Here’s how to pick winners in your NCAA bracket pool when you don’t watch college basketball

NCAA bracket


Now that Selection Sunday has come and gone, it’s time to get down to filling out your bracket. Your office copier is working overtime today to churn out copies and you’re itching to throw a few bucks in the pot and fill one out.

Only problem is, you don’t pay attention to college basketball, you have no idea who is even in the tournament, let alone good, and there’s pressure. You don’t want to be the guy everyone laughs at for making some bone-headed pick.

Anyone can go to ESPN and copy the bracket of some supposed expert, but that’s not us. We’re dads, and we like to put a little effort into doing things right. Not too much, of course, again, we are dads and our specialty is putting just a little effort into things.

So anyway, you’re in luck. We went out on the internet and brought back a list of the best tips and tricks you can use to dominate your office pool and just maybe, win this thing.

It’s not a Cinderella story.

Every year, it feels like there’s some huge upset that breaks brackets and hearts everywhere. And there is, within reason. Don’t go picking 16 seeds to win.

From the LA Times:

Since the seeding began in 1979, the top four seeds have made the Sweet 16 more than all the other seeds combined. At least two top seeds have made the Final Four the majority of the time. The worst-ranked team to win a national title was seeded eighth. And, oh yeah, a 16-seed has yet to beat a one-seed in their 132 first-round matchups. Don't even think about it.

In other words, there are always upsets, but don’t go crazy. 17 of the last 25 NCAA champions have been a No. 1 seed.

Silver’s not so bad

In the past 39 tournaments, a No. 2 seed has made the Final Four 26 times. Ah, but which one?

You can’t spell “champion” without an I

From USA Today: Since 1989, the national title has been won by a coach with an "I" in his last name 22 times, including Roy Williams last season. And not since 1997 (Lute Olson) has a coach won without having an "I" in his first or last name. Best bets to break that streak this year: Tony Bennett (Virginia), Mark Few (Gonzaga) Steve Alford (UCLA) and Bobby Hurley (Arizona State).

When in doubt, go blue

Fourteen of the last 15 NCAA champions had blue as one of their primary colors. The one that wasn’t? Louisville…and they just had to return their title because of a cheating scandal.

Make sure the sum of the seeds of your Final Four teams is less than 20

From Since 1985, when the tournament expanded to 64 teams, the average sum of the seeds of the Final Four teams is 11.2 and on just two occasions (2000, 2011), the total was greater than 20. It's fine, if not encouraged, if not realistic, to pick a dark horse team or two to make the Final Four – since 2013, at least one team seeded as a No. 7 or higher has made the Final Four every year – but don't get carried away.

Deeper Dive

If you really want to break your head, this Washington Post article gets into the weeds, using projected scoring margins to infer implied winning percentages and stuff like that.

Either way, good luck with your bracket.

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