With the madness of March basketball in full force, my boys have put more energy into their brackets than their homework. I am trying to encourage them that if they study hard (and play hard) they can someday make it to the Ivy League.

Local cities are doing their best to capitalize on the madness. If you are planning to travel for the basketball games, ask locals to tell you the best ways to find deals on airfare and dining. You’d be surprised at some of the incentives.

Check out what Cornell’s hometown is doing to promote the big games:

To celebrate the Cornell’s impressive march to the Sweet 16, the city of Ithaca (Cornell’s hometown) is offering up “nerdy discounts” geared towards the Big Red’s bookish fandom.

The discounts – which take effect this Thursday, March 25 when the Cornell Big Red take on powerhouse Kentucky – will allow erudite students, residents and visitors alike a chance to better enjoy Cornell’s epic run in the NCAA tournament via Ithaca’s incredible culinary scene.

Here’s a list of the “nerdy” offerings:

* Flash your Mensa Card and get a free Macchiato at Gimme! Coffee in all Ithaca and New York City locations. (What’s a Macchiato? Ask a Mensa.) Valid Thurs-Mon 3/25/10 to 3/29/10.

* Cornell forward Eitan Chemerinski can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 2 ½ minutes. Can you? Solve a Rubik’s Cube in less than three minutes and get a free drink at Felicia’s Atomic Lounge.  Simply bring your Rubik’s Cube during Cornell’s run for the championship and get a dollar-off drink. (Limit one per person per throughout Cornell’s run in the tournament).

* Nobel Prize winners eat FREE at The Boatyard Grill; Pulitzer Prize winners receive half off. Just show your prize medallion to your server to claim discount. Offer valid through 3/28/10 or as long as Cornell stays in the tournament.

* Bring your grades for a discount at Maxie’s Supper Club. 4.0 = 40% off; 3.0 = 30% off.

* Wear your nerdiest browline glasses or Buddy Holly horn-rims to Max’s Classic American Grill & Sports Bar for ½ price entrees, March 25-28.

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