2012 March Madness Brackets Help: NCAA Tournament Bracketology 101
by Dave Schwab - 3/12/2012
It is that time of year again and whether you are filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket for the local office pool or entering one in a high-stakes contest in Las Vegas, there are a couple of basic things to keep in mind before scribbling your way to the Final Four.
The following are a few tips and strategies for March Madness brackets help to increase your chances of successfully navigating your way through this year’s field of 68 teams.
Play the Percentages
The most thrilling aspect about the sudden-death nature of this tournament is that top seeds do fall and the best team going in is not always the No.1 team in the country when it is all over. That being said, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the first-round winning percentages and the March Madness seed statistics before you start picking upsets up and down the sheet. The following chart provides the winning percentages of each seed in the original first round (now known as the second round) since the tournament switched to a 64-team format in 1985.
The No. 1 seed is 108–0 against the No. 16 seed (100%).
The No. 2 seed is 104–4 against the No. 15 seed (96.30%).
The No. 3 seed is 92–16 against the No. 14 seed (85.19%).
The No. 4 seed is 85–23 against the No. 13 seed (78.70%).
The No. 5 seed is 72-36 against the No. 12 seed (66.67%)
The No. 6 seed is 72–36 against the No. 11 seed (66.67%).
The No. 7 seed is 65–43 against the No. 10 seed (60.19%).
The No. 8 seed is 51–57 against the No. 9 seed (47.22%).
Using these percentages as a guide, be very careful in picking against one of the top four seeds in their first game as it could end up costing you dearly. Everyone is looking for a 12-5 upset, but there has only been one in each of the last two years. After that it becomes sort of a crap-shoot so your picks should come down taking the better team in each individual matchup.
Winning Teams Win
There is a reason that Kentucky and Syracuse are the top two seeds in this year’s tournament. Combined, these two teams still have fewer losses that either North Carolina at 29-5 or Michigan State at 27-7, which happen to be the other No.1 seeds.
There are a couple of other attractive teams in the field of 68 that might make some noise over the next few weeks based on their proven ability to win games. Creighton is the No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region and comes in with an overall record of 28-5. It faces No.9 seed Alabama (21-11) on Friday and should get a shot at the Tar Heels in Sunday’s third round. Another team with a gaudy record coming in to this tournament is Missouri as the No.2 seed in the West Region. The Tigers were hammered by Baylor, 90-75, in the Big 12 title game as four-point favorites, but this team definitely knows how to win with an overall record of 30-4.
Do Not Go Chalk
As mentioned in the very beginning of this article, it is the upsets that make this tournament great and there are bound to be a couple of shockers this year as well. Start looking at the potential matchups for Saturday and Sunday’s slate for a slip up spot for a few of the top seeds. As a general rule, two of the Top 8 seeds will fail to advance to the Sweet 16. The trick from there is to try and concentrate of a few of the best No. 4 and No. 3 seeds and be sure to work them into your Elite 8. This is probably the hardest part about picking a winning bracket, but if you are correct, you stand to rack up a ton of points heading into the final weekend of play.
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