Last Minute Advice For Filling Out Your March Madness Bracket

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Filling out the March Madness bracket is both fun and challenging.

Nicholas Fuller

Filling out the March Madness bracket is both fun and challenging.
Filling out the March Madness bracket is both fun and challenging.

With Selection Sunday taking place this past Sunday, March 17, March Madness has officially begun.  The field of 68 has been announced and people have begun the process of filling out their bracket and picking a winner – a task that is extremely difficult and complicated.  The roller coaster ride of the NCAA tournament has officially started.

Yet, after filling out the bracket, every person thinks they have the perfect one. Then, they discover the actual bracket itself is either a disaster or is not infallible by any means.  There is no such thing as a perfect, or really a nearly perfect, bracket, but following certain strategies can help make the process easier.  So, with that said, here are some tips to follow when filling out your bracket that do not involve me telling you particular teams to pick or to avoid:

First off, the Round of 64 has plenty of match ups that can be head scratchers. Also, there may be teams you have never heard of before, but  you shouldn’t just dismiss them as being inferior because they don’t come from a major conference. If you don’t know a lot about a team, then look them up and you might be pleasantly surprised to see why they are as high seeded as they are or why they are in the tournament to begin with.

But in terms of seeding, and in spite of least year’s debacle, do not pick a 1, 2, or 3 seed to lose in the first round.  Although this is an unpredictable tournament, it is not worth your time or trouble to figure out what the huge upset of the year is going to be. Additionally, do not be fooled into thinking that a 5 v 12 seeded game is mostly a lock for the 5 seed or that a 6 seed beating an 11 seed is likely a mostly a lock for the 6 seed.  Over the past couple of years, half the teams in these match ups from both sides have won, suggesting that the art in picking these particular games lies within just picking the correct upset for a certain match up.   For instance, half the time a 12 seed will beat a 5 seed and half the time an 11 seed will beat a 6 seed.  In addition to these classic match ups, if you can find the right game, pick a 13 seed over a 4 seed.  This is definitely an upset, but people lose in these tournaments because they do not pick enough upsets and are too conservative in their selection process.  March Madness is too crazy and unpredictable to pick games in such a fashion.  Another thing to remember: 8 seeds beating 9 seeds has been a popular trend of the past few years.   For some reason, 8 seeds have had more success in these games, and that is definitely something to take into account when you are filling out your bracket.
 
How To Pick Your Final Four:
 
Through the Round of 64, the Round of 32, the Sweet 16, and the Elite 8 is the path teams must take to reach the Final Four.  These rounds are insane and will leave you either miraculously celebrating, humbly accepting defeat, or – more likely than not – both.
 
But in picking a which teams will survive to make the Final Four, do not have all number 1 seeds making the Final Four round of your bracket. If you have all 1 seeds in your Final Four, your bracket will most likely be completely obliterated by the time this round even takes place.  And while there is also no real prerequisite to “be” a potential Final Four team, do not pick a team seeded 6th of lower into your Final Four.  The Cinderella team comes every once in awhile; however, picking the Cinderella team is close to impossible, so don’t try it.  Moreover, I would say to avoid picking inconsistent, but high seeded teams to your Final Four.  Teams that cannot win close games against tough opponents, do not not have stingy defenses, have past histories of not doing well in the tournament or have past histories of lacking the clutch players should not be put in your Final Four – ever.  This selective process can help you eliminate most teams.
 
How To Select A Winner:
 
In choosing the winner of your bracket, keep in mind sometimes it is bad to pick a team that has a tough region.  Even if you believe the team your selecting could win the whole thing, if your team has a difficult region to get out of, I would recommend you avoid this team. A winnable region or a region where potentially tough teams for your winner have difficult match ups is a good sign.  Do your best to pick a great team that will not have to tough a time reaching the Final Four.
 
Good luck with your bracket(s) and may March Madness be better to you this year than in years past.
 
If you want to see my bracket, sign into ESPN with the username march_madness324 and the password password and look for Nick’s bracket.