Unique College Basketball Pools

By March 17, 2015June 18th, 2018No Comments


College basketball betting season and March Madness are here. We all know about the standard March Madness Bracket Challenge’s (you should join ours), but sometimes you are looking for an extra zest. Like adding bacon bits to a salad or extra bacon on your BLT. Something to make it even better. That’s why I’m going to give you a few more college basketball pool ideas that you can then go out and start with your crew.

Players Points League – aka Hank Gathers Memorial

My friends and I have been participating in this league since 2006. We named it after Hank Gathers because he was awesome and could score buckets, everything that we were looking for out of a league that rewards scoring.

The league is super simple. 8 owners, you each draft 8 players from teams in the tournament, snake draft, done via email. The owner who’s team scores the most points in the tournament wins (so you want to take players that score on teams that advance in the tournament). We do the stats manually via a spreadsheet (like Google Docs), which isn’t hard because there’s only 64 total players and many of them get knocked out early.

I recommend filling in the players drafted in the spreadsheet as you go. It makes those annoying “has he been drafted yet” emails go away and allows for you to really lay into someone if they draft someone who is already drafted.

We are midway through our draft right now and I picked 8th. I’m not overly thrilled with my squad of: Brandon Ashley (Arizona), Andrew Harrison (Kentucky), Trey Lyles (Kentucky) and Dylan Ennis (Villanova). There’s just not a ton of scoring out there like in years past (shout out to Jimmer and Adam Morrison).

Big Boys League – aka Thomas Hill Crying Pool

This league was called the Big Boys League when I was first introduced to it during my previous job selling online advertising. Once I left I took the format of the league with me and started my own pool. I gave it the name Thomas Hill Crying Pool because I always laughed every time I saw Thomas Hill crying after Christian Laettner made one of the most memorable shots in college basketball history. It’s my way of saying never forget.

This college basketball pool can have an unlimited number of teams and once again you’ll be doing the stats manually. In this one you get points based on the seeding of the winning team. For example, every time Kentucky wins you only get 1 point, Michigan State wins you get 7, etc. Each owner selects 6 teams, two of which you can put a double value on. That means each of their victories counts for double their seeding (so if you doubled Michigan State you’d get 14 points (7×2)).

Since Kentucky winning it all would only get you 6 points, they are not an attractive option. This is especially true when you consider that a 12 seed gets 12 points per win. One victory by them is the equivalent to Kentucky winning it all and you doubling them. Catch my drift?

The game now becomes, can you guess the right upsets and if you are confident enough, can you double them? It can be a very boom or bust game (but it’s a ton of fun). Last year’s winner scored 185 points (the seeds he had were 13, 11 (x2), 7, 7, 8 (x2), 12).

NCAA Squares

Just like with Super Bowl squares you can play March Madness squares. Take the last digit of the winning teams score + the last digit of the losing teams score. If you’ve got that square you win. Do this for every game throughout the tournament. As the tournament gets into the later rounds winning squares pay out more with the Championship game being the big dog. It’s a great way of always having action on a game and keeping you interested until the end.

Upset Special Bracket Challenge

I prefer to reward people willing who go out on a limb and call upsets in the tournament. Everyone is going to be taking Kentucky anyways so you’ve gotta spice it up somehow. There’s a few different versions of the Upset Special Bracket Challenge but here’s the one that I’m doing this year via Yahoo (you should join it, and yes, this is the second league Bacon Sports is running. We like to keep things interesting ).


This format puts an emphasis on the early rounds, which I think is the best part of the tournament. It’s a ton of fun when you call an upset and then you get rewarded for it.

I want to hear from you. Are you in a unique college basketball pool for March Madness? Shoot me an email to or hit me up on Twitter @BaconSports and let me know the format (note: I’m not looking to join any leagues, just interested in the format).

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Rob Cressy

Rob Cressy

Sports loving free throw specialist and yinzer living in Chicago who is awesome most of the time, has run with the bulls in Spain, and is a graduate of Second City's Improv program.