March 14th, 2010 Greets NCAA Tourney Time with a New Dance

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

If you are even the most casual of sports fans, work in an office or live somewhere in the United States, you know what March means on the sporting calendar.

It’s “madness” time in college basketball, when brackets abound and pools are plentiful. Xerox Monday — after Selection Sunday — takes many of us to the copy machine so that we can take way too many cracks at building that impossible perfect bracket., however, wants you to consider a different way to pick your teams: via fantasy draft.

“Innovation is the key to growth in the world of fantasy sports,” said Jeff Thomas, CEO of World Fantasy Games. “Most fantasy companies offer a bracket contest. Nobody has a draft. Applying our patent-pending social gaming model to the NCAA Tournament was a natural, with on-demand live drafts inside our virtual-world draft room. RapidDraft is true differentiation in the marketplace and can complement a bracket game on any fantasy site.”

RapidDraft Hoops Madness pits a consumer against three avatars backed by expert opinion and strategy. The four teams tip off with a 16-round draft in which every NCAA tournament team is selected. (The two play-in participants act as one team here. And yes, NCAA, that is a play-in game.) The “Fantasy Pros” draft according to specifications set forth by this site, and Sara Holladay — best known as the FF Librarian.

“I’ve never had the chance to combine fantasy sports with March Madness, so I’m excited to see that RapidDraft has stepped up to the plate and taken it to the next level,” Holladay told “Everything is better with a touch of fantasy.”

Once the four fantasy squads are drafted, you score points for every victory by one of your NCAA teams. Points are awarded in a seed-times-round format — meaning a second-round win by a No. 4 seed, for example, would garner 8 points. Another 1.5 bonus points are available each time your total score for a round beats that of a Fantasy Pro team in your league, up to 4.5 bonus points per round.

“I love the unique concept that RapidDraft has come up with,” said Jim Day, an avid fantasy gamer, founder of and host of multiple shows on BlogTalkRadio’s The Fantasy Sports Channel. “The draft is something you just don’t see on any other March madness contest and will provide another exciting way to play one of the most enjoyable and exciting tournaments in sports.”

In the end, of course, you’re really competing against all of the other human players, with 50 guaranteed cash prizes and a $2,500 grand prize. That’s not a bad return on a free entry. Consumers can draft up to twelve times each, three times per draft position.

The different format might scare off a bracket traditionalist at the start, but the system still awards you for properly projecting which higher seeds will stick around longer and grabbing a Cinderella or two. Just imagine how many points George Mason would have gotten you back in 2006, or Davidson just two years ago.

It’s a new twist with different layers of strategy for experienced bracket fillers, yet Hoops Madness is still easy enough for the beginner or casual player. At its base, this is still just a game in which you pick the teams you think will win.

As more and more people grow familiar and comfortable with fantasy games, though, it might just prove a format that catches on big-time.

“Consumers will play both,” Thomas said. “If you follow college basketball and you love the excitement of a fantasy draft, RapidDraft Hoops Madness is for you.”

Should you decide to play along, here’s a bit of unsolicited advice: Don’t wait too long to take a shot on Xavier. A top-15 team in’s rankings for adjusted offensive efficiency, the Musketeers have a decent-looking draw. As a 6-seed, they could score 36 Hoops Madness points by winning just three games. A No. 1 seed, by comparison, would tally just 21 by winning the title.

(Note: is owned and operated by World Fantasy Games.)