Every year in the second half of March, sports nation explodes with what is arguably the most entertaining, and alluring sporting event of the year.‚  March Madness.‚  It is a time of skipping classes to watch your favorite team, a time to impossibly select the winners of every round, a time to waste valuable company time, to the tune of billions of dollars lost in productivity and wages alone, and a time to embrace the Cinderalla story and hope for the best.

Today you can watch the epic event everywhere you go.‚  Streamed to your mobile phone, your computer, and on every TV in every window of electronics stores, March Madness cannot be escaped.

So it comes as no surprise that Electronic Arts announced today a downloadable official NCAA tournament edition of its college basketball video game.‚  It was only a matter of time, it seems that every single other form of media has smothered the event.

Available exclusively on the Xbox 360 NCAA Basketball 09: March Madness Edition will cost 1200 MS points ($15.00) and will be ready for download just in time for the start of the NCAA Tournament March 19th.

NCAA Basketball will enable fans to replicate the entire NCAA Tournament and play through the “virtual bracket” with their favorite team under the same conditions they’ll face throughout March Madness.‚  Lead one of the 65 teams to Final Four glory at Ford Field in Detroit and finally, crown a champion, likely or unlikely, it’s your tournament.

The excitement surrounding March Madness is a feat in itself.‚  Every year offers a restored hope of “maybe this is the year my team wins,” or “maybe I’ll finally predict a perfect bracket.”‚  There is something refreshing, exciting, and gut-wrenching about this event, the likes that are comparable to none.

“We really wanted to make our game available to a wider selection of fans that are drawn to college basketball by the passion, excitement and drama that surrounds March Madness,” said Connor Dougan, Producer for NCAA Basketball 09: March Madness Edition. “Fans will be able to experience the tournament, feel the adrenaline rush that comes with a single loss elimination tournament and write their own history.”

Few sporting events capture the excitement and intensity of March Madness, so it’s great to be able to offer everyone a chance to play with NCAA Basketball 09: March Madness Edition, an exclusive to Xbox LIVE and Xbox 360,” said Marc Whitten, General Manager of Xbox LIVE. “Xbox LIVE continues to break new ground, offering new ways to play and enjoy your favorite games and entertainment. With EA we are offering everyone a chance to experience a blockbuster game tailored specifically for March Madness in a way that has never been done before.”

Selection Sunday is not until March 18th so the game will initially feature the teams from last year’s tournament, but on the 18th immediately after the announcement, the accurate teams and ratings will find their way into the virtual brackets.

Emphasis will be placed on playing true to your team’s real life attributes, and with the help of authentic Division 1 in-game Coaches providing real time instruction and criticism, the sense of immersion will be incredible.

I always lose money I don’t have on March Madness, thankfully this year I’ll have fun doing it.

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About The Author

Eddie Makuch is a Blast staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch.

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