It’s March ­— let the madness begin

For fans of college basketball, the last 67 games of the season hold the greatest amount of interest.

That’s the number of games that will be played in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Fans in the Tri-State Area saw few surprises when the 68-team field was revealed Sunday evening. As expected, only one of our region’s teams — Ohio State — earned a spot in the tournament. The Buckeyes will carry a 19-14 record into Friday’s game against Iowa State, 23-11, when their opening-round game gets under way around 9:50 p.m. in Tulsa, Okla.

While that’s good for Ohio State and its dedicated followers, fans of other Division I teams from our region won’t have as much to cheer about — this year’s tournament will be without Pitt, West Virginia or Robert Morris, four teams that have seen post-season NCAA action several times during the last decade.

But then again, the lack of a specific team to follow might not have that much of an impact on whether fans choose to follow the games, according to the annual March Madness Report prepared by Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

The Chicago-based global outplacement and executive coaching firm has calculated that time spent watching tournament games during work hours could cost employers as much as $13.3 billion.

All of that time spent on basketball is not necessarily a bad thing.

The tournament, according to Andrew Challenger, the company’s vice president, offers a great opportunity for colleagues to bond in the workplace, and any attempt to keep workers away from the games likely would result in damage to morale, loyalty and engagement.

So, sit back, have fun while watching the games and hope you’ve made some good choices when you filled out your brackets.

March Madness has arrived.

Enjoy.

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