So, Jim in accounting set up a March Madness bracket pool and you have exactly ten minutes to fill it out. Life happens, we get it. We are here to give you the same chance at filling out a winning bracket as your co-worker who has been studying the Vermont roster all week. Follow these few steps to have a great chance at winning your bracket pool.
First, advance all No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to the Sweet 16. Given the No. 1 seeds make it to the Elite Eight 71 percent of the time you can advance all four No. 1 seeds to be four of the final eight teams remaining in the tournament. If you are feeling a little dangerous, pick just three of four No. 1 seeds in the Elite Eight to stay in line with the percentages.
Now that you have a head start, here are a few more key bracket tips to carry you through the rest of the way.
Pick At Least 1 No. 12 to Upset a No. 5 Seed
Statistically, a No. 12 defeats a No. 5 seed nearly every year. Pick one to two No. 12 seeds to win their first-round game. If you are looking to play the odds, Oregon has the best chance in Vegas to defeat Wisconsin. Murray State and Liberty also have a really good chance to win. If you want to press your luck, pick one of these two teams to win as well.
Pick a No. 13 Seed to Pull Off an Upset
According to Fox Sports’ R.J. Bell, No. 13 and No. 14 seeds have won 18 percent of their games which means nearly every tournament we have one of these seeds win a game. This year a team to watch is U.C. Irvine over Kansas State. First, their mascot is an Anteater, which is awesome. More factually, the Wildcats are likely without star player Dean Wade, and UC Irvine has the advantage of playing the first round game in their home state of California.
Your Sweet 16 Should Be Full of Mostly Top Seeds
If you want to pick a few upsets, let them happen in the first two rounds. When the Sweet 16 comes, most of the double-digit seeds will be gone. It is okay to have one or two double-digit teams in the mix, but that would be my limit. I would also only have single digit seeds advancing to the Elite Eight. There may be a team that advances who is an outlier but chasing that team means you stand a good chance of destroying your bracket.
Pick a No. 1 Seed to Win the Championship
It sounds boring, but history tells us that No. 1 seeds stand the best chance of winning the national championship. At the same time, all No. 1 seeds have only made the Final Four once. You would be wise to have your Final Four made up of No. 1, 2 or No. 3 seeds. According to CBS Sports, No. 1 seeds have won more national titles (22) than the rest of the seeds combined (17).
If you have caught March Madness fever like myself, make a list of six to eight teams you like and fill out a few different brackets with these teams making the Final Four. This will expose you to different teams and increase your chances of winning. Here are my top teams ranked in order for the 2019 NCAA tournament.
NCAA Tournament Championship Pick: Duke Over North Carolina