by Ivan Foley
College hoops fans, it’s back. Are you ready?
When the calendar turns to March, it’s time to brace yourselves for The Landmark’s annual Bracket Battle.
This is a local tradition. It’s Platte County’s original, longest-running and most fun bracket contest held in conjunction with the mens national college basketball tournament.
It’s the most talked about bracket contest in the Northland.
Selection Sunday is this weekend: Sunday, March 11. That’s when the bracket pairings are announced and the prognosticating can begin.
This is the 22nd year for The Landmark's war of basketball brains. There may even be some luck involved.
By now, many of you know the drill. Winner gets $100. But here's the real kicker that adds another level of competitiveness and fun: Finish with a better score than Landmark owner/publisher Ivan Foley and you win a one-year free subscription to The Landmark, Platte County's largest paid circulation weekly newspaper.
Entrants get the chance to claim bragging rights over not just Foley but also other members of The Landmark's cast of interesting and occasionally charming characters, including Chris Kamler (@TheFakeNed on Twitter and Rambling Moron columnist on page 3), Greg Hall (@greghall24 noted Kansas City sports media critic), Brian Kubicki (@bkparallax and Parallax Look columnist on page 3), Missouri Hall of Fame photojournalist Bill Hankins, office manager Cindy Rinehart and news reporter Valerie Verkamp. Maybe we’ll even get Debbie Coleman-Topi, Hearne Christopher and Matthew Silber to give it a shot this year.
For newbies, here’s how this thing works:
After the bracket is announced on Sunday, March 12, print off a copy of the bracket from the internet or clip one out of the daily papers. Fill out the entire bracket, making predictions in every tournament game.
Any line left blank is counted as a loss. Any illegible predictions are counted as a loss. Our judges are stressed to the max at grading time so if you make them work too hard to read your entry, that's bad news for you.
You must write in the name of the team you think will win, not the number of the team's seed (this makes for much easier grading by our hard-working, eye-strained staff).
Don't forget to put your name and phone number on your bracket. Make it legible or it will be tossed. Entries without a name will be tossed.
Entries in The Landmark's contest are due by 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 15. Absolutely no late entries will be accepted.
Email your bracket to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax it to 816-858-2313.
Or you can do it the old fashioned way and drop your bracket by The Landmark office located at 252 Main Street in downtown Platte City.
Entries, of course, are free and limited to one per person. Top prognosticator gets $100.
Everybody with a better score than Foley? A one year free subscription to The Landmark.
Scoring in The Landmark contest is done this way:
Two points for each correct first round pick; four points for second round winners; six points for third round winners; eight points in the fourth round; 15 points in the fifth (Final Four) round and 30 points for picking the correct tournament champion. As a potential tiebreaker, write in how many total points you think will be scored in the national championship game. This number must be furnished when you enter your bracket by deadline. No late call ins with this number.
Up-to-date standings will be published in The Landmark as the tournament progresses.
TO FOCUS ON
A special episode of Landmark Live, the newspaper’s weekly live Facebook broadcast, will be held on Wednesday, March 14 the night before the tournament and Bracket Battle begin.
Landmark Live hosts Ivan Foley and Chris Kamler will go over the bracket pairings and make predictions with Dr. David Lowry, a past winner in The Landmark’s Bracket Battle.
This special Landmark Live episode will be broadcast at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at Facebook.com/plattecountylandmark. If you miss the live broadcast the video will remain on the Facebook page for viewing at your leisure.