By Sydney Mucha, Communications Intern

It’s that time of year again! Big Tree Madness is about to begin and in case you missed last year, are just tuning in or need a refresher, here is a rundown of all you need to know before the games begin.

To make things more interesting this year, we have paired up selected champion trees with NCAA tournament-bound men’s basketball teams in the respective states, with the exception of last year’s finalists — defending champion Hawaii and runner-up Missouri — and Colorado, which had no in-state universities advancing to the field on Selection Sunday.

From the East, we have:

D.C. - chestnut oak Maryland - Kentucky coffeetree Pennsylvania - Dotted hawthorn West Virginia - Virginia pine
Georgetown Hoyas Maryland Terrapins Villanova Wildcats West Virginia Mountaineers

The four Champions from the South region:

Georgia - Post oak Kentucky - chinkapin oak Louisiana - live oak Virginia - American holly
Georgia Bulldogs Kentucky Wildcats LSU Tigers Virginia Cavaliers

Representing the Midwest:

Kansas - white mulberry Michigan - weeping willow Missouri - Ozark chinkapin Ohio - American sycamore
Kansas Jayhawks Michigan State Spartans Ohio State Buckeyes

And last, but not least, our Champions from the West:

California - Coast live oak Colorado - Scotch pine Hawaii - Wiliwili Washington - Western redcedar
San Diego State Aztecs Gonzaga Bulldogs

So there you have it, this year’s Big Tree Madness bracket! And now onto the fun part — how to vote. All voting will take place via American Forests’ Facebook page, so if you aren’t following us yet, do so now. You will have 24 hours to vote on each matchup every weekday with voting starting at 10:00 am and ending at 9:59 am the next day. We will have one match-up per day starting on March 17, ending with the championship on April 6 — the same day as the men’s NCAA basketball final. The Ultimate Champion Tree will be announced the next day.

We will announce the winner of every matchup on Facebook so you can keep track at home or with the bracket on our website. Ultimately, the winner of Big Tree Madness is in your hands so stand behind your favorite school, your home state, the coolest big tree or the best species. Mark your calendars and tune into the battle of big trees — and don’t forget to tell your friends!

Big Tree Madness is part of the American Forests National Big Tree Program. American Forests thanks the program’s premier sponsor, The Davey Tree Expert Company.