There’s something very important you need to know about March Madness brackets that you might already be aware of:
It’s mainly luck.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t hear the multitude of stories each year about that person in someone’s bracket pool who won who knows nothing about college basketball.
Still, having some knowledge never hurts, and to that end, we present five strategies for filling out your March Madness bracket.
But First, an Overview
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament, commonly known as March Madness, is a single-elimination tournament that determines the national championship team in college basketball.
The tournament consists of 68 teams from Division I, and each team is placed into a bracket. Millions of fans create their brackets, predicting the outcomes of each game in hopes of winning their office pool or a significant prize.
Also, $3.1 billion were bet in last year’s tournament, and work productivity suffers because 2.5 people per day follow the games.
1. Do Your Research
The key to a successful bracket is knowledge.
Before filling out your bracket, take the time to do your research. Learn about the teams and players, their strengths and weaknesses, and their past performances. Look at statistics such as field goal percentage, three-point percentage, rebounds, and assists. Consider injuries, team chemistry, and coaching styles.
The more you know about the teams, the better your predictions will be.
But…again, luck wins.
2. Look for Upsets
Seeds = rankings.
Lowest seed is 16. Highest seed is 1.
Upsets are a common occurrence in March Madness.
The tournament is notorious for teams with lower seeds beating teams with higher seeds. Don’t be afraid to pick a few upsets in your bracket. Look for teams that have been performing well in the latter half of the season or have a particular matchup advantage.
In recent years, 12-seed teams have a good track record of upsetting 5-seed teams, so keep that in mind when making your picks.
You’ll look like a genius.
3. Balance Your Bracket
When filling out your bracket, it’s essential to balance your selections.
Don’t pick too many upsets or too many favorites. Look for a balance between high-seeded and low-seeded teams, as well as between teams from different conferences. This approach will help you avoid having too many incorrect picks in the early rounds, which could hurt your chances of winning.
You won’t look like a genius.
4. Follow the Trends
Still with me? Good.
March Madness is full of trends and patterns that can help you make more informed decisions.
For example, the team with the better defense often wins in the later rounds of the tournament. Teams that shoot a high percentage of three-pointers can also be dangerous, especially in a one-and-done tournament format.
Look at trends from previous tournaments, such as the performance of certain conferences or teams in specific rounds to guide your selections.
This is a great way to be unproductive at work.
5. Don’t Forget About Momentum
Ride the hot teams.
Look for those that are playing well coming into the tournament, or teams that have won their conference tournament. Teams that have momentum on their side can carry that into the tournament and make a deep run, regardless of their seeding.
Good luck, and may the best bracket win!
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