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Commentary: Make first NCAA tourney Friday a national half-holiday

Warren Buffett is betting a billion dollars that you can't pick the perfect NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament bracket. Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans, wants your personal information. Gilbert's Quicken Loans wants access to your cell phone number, email and other innocuous personal information for the same reason other companies want the same information - to data-mine, troll, and otherwise try to learn about you (as a consumer) via your online tendencies, etc.

Gilbert is betting the price of a billion dollar insurance policy, backed by Buffett's National Indemnity Company, that you can't pick the perfect bracket. (Buffett is backing him, writing the billion dollar policy).

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Full disclosure - No one has ever picked a perfect bracket. One prominent sportswriter estimated the odds of you picking the perfect bracket with zero basketball knowledge at 9.2 quintillion to 1.

Small print - Buffett has already admitted, in the event that someone is sitting on a perfect bracket going into e.g. the Final Four or the Championship Game, that he would likely offer a buyout. Buffett believes that, to the average person, there is no difference between e.g. $100,000,000 and $250,000,000; and, he believes, if offered the choice between the chance at the full $1B or a pre-Championship buy-out at e.g. one-tenth to one-quarter of the full Monty, that the average fan could be low-balled.

The chance at a billion dollars; for filling out a bracket for a college basketball tournament!?! Yes, the Madness is here!

If Budweiser is campaigning for Major League Baseball's Opening Day to become a National Holiday, someone should step-up and suggest that (and sponsor) the first Friday of the NCAA Tournament as the nation's first official Half-Day Holiday.

It's that time of year again. It's that week. It's that Friday.

It's the high water mark during what is likely otherwise e.g. Buffalo Wild Wings' NFL off-season low tide.

I'm writing this with a foot out the door toward the ACC Tournament; the first time I've gone since going as a participant a decade and a half ago.

And, I'm writing this with an eye toward a week that will be work-heavy and front-loaded next week; leaving room for afternoons of watching games on Thursday and Friday; making-up for missing-out on much of this season's NCAA basketball games.

If Budweiser is campaigning for Major League Baseball's Opening Day to become a National Holiday, someone should step-up and suggest that (and sponsor) the first Friday of the NCAA Tournament as the nation's first official Half-Day Holiday.

Budweiser has enlisted Ozzie Smith as its ambassador d' Opening Day. NCAA Basketball could parade-out Christian Laettner, Dick Vitale or Bill Walton.

I'm all for Opening Day having its own National Holiday; even if only half of MLB's teams are in action on the actual day. In that ilk, and with a nod to acknowledging days and events that already have their own cultural groundswell if not cult followings, I propose a National Half-Day Holiday to honor/commemorate/celebrate the NCAA Tournament's First Friday.

For now though, you'll just have to take the half personal/sick day "to get a head-start on your taxes."

Enjoy the Madness. Fill out a bracket. Take a chance at a Billion Dollars. Campaign for a national Half-Day for the Tournament's First-Friday.

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