March Madness: Bracketology Tips

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The month of March is here.  That means Women’s History Month.  That means MLB spring training, St. Patrick’s Day, and daylight savings.  It also means MARCH MADNESS, when the annual NCAA college basketball tournament takes place. The one time of year where skipping work and school to watch basketball almost seems acceptable.

Filling out a tournament sheet or bracket and guessing who will move on to each round has long been a popular activity surrounding the event.  Here are some quick tips for filling one out a bracket this year.

  1. Conference tournaments are more important than regular season play. Do some research and find out who did well in their conference tournaments before the Big Dance.  Teams streaking in conference play are likely to stay hot.
  2. Don’t have your winner be lower than a no. 4 seed. Only 1 2,3,4,6, and 8 seeds have ever won the whole thing and no 10, 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 seeded team has ever even made it to the Final Four.
  3. Look at the 5 and 12 ranked teams for upsets in the first round. USA Today reports that number 5 ranked teams only win 65% of their first game.  That’s 35% chance for an upset!  Vegas betters have gone in on worse odds than that.
  4. Be careful with number 1 seeds. Only once in the last 36 years have all number 1 teams been in the Final Four together.  Several always get knocked out after a few rounds.
  5. Throw everything you’ve ever known about filling out a bracket out the window and do what most moms and girlfriends do every year, which is pick the team with the best looking jerseys. They usually win too.

According to The Smithsonian Mag, the odds of getting a perfect bracket are “one in 9.2 quintillion: you’re more likely to die an excruciating death by vending machine, become president, win the Mega Millions jackpot or die from incorrectly using products made for right-handed people (if you’re a lefty).”



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