Texas may not have legal sports betting — not yet anyway. But you better believe Texans will still be focused intently on March Madness this week.
No other state is sending more teams to the NCAA tournament this year than Texas. Seven teams from the Lone Star State qualified, beating nearest challenger Virginia with five.
While the public waits to see the fate of legal sports betting in Texas, state residents can still get in on the fun of filling out brackets and winning cash prizes.
Among the daily fantasy sports sites in Texas offering free-to-play NCAA tournament contests, DraftKings has not one but two offers available to roundball fans in the Lone Star State.
DraftKings March Mania Survivor Pool
One free DraftKings contest available to Texans is the DraftKings March Mania Survivor Pool.
The contest works much like any survivor pool. Each day of the tournament, participants must pick one team they think will win that day. The only exception comes during the Elite Eight, when entrants will pick just one winner among the four games played across two days.
But no, you can’t pick Gonzaga every time they play. According to survivor pool rules, participants can only pick a team one time, after which that team will not be available to choose going forward. If a participant has no available picks left to make, the entry will be eliminated.
The last entry standing wins a huge $1 million first prize. Multiple entries tying for the best finish will split the prize. In addition, random entrants will receive $10,000 for every upset that occurs during the first two rounds.
DraftKings Bracket Battle
DraftKings is also inviting NCAA fans to play a more traditional bracket contest, called the Bracket Battle.
This one is like other contests for which you fill out and submit an entire bracket before the games start on Friday. There is no entry fee, and a $50,000 prize pool will be divided among the top finishers.
The winner gets $5,000, the runner-up and third-place finishers $1,000, and everyone finishing in the top 7,755 will get at least $1.
Again, there’s no entry fee, and Texans can play this one as well.
Seven Texas teams among the 68 NCAA hopefuls
Incidentally, those seven Texas teams in the tournament include multiple schools that many will pencil into their Final Fours.
Baylor (No. 1 seed in the South), Houston (No. 2, Midwest), and Texas (No. 3, East) are all threats to go deep this year.
All three aim to match or exceed the performance of Texas Tech (No. 6, South) the last time the NCAA tournament was played in 2019. The Red Raiders made it all of the way to the title game before falling in overtime to champion Virginia.
Texas is actually matched up against an in-state opponent, No. 14 Abilene Christian, who — like North Texas (No. 13, South) and Texas Southern (No. 16, East) — hopes to play spoiler this weekend.
There are a lot of local teams to back when Texans make their NCAA picks. Choose well.