2015 March Madness: Tips for Filling Out NCAA Tournament Bracket
by George Monroy - 3/17/2015
Most people are in the middle of experiencing bracket fever and might be obsessing over which matchups to pick, which top seeds to ride and which underdogs to call out during the next few days. Picking a perfect bracket isn't an exact science, and sometimes the more you know about college basketball can hurt you. We've all been in a work pool where someone who randomly filled out their picks ended up winning the entire thing. Resorting to flipping a coin could work for some people, but in order to skip the randomness and keep our basketball dignity intact, here are a few tips and trends for filling out the perfect March Madness bracket (click here for Doc's pre-filled March Madness mock bracket).
Pick a No. 11 Seed : the No. 6 seed in the NCAA bracket has won all four regional matchups just once since 2000. In general, upsets happen all the time, and unlike sports with a seven-game series, the best team does not always win in a single-elimination tournament, and that is most apparent in the first round.
Do not pick a No. 16 seed : No. 16 seeds to not pull off upsets in the NCAA tournament. Do you know how many times a No. 16 has beat a No. 1 seed since the tournament expanded to 64 and then 68 teams? Zero. There is a huge gap between top and bottom seeds, which is even bigger than in professional sports. This upset may never happen in the tournament.
Do not go upset crazy : upsets do happen, particularly in the No.11 versus No. 6 and No. 12 versus No. 5 matchups, but do not go crazy picking too many first-round upsets. Once the tournament progresses, picking a No. 3 over a No. 1 seed is hardly considered too much of an upset.
Pick a No.12 seed : the 12 versus 7 matchup has been prime ground for picking an upset. Last season three of the four matchups went to the underdog, while 44 total upsets have come from the No. 12 spot since the tournament expanded to 64 teams.
Be cautious with No. 1 seeds : filling up your Final Four with all No. 1 seeds can be awfully tempting, but all four top seeds rarely make it that deep, and in fact it has only happened once in NCAA tournament history. Last season only two No. 1 seeds made it into the Final Four, and the year before only one squad earned the honor.
No. 1 seeds do win titles : seven of the last 10 NCAA champions have been No. 1 seeds. It might not be wise to fill up your bracket with them, but you should probably pick a top seeded school to win the whole enchilada.
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