The Road to the Final Four, aka the Big Dance, March Madness, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins Thursday, March 15th. 65 teams get a shot at basketball immortality (the winner of the Ivy League regular season meets the winners of 30 conference tournaments plus 34 at-large teams decided by the Selection Committee on Sunday, March 11th.) Whew. That's a lot of hoops.
A mathematically astute reader may question how 65 teams can play in a single-elimination tournament. Cinchy: The two lowest seeded (read: crummiest) teams have a play-in game. The winner of the play-in earns the right to take on the highest seeded team in the country. Now we’re talkin’.
This year’s final is to be played on April 2nd in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. That’s a Monday, should you want to watch, or schedule to be otherwise occupied. Many of your male coworkers have been known to call in sick with acute cases of the Final Four flu. Below, everything you need to know while they're out faking it. (Or skip straight to the March Madness: good-excuse-to-throw-a-party section. Your choice.)