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July 31, 2014

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Three bracket-free ways to play the NCAA Tournament

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The NCAA tournament begins on March 13.

Low impact

Number a sheet of paper 1 through 64 (or 68, if you want to get it done before the play-in games), and have friends and coworkers put their names beside their desired number(s). When all the spaces are filled, draw the tournament teams from a hat, one by one. First team goes to No. 1, second to No. 2 and so on. If you’ve got No. 22 and the 22nd name drawn is Western Kentucky, congratulations: The Hilltoppers are yours for the tourney! If only your daughter had been born one day earlier (see: the guy in marketing who got the actual Kentucky on line 21) …

Some skills required

You and seven buddies pick eight tournament teams each, by way of draft. The order goes 1-8, 8-1, 1-8 and so on, so the guy with the eighth pick doesn’t have to pick last each round. Total tourney victories—by your eight teams, combined—wins, which means it’s not just about deciding between North Carolina and Syracuse in Round 1. It’s about choosing between Wichita State and Wisconsin in the middle, and Valparaiso and Belmont toward the end.

Serious fans only

Call this one fantasy basketball, March Madness-style. Ten owners draft 10 players apiece from NCAA Tournament teams. Total points—all the points those 10 players score in the tourney, combined—wins. Is it better to draft the sixth-best scorer on Kansas, which could realistically play six games, or the top scorer on Creighton, which could get knocked out in Round 1? Only you can decide.

Remember, our suggestions are for entertainment purposes only. If you choose to involve real money, don’t come asking us for a refund.

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