Butler fans around the country have been rooting for the men’s basketball team this week, but three students had an extra incentive to cheer: Now that the Bulldogs have made it to the Sweet 16, juniors Alex Tison, Claire Cox, and Kaylynn Cline will be flown to Chicago to appear on a new ESPN quiz show called Bracket Genius.
The Butler team will play Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA on March 26 at 5:30 PM. Bonus round episodes will air Monday, March 27 at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. ET. The final four teams will face off in the Bracket Genius championship episode scheduled to air on Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m.
The three students—and an alternate, sophomore Corrine Campbell—were chosen after winning a trivia contest and then going through a Skype audition. The producers used the audition to select students who projected personality as well as intelligence.
“To stand out in the audition, I just tried to be as personable and talkative as possible,” said Tison, a junior Finance and Marketing major from Harrisburg, Illinois. “I just thought if I could leave an impression then they would be more likely to pick me. I also tried to interact a lot with the other people interviewing.”
Bracket Genius, hosted by Trey Wingo, will pit university academic teams, consisting of three undergraduate students, against one another in a bracket-style competition for the chance to have their team crowned the inaugural Bracket Genius Champion and share the prize of $100,000.
The final 16 universities represented in the NCAA tournament will match up in the same head-to-head games on Bracket Genius, where the winning team advances by answering questions spanning history, geography, politics, literature, science, pop culture, the arts, and sports in a race to score as many points as possible against the clock and their opponent.
The opening round matchups are scheduled to air Wednesday, March 22, and Sunday, March 26, at 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Each half-hour episode will feature four teams vying for the chance to advance to the Bracket Genius championship episode.
Bonus round episodes will air Monday, March 27, at 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM. These half-hour episodes, Bracket Genius: Extra Credit, will give the four championship contenders a chance to win extra cash prizes of up to $25,000 per episode.