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What's The Last Moment To Fill Out NCAA Tournament Brackets? Different Deadlines For March Madness Pools, Contests

SUNNYVALE (CBS SF) -- Every March, 60 million Americans or more fill out NCAA brackets, predicting the winner of the men's basketball championship. A good percentage are doing it to be part of the pop culture phenomenon, not because they are sports fans, and this fact leads to mind-numbing confusion about the championship and the office pool.

With games being played this week, even as you fill out your brackets, many people are confused about when they are due, and the answer to that can be even more confusing.

Bottom line? They're due when the dude from accounting running your office pool says they are due. But when are they REALLY due?

The CBS Local national contest that you've heard about on KPIX 5, KCBS Radio, Alice, 99.7 [NOW!], AND LIVE 105 gives you until Thursday, March 19th, 2014, at, "fifteen (15) minutes prior to scheduled tipoff in the first game of the first full round of the men's college basketball tournament (the "Tournament") on Thursday, March 20, 2014 (the "Cutoff"). The games are on KPIX 5, starting at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time, so you can watch and see how your bracket does before lunchtime.

But, as noted above, the entry deadline is when the guy running it says they're due. The other big national contest, the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket in coordination with Sunnyvale's Yahoo, set their own deadlines. If you want a billion bucks, the official rules give the deadline as 10 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, 1:00 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, March 20th, 2014.

So what about the games being played before you turn in the brackets? They're called "First Four" and "Play In" games.  Four teams will have been eliminated to give you the official field of 64 on those nice, symmetrical brackets you fill out for Thursday. You'll probably spot that in the bracket, where you see two options separated with a slash like "CP/TS" and "IA/TN." Only one of those teams will be part of "The Big Dance" come Thursday.

To make matters even more confusing, dozens of other NCAA games are in progress for the NIT--that's National Invitational Tournament. and CBI - College Basketball Invitational.  Ignore them. Your brackets are just for the "NCAA Tournament" (unless that dude in accounting is REALLY a hoops fan and runs a weird pool).

Now you know, so go fill out the NCAA Tournament brackets, but watch the deadlines, because you could lose a billion dollars if you're late.

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