The first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament is set to begin this Thursday, March 17, and offers full days of games throughout the weekend. March Madness may be the greatest time of the year for basketball fans and bettors alike. Who doesn't love an entire postseason cramped into a three-week span? Kansas earned the No. 1 overall seed, while Michigan State has been installed as the favorite to win the national title, according to Bovada. However, many college basketball experts are calling the 2016 tournament the most wide-open field assembled in recent history. If you are looking to wager on the event or simply want to produce the best bracket possible and finally win that office pool, here is cheat sheet with everything you need to know about the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Regional favorites : Kansas (+150), Michigan State (+180), North Carolina (+140) and Oklahoma (+230) are the favorites to win their respective regions and make the Final Four.
All chalk Final Four : Taking an all-No. 1 seed Final Four is always temping and the easy way to pick your bracket. However, an all-chalk Final Four has only happened once in the tournament's history. In fact, a Final Four without any top seeds has happened twice over the last 10 years.
Skip the No. 16 over No. 1 pick : a No. 1 seed has never been eliminated by a No. 16 seed in the history of the tournament. That is over 130 games between the top and bottom seeds over the last 30-something years, and it has never happened once. There is a huge talent gap between the top college programs and the small school scrapping to get in.
Look for the No. 12 over No. 5 pick : This is the most famous upset spot in the tournament's history . No. 12 seeds have won 44 matchups since the postseason expanded to a 64-team format, which turns into a 35 percent win rate. Last season a No. 12 seed did not manage to pull off an upset. However, prior to that mark, the 12-to-five upset happened at least twice in three consecutive years.
Top ATS teams : VCU 20-9 for a 69 percent cover rate, Michigan State 22-11 for a 67 percent cover rate, Kansas 21-11 for a 66 percent win rate,
No. 1 seed struggling : in general, the top teams in the nation have not been as dominant as in years past, and the four No. 1 seeds produced one of the highest combined losses of any top-seeded group in the tournament's history. That is not to say a first-round upset will happen, but it wouldn't see shocking to see a Final Four with no top seeds.
No. 2 vs No, 15: the No. 2 seeds are typically just as dominant historically as the top-seeded group, but back in 2012 the tournament saw two No. 15 seed upsets and another one the very next year in 2013. Still, three times in 16 matchups over the last four years is nothing to go crazy about.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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