College basketball fans around the country are preparing to ‘get sick’ a lot in the coming weeks as the annual tournament lovingly referred to as ‘March Madness’ gets underway. However, before that can happen another tried and true tradition for thousands has to take place as well.
It’s time to fill out your brackets.
When the tournament consisted of just 64 teams the number of theoretical outcomes was 9.2 quintillion of them (yeah, I’v never heard of that number either). When four more teams were added, the number of possibilities increased to 147,573,952,589,676,412,928 (147 quintillion).
Overwhelming? Keep these rules in mind and it won’t be nearly as confusing as you might think filling out your bracket:
You can practically bank on the top four teams winning in round one. Since 1985, a No 16 seed has never advanced past the first round; only four No 15 seeds ever have. The odds are a little better for the No 14 (14.81) and No 13 seeds (21.3), but they still suck. Pick the top four to win and more than likely you will have at least those 16 teams alive in the second round.
Picking the other winners gets a little more difficult. There is almost always at least one or two underdog winners in the first round, typically a No 12 or No 11 seed; those guys have won approximately 1 out of every three games since 1985 meaning your safe picking two (the trouble is which two).
Choosing a winner between the No 10 and 7 and the No 8 and 9 picks is bit tougher; 10 seeds have won just under 40 percent of the time (since ’85) while the 9 seed has actually won more than half.
You can count on No 1 seeds doing well. Only three times since 1979 has their not been at least one No 1 seed in the Final Four; on the flip side there has only been one occurrence when all four made it to the semis. You’d be okay picking two of them to go all the way (17 of the last 33); Six times since ’85 there have been two No 1 seeds in the championship.
Besides the No 1 seeds, you can practically bank on at least one No 2 seed playing in the Final Four. Only once (2011) has there not been a No 1 or 2 seed in the Final Four.
Don’t necessarily bank on Kentucky winning it all (even though you’d be hard pressed not to think they might). Only five times in the last 30 years has the No 1 team in the polls won the tournament.
These rules should help you at least not finish last. Now should they help you win some money please send 20 percent of the take to the Egotastic main office (or at least a six-pack) for helping you look like a college hoops guru!
Article by Travis Pulver