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    We used to pray for times like this.

    UConn, Miami, San Diego State, and Florida Atlantic – three first-timers, two mid-majors, and zero top-three seeds. The best part? No blue bloods!

    Last year, we were forced to endure Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, and Villanova. That’s three of the bluest bloods around plus the Wildcats, who had won two of the five previous tournaments. Carolina was a No. 8 seed, so we got to pretend it was a Cinderella. Yay.

    This year, college basketball fans are feasting on one of the most unique tournaments ever, which has aptly delivered a masterfully memorable Final Four cast. It’s the sort of national semifinals that would make you roll your eyes when a video game generates it.

    Sure, you can point out that Connecticut has won four national championships since 1999 and is probably on a level right below the blue bloods, and you’d have a point. But at least the Huskies are a No. 4 seed, have not been around this time of year for a decade, and are known as an agent of anarchy. Besides, beggars can’t be choosers – realistically, it’s not getting any better than this.

    In our awe of the extraordinary, we’d be remiss not to revel in perhaps the greatest unintended consequence of this Final Four, which won’t be felt by laypeople: sad TV executives!

    Neither Texas nor Kentucky is walking through those doors. The suits have to live with two teams in conferences they’ve probably never heard of, a football school, and a cow college in a 15,000-person town. I mean these descriptions with zero malice. Remember, I’m loving this; it’s the execs who aren’t.

    So, what does it mean? Why is this happening? Are we freed from the chains of champions past, no longer under the boot of the blue-blood oligarchy?

    No, definitely not. Drink this in, because it’s not something that will happen again. The stars have aligned, but they won’t put the status quo six feet deep.

    We’re witnessing the culmination of Covid eligibility waivers, the transfer portal, and barely-regulated NIL all jumbled up together to create this insane warp that won’t exist forever. The most adaptive will always thrive best, and programs that maximized these opportunities have reaped the rewards.

    These abnormalities are felt in each Final Four side this season. To varying degrees, all schools are getting in on NIL, but Miami in particular stood out as a big spender last offseason, and transfers from other Division I programs and fifth-year players are rampant in each roster.

    These are the players whom you’ll see this Saturday, all because of these conditions:

    San Diego State

    Transfers: Matt Bradley (California, 2021), Darrion Trammell (Seattle, 2022), Jaedon LeDee (TCU, 2022), Micah Parrish (Oakland, 2022)

    Fifth-Year Players: Matt Bradley, Nathan Mensah, Adam Seiko, Aguek Arop

    Florida Atlantic

    Transfers: Vlad Goldin (Texas Tech, 2021), Bryan Greenlee (Minnesota, 2020), Jalen Gaffney (UConn, 2022)

    Fifth-Year Players: Michael Forrest


    Transfers: Jordan Miller (George Mason, 2021), Nijel Pack (Kansas State, 2022), Norchad Omier (Arkansas State, 2022)

    Fifth-Year Players: Jordan Miller


    Transfers: Tristen Newton (East Carolina, 2022), Joey Calcaterra (San Diego, 2022), Naheim Alleyne (Virginia Tech, 2022), Hassan Diarra (Texas A&M, 2022)

    Fifth-Year Players: Joey Calcaterra

    The Final Four does not look like this if not for the environment everyone is undergoing right now. There is no substitute for experience. Miami wouldn’t have the guards it does, UConn would lack depth, Florida Atlantic wouldn’t be as good on the glass, and San Diego State would be fielding a lot of freshmen.

    This will end, though. At some point, NIL will become more regulated. The transfer portal seems likely to stay, but the granting of extra eligibility for surviving the pandemic will stop. There will be more certainty, which means less chaos.

    A mid-major is guaranteed to play in the national championship, and only one of these Final Four participants has ever been here before. Florida Atlantic had never even won a tournament game before this March. We might get an all-south Florida final. We’re in the midst of something truly special, and it’s on us to appreciate the moment.

    Don’t worry, CBS and Turner executives, we’ll be back to the usual suspects in no time.

    CBB FAQs

    When are brackets due for March Madness?

    For March Madness Bracket pools, brackets typically are due before the start of the First Four games on March 15. However, on RunYourPool, commissioners have the ability to select their own due date for when brackets need to be submitted. Commissioners can access this setting by viewing their Commissioner Console and clicking on the Pool Settings.

    How do I run a March Madness bracket for my office?

    To run a March Madness Bracket Pool for your office, head over to! RunYourPool offers a plethora of different pool options to ensure the fun and competition amongst participants. Additionally, RunYourPool allows pool commissioners to customize and modify pools the way they see fit. It should take less than five minutes to set up your pool and start inviting colleagues!

    How do you win your NCAA bracket?

    To win a traditional March Madness Bracket pool, you will need to correctly select the winners of as many of the tournament's games as possible. In most March Madness contests, the point total of each correct selection increases with each ensuing round, culminating in the most important pick of all: the national championship game winner!

    How do I fill out an NCAA bracket?

    To fill out a March Madness Bracket, you will try to select the winner of every game of the tournament. The bracket begins with 68 teams and culminates in a championship between the final two remaining teams. You can fill out your bracket using RunYourPool and compete against friends, colleagues, family and more!

    What is a March Madness Head-to-Head Pool?

    A March Madness Head-to-Head Pool is a type of pool in which participants are randomly assigned one of the tournament's 64 teams. Participants advance if their team covers the spread, which allows every entry and team to have a chance of winning. If a team loses outright but covers the spread, the participant who's team covered will advance to the next round with the winning team.

    What is the best way to play a March Madness Head-to-Head Pool?

    The best way to play a March Madness Head-to-Head Pool is to set it up using RunYourPool and invite all of your friends! Setting up the pool and inviting participants is easy and should take less than five minutes. Next, you can randomize or assign the teams that participants will have.

    Are March Madness brackets legal?

    March Madness Brackets are completely legal to fill out and compete against fellow pool entries and users. Multiple softwares, including RunYourPool, will run sweepstakes and public contests for users to vie for a grand prize. Bracket pools must be in compliance with RunYourPools’s Terms and Conditions and must be for entertainment purposes only.

    What is a March Madness Squares Pool?

    A March Madness Squares Pools contains a 10x10 grid with each row and column being numbered 0-9. Prior to the tournament's start, pool members can login and select their squares. Next, when the tournament begins, the grid numbers are revealed. Members keep the same squares for each game and RunYourPool keeps track of the winners and other helpful statistics.

    How does the NCAA select its teams?

    32 of the 68 basketball teams that are selected for the NCAA tournament receive automatic entry into the competition as a result of winning their conference championship. The remaining teams get what's know as an "at-large bid," which extended by the NCAA selection committee based on the team's performance throughout the season.

    What is a March Madness bracket pool?

    A March Madness Bracket is a competition where players attempt to select the winning teams of each round of the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Tournament in March. Traditionally, players would fill out a paper bracket and hand it into a pool commissioner. In recent years, software like has digitized and streamlined the process for speed and ease.

    How many teams are in March Madness?

    March Madness begins with 68 teams that are announced on Selection Sunday, March 13, 2022. The First Four consists of four games and the winners advance to the Round of 64. The following rounds are the Round of 32, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and finally, the National Championship game.

    What is a March Madness Surivor Pool?

    A March Madness Survivor Pool is a type of pool where participants select one team to win their game for every day of the tournament. Typically, entries are only allowed to select each team once and the last entry standing wins! Survivor pools are a really fun way for entries to compete and test their knowledge

    What is the best way to play a March Madness Survivor Pool?

    The best way to play a March Madness Survivor Pool is to make a pool or join one using RunYourPool. Participants find it helpful to try to map out their picks ahead of the start of the tournament, and save the higher seeded teams for the later round picks of the survivor pool.

    How long is March Madness?

    March Madness takes place over three weeks, starting the First Four, First Round and Second Round in one week. The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight take place during the second week, while the Final Four and National Championship are played on Saturday and Monday the following week.

    What are the odds of a perfect March Madness bracket?

    Experts say that the odds of you crafting a perfect bracket in March Madness run from 1 in 120 billion to 1 in 9.2 quintillion, depending on how much you know about the teams, and about basketball. To put that in perspective, your odds of winning the lottery are significantly better, at 1 in 292 million.

    What is a March Madness Pick-X Pool?

    March Madness Pick X is a pool format in which the pool commissioner specifies a specific amount of teams that every participant will select. For each win of a team selected, participants will be awarded the amount of points of that team's seed, generally encouraging entrants to pick upsets. At the end of the tournament, the entry with the most points is the champion.

    What are Mid-Major teams?

    Mid-Major Teams are universities and colleges that play Division I basketball, are not part of a major conference such as the SEC or Big Ten. Mid-Major Teams are a substantial part of March Madness, as they regularly win lots games from mid-tiered conferences. Some examples of Mid-Major conferences are the WCC, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, and Conference USA. Upsets usually occur from Mid-Major schools.

    What is the lowest seed to win the NCAA Tournament?

    In the March Madness Tournament, one of the higher seeds usually ends up winning it all. However, there have been a few occurrences where a lower seed fought their way to eternal glory. In 1985, Villanova won the Championship as a No. 8 seed and is the lowest seed to win in the tournament’s history.


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