And so it begins. Everyone and their mother suddenly becomes a mathematician to figure out stats, rankings, probability and who is most likely to win it all. That’s right. It’s March Madness. Most people have a bracket ready to go and have bets going with friends and family. If you haven’t made it that far yet, you can find a bracket here to fill out:

Okay, so personally I know nothing. I show up to sporting events and parties for the food and fun. Let’s be honest here, isn’t that a little true for everyone? But don’t worry we will get to the food and fun portion in a minute (I mean what’s a Gordo’s Cheese Dip blog without talking about cheese dip?) Right now we are going to break down what is really going on when we fill out those fun brackets and make friendly competition over basketball. So here’s the skinny, the annual college basketball championship is arguably the most popular sporting event of the year (yes, it can even compete with the Super Bowl.) Why? That’s easy. There are 68 different teams whose fans believe they will win it all.

#### Okay so first question for a poorly informed sports fan like myself. How do you pick the 68 teams?

68 is a ton of people to compete for something across the nations. Apparently this isn’t a quick process of picking the teams who get to play. There are committees, three different phases, and tons of rules. I could sit and sum it all up but I’ll let you check it out for yourself on the NCAA site.

#### The next question I had was why we fill out brackets.

I mean, we don’t all play brackets for football season so what’s the big deal? I came up with two main reasons it is important:

Reason #1: Sometimes college basketball fans have been known to place a friendly wager on the outcome of these games and in order to collect, you have to play. Thus, a completed bracket is required to win against friends. And who doesn’t love to win stuff?

Reason #2: actually listing the winners of each game on an official-looking ledger gives you and your buddies a golden opportunity to make fun of the dumb decisions we all make under the pre-tournament pressure. “But my cousin went to Mercer and HE says they are unstoppable this year!”

Okay, so neither reason is very legit as to why you should make a bracket other than it’s a fun thing to do while you wait for football season to come back around. Barring a miracle, there’s no chance that you are going to pick more than about 60% accurately. According to Jeffrey Bergen, a professor of mathematics at DePaul University, “the chances of someone filling out a perfect bracket is 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.” Yeah. So there’s that.

#### This aroused the next question. What is the best way to essentially guess who is going to win?

Here are some ideas to help fill out your bracket for optimum success. First, looking at the 7 mistakes not to make this year on your bracket. Suggestion #1? Don’t follow your heart. Weird because our whole lives we have been told to follow our hearts and achieve our dreams. Well this isn’t one of those times. These decisions are based on date and rankings. Don’t worry, we have all the rankings right here so you can pretend you know all this stuff.

My personal favorite suggestion of picking your winning teams?  You can choose a winner based on the school’s mascot. According to the Wall Street Journal, if you choose to use the mascot picking tactic, of the animal kingdom. So pick animals, not teams. That just sounds way more fun!

#### Alright, time for food. We have rounded up some of the best recipes for watching the games at home.

A good tournament watching party takes lots of detailed preparation and intense planning….Jokes. You can throw together any good party in a flash. You simply turn on every TV in the house, invite your most vocal friends over, chill down some adult beverages and lay out a food spread that will help your guests keep their energy levels up while they watch the games.

The first critical requirement for watching parties: copious amounts of Gordo’s Cheese Dip and something to dip into this magical elixir (obviously.) What’s the best thing for dipping? You can go with a basic tortilla and corn chips, a classic. There’s a little healthier with some veggies, surprisingly delicious. You can go a little fancier with a nice bread. Bread is really good with Gordo’s Cheese Dip Original, a little white wine, and rosemary. Sounds strange to add wine and herbs to cheese dip but it makes for a nice little fondue.

Here’s a list of awesome appetizers for a hungry crowd: