How to Win A March Madness Pool Even If You Don’t Like Sports

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
For most of the country, March is known as the month of St. Paddy's Day, spring, and the start of daylight savings. For the basketball world, it's all about March Madness. Whether you're a die-hard Duke fan or couldn't care less about seeing a ball go through a hoop, you've probably heard some mention of brackets, the predictions that people put together about which teams will come out on top of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament. Why should you care about them? Because you can earn some sweet cash (and major bragging points) from your office pool if you participate. Luckily, it doesn't matter if you have no clue how to rank the 64 teams: Microsoft's Bing Predicts has partnered with the NCAA to help you figure out who to put where. Just search March Madness on Bing and you'll have access to the predictions, which are assembled using data from 10 years worth of prior game scores, player accomplishments, and more. "A lot of people don't have time to see which team is doing what," says Emily Pearce, a Bing product marketing manager. "We're creating an opportunity for casual fans to get an edge and build a smarter bracket." The search engine also pulls insights from what people are saying about the teams across Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels. Doing so takes into account what's known as the wisdom of the crowd, which the company says collectively leads to a better layer of predictions. Last year, the bracket from Bing Predicts performed better than those created by Google, Facebook, and Sports Illustrated and was 73% accurate overall. While we can't promise that this year's bracket will be 100% on point, your chances of winning a big money pot that you can put toward all sorts of non-sports related fun is definitely higher. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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