It’s almost time. The play-in games kick off tonight, we wait one day, and then it’s here. March Madness is finally here. By now you should have already signed up for your office pool and are likely well on your way to setting your final bracket.
There’s only one thing left to do now. It’s time to dominate.
Here are five essential purchases to help you win your March Madness office pool by a landslide without getting fired. And we have an added bonus this time around. Most of the items on the list are free!
Bracket Research From TeamRankings.com
Sometimes, you have to spend money to make money. If we’re talking March Madness, there’s no better money spent than the small fee you’ll lay down for top notch research from TeamRankings.com.
In 2 of the last 3 years, their picks beat 99% of America’s picks. Was that other 1% working at your office? Probably not. So spend the cash and win some cash. It’s just that easy (we wish).
Buy It: Starting at $29.99 at TeamRankings.com
NCAA March Madness on Demand
If you were really dedicated to the majesty of March Madness, you’d skip work altogether. But we realize that isn’t possible for everyone. So if you’re stuck at work, sign up for March Madness on Demand and don’t miss a second of the action.
Not only can you watch every single game online for free, but they include a handy “Boss Button” that pulls up an innocent looking spreadsheet whenever a nosy supervisor strolls by. That way, you won’t get busted for slacking at work more than you usually do.
Buy It: Free at NCAA.com
Firefox Panic Button Extension
The “Boss Button” that comes with March Madness on Demand is great for when you’re actually watching games, but what about those other times? You know, the time you spend actually researching your brackets and doing God knows what else on the internet when you should be updating TPS Reports.
The Panic Button extension for Firefox is your ticket to safety in those cases. With one simple click (or by hitting the F9 button) you can quickly hide all of your browser windows instantly. Say hello to getting paid to surf the internet!
Buy It: Free at Addons.Mozilla.org
ESPN Text Alerts
If you’re stuck at work, odds are good that you’ll be called into a meeting at the most inopportune time imaginable, 43.2 seconds left in the second half of a close game, for example. Good luck actually focusing on the meeting when that happens.
But there is hope for you yet. Sign up for text alerts from ESPN and they’ll keep you abreast of all the latest scores and action when you can’t be stationed in front of your computer or television. It’s not as good as live action, but it will do the trick in a pinch.
Buy It: Free at ESPN.Go.Com
Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7
The world might be enamored with the iPhone these days, but anyone who knows anything will tell you that it’s the last gadget you want if you need to balance work and entertainment. If you decide to take the plunge and skip work altogether to take in some March Madness action, or even if you just opt for an extra long lunch, what you really need is the Windows Phone 7.
It’s still got all the apps you need to keep on top of March Madness action, like Final Four 2011, but the glance and go interface makes checking everything while still focusing on the game (or work, if you must) much easier than with any other smart phone.
If you have to get work done while skipping out to watch basketball, the Office Mobile feature gives you a fully functional Office suite, including Power Point, so you can still be productive while, you know, being unproductive.
Buy It: $99 with contract from ATT.com