Site Functionality

Q: Why did you add the upset bonus to the scoring?

A:  As the number of entries got larger, I kept seeing more and more ties on the leaderboard; so I added the upset bonus in 2002.  The upset bonus allows more variation in points and lessens the likelihood of a tie.  With more variation in points, I could also expand the number of ways to pay out prizes such as BEST 1st DAY.  With only 16 games on the first day, it was just too easy to tie without the upset bonus. In 2016, I increased the points per round so that the upset bonus does not have so much weight.

Q: What is a sub-leaderboard?

A:  A sub-leaderboard allows you to build your own custom leaderboard with your own custom scoring.  You can build a leaderboard that only shows the subset of friends that you want.  You can keep it open so anyone can join, or you can lock it so that only you can modify it. You can also make it public so all can see it or private so that only people in the leaderboard can see it.

Q: I am able to save a bracket as "Incomplete" if I want come finish my picks later. What happens if I forget to finish it by the cutoff at first tip-off.

A: Unless you delete it prior to the first tip, the short answer is that you still owe for the bracket. The bracket will still be entered into the overall pool, but the good news is that your empty games will not count as a sure loss. All incomplete games in your incomplete bracket will be automatically populated with the highest seeded team that you picked in the previous game. In the Final Four, it is possible that you have two #1 seeds facing each other. In this case, the computer will pick the top #1 seeds as picked by the selection committee.

Q: Do I have to pay extra for the Sweet-16 bracket?

A:  No.  Every bracket entered gets to enter the second chance Sweet-16 pool.  It has no extra cost.  After the first two rounds, many people's brackets are already out of the running.  The Sweet-16 pool gives another change to win a prize.  Sunday night after the second round ends, the site will let you enter a brand new bracket of the Sweet-16 teams.  The Sweet-16 bracket does not effect your original picks in any way. (See: Sweet-16 FAQ)

Q: I sent my payment, but I am still listed as unpaid?

A:  I still update the payment status by hand.  This is the one thing that I have not been able to automate.  I try to update the paid status every night.

Q: What is new on the site this year?

A: This year, I hoped to migrate my code to take advantage of a framework called Bootstrap which would allow my pages to be 'responsive'. This means they would resize and reshape automatically to fit in mobile phones, tablets, and all the up to large monitors. It would also make the site look more modern. I hope to get it done by next year. You can get a sneak peek what it may look like at the NEW STYLE LEADERBOARD page.

I did add an integration to automatically update the winners by using a technology called JSON to get scores and finals from ESPN. I also modified the login screens to do better validation of input fields which caused several errors last year since new browsers didnt like my really old Javascript.

I did update NCAA BRACKET HISTORY to show brackets back to the first tournament in 1939. I also added a table showing which teams have won multiple champsionships. UCLA sits at the top with 11. I increased the amount we will donate to charity and will give to a local charity in my area.

Q: In the STATS section, why does your NCAA Bracket History and History of Team Appearances only go back to 1985?

A: 1985 was the first year that they expanded to 64 teams. You can view historical brackets from the NCAA HISTORY page. You can view historical team appearances from the TEAM APPEARANCES page. I did finally add history for year before 1985 all the way back to the first NCAA tournament in 1939.

Site History

Q: How long have you been doing a March Madness pool?

A: The pool has been going since 1989.  I started while in college and charged only $2/entry.

Q: Have you always done the pool on your web site?

A:  No.  Al Gore did not invent the Internet until he became Vice-President in the mid 1990s.  Hence, I started the old fashioned way and scored everything by hand in the beginning.  I used to score over 100 paper entries every night while in college so that I could manually post the leaderboard in our fraternity front hall every night. I eventually build an Excel spreadsheet to calculate scores and then later built an Access database. In 1998, I moved to the web.

Q: Have you ever won your own pool?

A:  No, but I did get second place once.  It was in 1995 when UCLA won it all.  I tied for second with my future wife. My future mother-in-law won it all that year.  As you can image, participation in the pool was down the following year. In 2005, I tied for 5th place as can be seen on the HISTORY page.


Q: What technology did you use to build this site?

A:  First, I have my domain name hosted by a web hosting company which runs the UNIX web server. To make the pages dynamic, I coded the pages in something called PHP. The pages also use JavaScript to validate your input bracket and create the drop-down menus.   My web hosting company has a MySQL database where I store all the bracket data after you hit SUBMIT. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is used to format the site. This year I started to migrate my code to take advantage of a framework called Bootstrap which would allow my pages to be 'responsive'. This means they would resize and reshape automatically to fit in mobile phones, tablets, and all the up to large monitors. I didn't have time to do it and plan to get it done by next year. This year, I built a new integration with technology called JSON to automatically get the winners of each game and automatically update the site. Now the only thing I have yet to automate is taking your input fee. If I move to electronic payments only, I probably can get that one automated also.

Q: Do you skim any money for yourself?

A:  Absolutely not.  One of the prizes is given to a local charity(MLB of Glenview). Otherwise, all entry fee money coming in goes out in prizes. That way, I have a clean conscience when claiming income to IRS.

Q: Can I invite my friends to join?

A:  I am not trying to maximize the number of entries, so please do not invite everyone you know to join. If I know you personally, you are welcome to invite a few good friends. Everyone that joins needs to reference you when they join. Two degrees of separation is the limit I try to keep.

Q: Why do you dislike Duke so much?

A:  I dislike Dook for the same reasons I do not like Notre Dame football.

Technical Problems

Q: I forgot my password. How can I log in?

A:  Each year you create a brand new ID, which is now your email. If you forget your password, you can have a password reset link sent to you from the LOST PASSWORD page.

Q: I am getting an error when trying to input my teams.  How can I fix it.

A:  You are probably using an old browser or have Javascript turned off.  Please try using a modern browser.  This should fix your problem.  If you cannot fix your problem, please send me an email at Please put the word NCAA in the subject line so that your email does not get overlooked in the spam.

Q: I have tried everything, and I still cannot get the site to work? What can I do?

A: Ask your children. They can likely help with your computer skills. If you really have problems, please email me at

Q: My site keeps giving me a warning about cookies? Why?

A:  A cookie is a little identifier written to your hard drive that allows my web site to know who you are.  This allows you to navigate between your custom pages without needed to log in every time.  If your browser does not allow cookies, the site should still work; it will just prompt you for a log on when necessary.

Q: I hit a link and it took me to a "FILE NOT FOUND" page.  Why? 

A:  I may have accidentally left a link to a page that no longer exists.  If so, please email me so that I can fix it.