There is nothing like March Madness. The month-long tournament, which actually finishes in April, is a 68-team mega-tournament of pure basketball. Filling out brackets, an enjoyable task to do but impossible to do correctly, is as popular a practice as watching the games. Need help with your bracket? Here are my tips for creating your bracket. Just don’t expect it to be correct.
- The 1 seeds will not lose in the first round. In all of the years of the NCAA tournament, no top seed has lost to a 16 seed. While Oregon could fall to the winner of the Holy Cross/Southern game, the overwhelming odds are that you’ll be embarrassed and, if you’re in a tournament, the butt of jokes every year. Two and three seeds also rarely are defeated, but in recent years the upsets have increased, especially for the Duke Blue Devils.
- One or more 5 seeds will lose in the first round. With the exception of last tournament, 11 seeds pull out big upsets over five seeds routinely. Pick at least one five seed to advance, but Sweet Sixteen berths are a long shot.
- One or more top seeds will reach the Final Four. Upsets will happen, but the one seeds are the best bets to make long runs. Don’t go over the top, because only once, in 2007, has the Final Four consisted of four top seeds.
- Choose your Cinderella. Nothing is better than picking an underdog and watching their shocking run unfold and ruin everyone else’s bracket. The four and five seeds are especially ripe for upsets, while 10 and 11 seeds usually make longer runs after their upsets.
- Pick a champion that’s been there before. Butler shocked the world two years in a row when they were coached by Brad Stevens and VCU and George Mason are classic examples of Cinderella stories. But none of those teams won the championship. Pick a team that has a rich history and/or a proven head coach.