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  • Chet Gresham

NCAA Tournament Player Pools, What Are They?

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

While NCAA Tournament bracket pools have long dominated bars, offices, and every corner of the world where fine folks like to slap down a few pesos to make March more interesting, I am here to tell you a tale of an even deeper level of March Madness mayhem that combines breathtaking buzzer beaters and upsets with the world of fantasy sports.

NCAA Tournament Fantasy Basketball.

I’ve been playing fantasy sports of all kinds since I was a 12-year-old, and two decades and about 50 pounds later, my favorite fantasy league of the year runs for three weeks each March. I first dipped my toes into the world of NCAA Tournament fantasy fun in 2007. Although Memphis’ Chris Douglas-Roberts didn’t lead my squad to victory as planned, I was instantly hooked as rooting for teams to advance to the next round had grown exponentially more interesting.

NCAA Tournament Fantasy Contests (sometimes referred to as “NCAA Player Pools”) can be easily run amongst groups of friends, coworkers, clowns from the woods, strangers from the internet, or anyone else who is looking to supersize their March rooting interests.

So how does this work, exactly?

Like any normal fantasy league, teams partake in a fantasy draft and select a team of players. In this case, players from any of the 68 NCAA Tournament teams are eligible to be drafted. The goal is to assemble a squad of players that scores the most points from the “play-in” round through the National Championship game. The deeper a team plows into the tournament, the more chances for players to accumulate points.

Most scoring systems work simply on points scored, but rebounds, assists, and piles of other statistics can be added into the mix. Is a star player on a team holding an 11-seed a better bet than the sixth man on a 4-seed? Will you load up on four players from your alma mater in hopes that they roll to the Final Four? These are the decisions looming as Selection Sunday and NCAA Tournament Fantasy Drafts approach. After the tournament field is established, drafts can be hosted on sites like, or simply run through a google doc, conference call, or live in-person. Player lists can be created as easily as referencing top NCAA scorers, or through more in-depth (and awesome) avenues like The Fake Basketball’s own NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet. No matter which way you approach your draft, March will be far more fun with deeper rooting interests.

If you are a fantasy fiend like myself or your annual office bracket pool is growing stale after Norm from accounting won the pot for the third-straight year, wrangle up a group of pals and give NCAA Tournament Fantasy Hoops a shot.

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