For the first time ever, both of Illinois' Big Ten teams will play in the NCAA March Madness men's basketball tournament.
The last time -- or rather, the first time -- Northwestern Wildcats made an NCAA appearance was in 2017. The Fighting Illini on the other hand, has made the tournament 32 times.
Both the Wildcats and the Illini are seeded in the west region of the bracket. Northwestern, a No. 7 seed, will take on No. 10 Boise St. Thursday at 6:35 p.m. Earlier in the day, No. 9 seeded Illinois will take on No. 8 seeded Arkansas at 3:30 p.m.
According to experts, those brackets are keeping employees busy -- and costing employers money -- as distracted workers around the country will soon be paying more attention to their brackets than their work. Reports show that March Madness is costing employers an estimated $17 billion in lost wages.
That's $2.5 million for every hour that people participate in March Madness, instead of focusing on work.
But back to the brackets.
The chances of filling out a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket is an impossible task, but there are other ways for college basketball fans to beat the odds in March.
If you’re looking for a true Cinderella, go straight to the No. 16 seeds.
Four of the six No. 16 seeds have +100000 odds to win the national title: Howard, Southern Missouri State, Texas A&M-CC and Texas Southern. Those schools are also joined by No. 15 UNC Asheville for the lowest odds to win it all.
Northern Kentucky is the only No. 16 seed with better than +100000 odds. The Horizon League champions have +50000 odds and open their tournament journey against Houston on Thursday night.
Fairleigh Dickinson and Princeton are not on the board for PointsBet. Fairleigh Dickinson will play Texas Southern in a First Four matchup between No. 16 seeds on Wednesday, while Princeton will tip-off as a No. 15 seed against No. 2 Arizona on Thursday.
According to PointsBet, Northwestern has +3300 odds of to make it out of the west region, and Illinois odds are +2200.
Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.
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