Your Guide to a Perfect March Madness Bracket
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Your Guide to a Perfect March Madness Bracket

Ready for March Madness?

Your Guide to a Perfect March Madness Bracket

March: a time of warmer weather, flowers, and legal gambling.

Millions of people every year participate in the most unpredictable playoff system in sports. And every year, everyone tries to create the perfect bracket. (Personally, I'll settle for guessing the national champion every year.) Now, with Warren Buffet's billion-dollar bracket challenge, there is even more incentive to reach a perfection.

After many years of failure after failure and a low point of losing to the family dog's bracket, I have learned a lot about predicting these tournament games. I'll share some immense wisdom with you below on your way to a perfect bracket with minimal research:

1. Don't NOT pick a team because the name is unknown.

Because of the automatic bid rule from each Division 1 conference, there are always teams not too many people have heard of, unless of course you attend said unknown school. But just because the team is unheard of, doesn't mean they can't beat the traditional schools. Many times, those teams will surprise you and pull off an upset. SF Austin beat VCU last year, Stephen Curry put Davison on the map with his magical March Madness run, and who could forget Valparaiso's buzzer beater over Ole Miss in 1997! So just because the school is small and not very well known, it doesn't mean the players can't ball.

2. Always, always, always pick a 12 seed over a 5 seed.

It seems like every year a 12 beats a 5 in the tournament. In fact, in the last three years, 12 seeds have won 66 percent of the time. That is an upset waiting to happen. It happens virtually every year; the most important part is which 12 seed to pick to beat an overrated 5 seed. It is the most common upset chosen, but obviously for good reason. Don't ignore this matchup — think twice before picking the higher seed.

3. Don't be a homer.

I'm sure each person writing out an NCAA basketball bracket has an alliance to a team one way or another; whether it's the school attended, your local team or favorite mascots. Don't be fooled by this though. Unless your alma mater is Kentucky, Duke, or Kansas, usually picking your undergrad school is a longshot. It is better to ignore alliances to schools and pick which team is better. If that means picking Kentucky over Duke as a Duke alum, so be it. UVA over Duke, so be it. UNC over Duke … never mind that rivalry is too serious to pick the other school. The point is, don't fall into a rut of choosing a school just because of a silly alliance.

4. One bracket per person.

Unfortunately, people like to spread out the wealth, giving them more chance to win by creating more than one bracket. Keep it to one bracket, folks. Have some integrity and trust in your probability ability! Well, I guess two brackets is okay, but not more than that. After that, it just gets hard to keep track of and it's unfair. It's more fun to live and die by one bracket than have four for four different tournament winners.

5. A team of threes is okay with me.

Historically, the three-point line has been a pivotal part of college basketball. Game-winners, buzzer beaters, and upsets all happen at the three-point line. If a team is lights out from the three-point line, have an eye on them. Harvard showed us that in their past two tournament appearances. A team with a lot of shooters can pull an early round upset en route to another game. VCU caught fire from behind the line and made a historic Final Four run. Make sure to keep a team's three-point percentage in mind in the first round matchups.


An overlooked asset in this generation's one and done culture is experience, once the tournament starts. Erase the talent, erase the records. Once the third week of March rolls around, each game is as mental as it is physical. Teams with upperclassmen are more likely to pull off an upset or make a run past the first weekend. They have played together longer, survived and battled longer, and know what it takes to win basketball games more. More maturity = more wins. This doesn't mean a team of freshmen (Kentucky) won't win it all. Maturity is in all ages, but older players usually have more maturity and definitely have more experience.

I can't firmly say that these steps will help you have a perfect bracket because it is virtually impossible. But I can firmly say these tips won't hurt your chances at all. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. And it is all in good nature, so have some fun with it because it only comes around once a year.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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