NBC Sports' NCAA tournament bracket contest

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According to an annual report on workplace productivity the NCAA tournament is expected to cost the United States’ economy approximately $1.8 billion in lost production. Yes, that’s “billion” with a “b.” Oh, and that total only accounts for the first week of March Madness.
We here at NBCSports.com would really like to see that number top $2 billion, which is why you should fill out a bracket (or another bracket) and join our “It’s Madness” game to compete for individual prizes and let us manage your entire office pool.
I’m planning to lose at least an hour of production tomorrow and am shooting for more like two hours on Friday when my beloved Gophers play, and having my bracket and results available online to stare at all day will really help me reach those goals. Sign up and join me!

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.