March Madness is finally here! Illinois obviously didn't make the 68-team field, but we can all still have some fun by competing in a bracket group. This year, SB Nation has partnered with Realtime Brackets so that's the service we'll be using for the next three weeks! Realtime Brackets has an option that allows you to change your picks during games, but we WILL NOT be doing that. This will be a traditional group with traditional rules.
We won't be playing for any prizes this time around, but we'll recognize the winner on the site's main page and give a shoutout on Twitter and Facebook.
Here's how YOU can join the official TCR NCAA Tournament bracket group:
How to Play
1. Become a member of TCR
This only takes 30 seconds and it's free. If you're not already a member, Just head to the bottom of this page, check the box to agree to the terms and conditions, and click "Join The Champaign Room."
2. Sign up for Realtime Brackets
Click the above link and sign up for Realtime Brackets. It'll automatically generate a bracket username for you, but please rename the entry to match your TCR account (can be found under "settings" towards the top-right of the page). That will make it easier for us to recognize the winner(s).
3. IMPORTANT: Choose the "Traditional" game
Realtime Brackets offers three game types, but we'll be going with the traditional rules and settings. Everyone must have their picks set by the time the first game starts on Thursday.
4. Join our group (ONE ENTRY PER PERSON)
Once you've signed up, click the "Groups" tab, and search for our private group. The group name is "The Champaign Room". The password is "Illinois". Then click join. You can also just follow this link.
5. Fill out your bracket
Like I said above, please do this before the first game of the NCAA Tournament (around 11 a.m. Thursday). You can read about the scoring system and all other Realtime Bracket rules and procedures here.
Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Jim Vainisi on Twitter at @JVainisi005.