While local favorites Ohio State and Michigan State get ready for the big dance, millions of office workers are readying their brackets for a chance at big prizes and all-important office bragging rights.
College basketball's NCAA tournament tips off Thursday at Noon.
So is worrying about your brackets being busted bad for
business? Some insiders think so - but others aren't so sure. The outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas is out with a report that claims U.S. employers can lose $1.2 billion for every hour workers spend time tracking the NCAA tournament and talking about it with co-workers - instead of doing stuff like, well, work.
At the same time, the Challenger report says employers shouldn't try to mute March Madness. It says business
es that try to clamp down on workers watching games online or on TV to boost productivity in the short run - will end up doing long-term damage to employee morale, loyalty and effort.
The trendy pick to win this year's
tournament: the Michigan State Spartans.
President Barack Obama's pick to take the title will take on Delaware Thursday.
Coach Tom Izzo says he has no problem with high expectations; the Spartans are among the favorites even though they're only seeded fourth in the East Region.
Sixth-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the Dayton Flyers in Buffalo.
(The Associated Press contributed to this article.)