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New to March Madness?

Matt is a basketball enthusiast who lives and breathes basketball.

What is March Madness?

March Madness is just around the corner, and with many people getting ready to fill out their brackets, I thought it would be a good idea to enlighten some newcomers on how to increase their chances of winning their tournament leagues. To this day, not a single person has ever predicted a perfect bracket for March Madness. With that being said this article won’t guarantee you a perfect bracket by any means, but the goal here is to increase your chances of winning and maybe even getting that lucky perfect bracket.

So, your new to March Madness. Everyone around you is getting ready to make their brackets soon and you have no clue what’s going on. That’s totally fine. We’ll start with answering the question of what March Madness is, and then go into some tips on how to increase your chances of winning.

What is March Madness? March Madness involves 64 initial teams from college basketball, which are selected on the Sunday prior to the games themselves. The teams are divided into four sides of a bracket, being ranked one through sixteen. The teams that are ranked one are considered the best teams, and the teams ranked sixteen are considered the worst. The sixteen seeds play the one seeds in the first round, fifteen plays the two, fourteen plays the three, and so on. Each time only plays one game per round, meaning that if you lose, you’re out.

How do I increase my chances of winning?

March Madness begins on Sunday March 13th this year, with selection Sunday. On selection Sunday the official bracket for March Madness 2020 will be released and you can start filling out your brackets. On most sites you can create up to 25 unique brackets. Capitalizing on making the most brackets possible is essential if you truly want to have the perfect one. The more entries can only increase your chances of having that lucky one. The only downside to this is that it can be quite time consuming, especially if you are doing your research and predicting all types of outcomes. Even if you’re not going for an exactly perfect bracket, by doing this you can narrow it down to your top five and choose some of those to enter into your leagues.

It all starts with picking your champion. This should be the very first thing you should do in all of your brackets. Find a team that you really like, typically a lower seeded team (1-4) and make them your champions. Before even picking the rest of the first-round games, take that time you believe in and have them going all the way. After that start picking the other games. When picking your champion, do some research first. Ask yourself what do they have that nobody else does? Is it spirit, talent, a good coach? You can find a ton of information on the teams playing on the internet, and I suggest looking into a couple of different teams.

What about upsets?

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When it comes to upsets, there really is no way of predicting these. Typically, there’s at least a couple in the first round (the round of 64) that break a good number of brackets. The likelihood of a 16 seed beating a 1 seed is extremely rare but has happened in recent years. This is why I mentioned earlier that making more brackets can help with this type of thing. The more brackets you make that take into account certain upsets, the better of a chance that you have at keeping a perfect bracket.

The round of 64, or the first round, is always the toughest when it comes to predictions. Like I mentioned before, there will be upsets, and its very hard to predict what the upsets will be. The main tip I have here is to do some research. Say for example a number four seed is without one of their best players, this would make an upset much more likely, and you can try to predict as so. The more research you do on the internal affairs of the teams, the better off you will be. If you can make out of the first round of March Madness, you are in great shape.

What do I do after the first round?

The second round gets tricky. Unpredictable things can happen in the first round that might hurt a higher seed down the line. Injuries can play a big role here. However, my advice would be to completely ignore injuries that could occur in the first round. Now that might sound a little ridiculous, but predicting injuries is never the way to go here. I would say that playing it safe in the second round is a good way to go. Maybe adding one or two upsets couldn’t hurt, but if a crazy upset did happen in the first round it is not likely that they will continue to upset other teams. However, this has happened in the past which is why I encourage creating an upset bracket.

An upset bracket is not just a bracket full of upsets. While that is not a bad option if you want more of a fun bracket to just tally off, the upset bracket involves picking one team that you think could pull off a crazy underdog story. A couple of years ago, The University of Loyola in Chicago pulled off just that. They were ranked as the 11 seed coming into the tournament but made it all the way to the final four. Most people predicted them out in the first or second round, but they just kept winning. Predicting the next Loyola is a great option for one of your brackets and if they do manage to pull it off, can be very rewarding.

Concluding thoughts.

One thing I personally do every year is a ‘Go with your gut’ bracket. The very first bracket I make, I pick the teams solely off of what first comes to mind. The key here is to never go back and change any predictions in this bracket. It might not be the most effective, but if I ever picked a perfect bracket, but went back before and changed a game that made it not perfect, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

In summary, predicting games for a March Madness bracket can be tough, and honestly takes a lot of luck to have a good bracket. But I hope that someone might’ve got a better understanding of how the tournament works and how to increase their chances of winning.

© 2022 MattSmith23

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