Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, I—the local expert on basketball and all things madness—am here to help.
First you have to know about brackets. Brackets are a game designed to separate you from your money and make even the ardent statisticians lose their collective minds. You don’t have to know too much about brackets because yours was busted a long time ago (as was everyone else’s).
Once you’ve figured out that—like the points on Who’s Line Is It Anyway?—brackets don’t matter, you can move on to the important parts of the game—the commercials. Just kidding. Commercials in bball are the standard, boring commercials we always get. Feel free to hit the restroom or get dinner during the commercials. You won’t miss anything.
The next thing you need to know is that if you want to win during March Madness you need a nun on your side. If you don’t have a nun, you’d better play really, really well.
Finally, there are the rules. The rules exist so that the commentators have something to talk about if play slows down. Here are some of the weirder ones.
Players only have 10 seconds (from the time they get the ball) to take a free throw. Delays (and by “delay” I mean taking longer than 10 seconds) means a penalty—which in this case means forfeiting the right to take the shot.
If a player breaks the backboard or bends the rim of the basket during play, the player is charged with a technical foul. The only exception to this is if they cause the damage during warm-ups (even half time warm-ups) in which case only the maintenance crew have to worry about it.
And my fave weird rule: it is possible for a player to foul out and remain in a game. (It’s pretty certain that if this happens the coach is busy having a cardiac event and the commentators are having a field day.) If a player gets his 6th personal foul and all the substitutes have already been disqualified, the player has to stay in the game because the rules say that the team must always have five players on the court. The player will get a personal and team foul. Unlikely to happen, but true.