The NCAA basketball tournament begins this week, marking the 40th year of our “Steps to the Championship” basketball contest. It took us 41 years to get here, but we made it.
Last year was the first time in, well, 40 years, that we did not have an NCAA basketball tournament contest in the paper. Of course, the reason was because there was no tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic. But this it’s back, and so are we.
The bracket for the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship is included in this section, and you’ll want to enter. This year first prize is a $50 gift certificate from Mac & Bob’s restaurant in Salem, as well as a year’s subscription to the Salem Times-Register.
Both Virginia Tech and Virginia are in the tournament, as well as fellow Virginia schools VCU and Norfolk State. UVA, Norfolk State and VCU are all in the West Region but Tech is on the other side of the bracket in the South. So, if one of our Virginia schools wins the region they couldn’t play the Hokies before the championship game. Remember, Virginia is still the defending NCAA champion.
The rules of the contest are simple. Simply fill in the brackets, right down to the championship winner. The person who fills in the most blanks correctly when the NCAA championship is decided on April 5th in Indianapolis will be the winner.
The tie-breaker, if needed, is as follows. If two contestants are tied for the top spot, the winner is the contestant whose pick to win the championship has advanced farther. If it’s still tied, then whoever had the most correct in the “Final Four” will win. If still tied, we go to the Final Eight, Final 16, etc.
Your completed entry form must be in our office by 5 pm this Friday. So, realize you get the Thursday games for free if you play your cards right. However, don’t try to slip your entry in after the deadline on Friday because we’ll be watching, and you’ll be disqualified.
You can also mail your entry, but it must be postmarked by 5 pm Friday. Send it to, “Steps to the Championship,” Salem Times-Register Sports, P.O. Box 1125, Salem, VA 24153.
Please note all entries must be on the official ballot, cut out of a Salem Times-Register newspaper.