket features ‘matchup analysis’ to compare teams
- Create up to three brackets to increase your chances
- Run your own pool to compete against friends, co-workers, etc
- A lot of resources for information, tips and more
- The prize is an all-expense paid trip to the 2019 Final Four
- No cash prizes
Round-by-round style is competitive and easy but not for particularly forgetful players or those not keeping up with all the action
Experience Recommended: Bleacher Report’s Bracket ChallengeDeadline: March 15
- Great for big college basketball fans and repeat users.
- Compete within the entire contest or create ‘leagues’ to compete against friends, etc.
- Matchup analysis includes relevant stats and is easy to read.
- “Change a pick” feature gives the unique opportunity to change a pick after the second round of the tournament and prior to March 22.
- Create up to five brackets for the competition.
- Less user-friendly for beginners or new fans.
- No resources or outside information for players.
- Matchup analysis is there but includes fewer stats than their competitors.
For DIRECTV Subscribers Only: March Madness® Experience
Deadline: March 15
- Set up your bracket and follow your picks throughout the tournament (channel 701)
- Follow up to four games at once (channel 702)
- Exclusive for DIRECTV subscribers
Good for Beginners: CBS Local Bracket ChallengeDeadline: March 15
- The system is straightforward and simple to use for beginners or casual players
- Simple to use for beginners and first-time players
- Mobile-friendly play
- Hover over teams for stats comparison for each matchup during bracket selection
- Join private groups to compete against friends or play to compete against the nation
- $5000 Amex gift card for the top winner with $100 gift cards for each round’s winner
- Lacks deeper resources and references or tips for players
- No way to create public groups
There is no such thing as the wrong platform for your bracket challenge, but shopping around can help ensure you’re getting the right features and experience to make the 2018 season as fun as possible.
Just don’t miss the lock-in deadlines!
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