Every year, in March, when the college basketball brackets are released, there are people all over the country analyzing teams and players, trying to fill out the perfect bracket. There is no record that a person has ever filled out a perfect bracket. There is no sure fire method to the madness, but here is a guide that can help you make intelligent decisions when it comes time to fill out your bracket.
(Technically it is the 2nd Round, but for clarity we will be referring to it as the 1st Round since it is the 1st Round in the bracket)
1 Seed vs. 16 Seed
A 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed in the history of the NCAA Division One Basketball Tournament. This is not a bet that you will want to make, take every 1 seed to the 2nd round. A 1 seed makes it into the sweet sixteen 88% of the time and the elite eight 71% of the time.
2 Seed vs. 15 Seed
A 15 seed has beaten a 2 seed seven times in history. This rarity is a possibility and has happened three times in the past three years. In 2012, Norfolk State beat Missouri and Lehigh beat Duke, then in 2013 Florida Gulf Coast beat Georgetown en route to the sweet sixteen being the only team to ever be in the sweet sixteen as a 15 seed. It is still a huge gamble and probably shouldn’t be done unless you have some very strong evidence that it is a possibility.
3 Seed vs. 14 Seed
Only eighteen times in history has a 14 seed beaten a 3 seed. If you are trying to win your bracket pool this risk might not pay off unless there is a strong contender against a team that has possibly been overrated. Just recently, in 2014, Mercer beat Duke and in 2013 Harvard beat New Mexico. If you pick all of the 1, 2, and 3 seeds to advance to the next round your bracket will be looking pretty good!
4 Seed vs. 13 Seed
A 13 seed has beaten the 4 seed twenty-five times in the history of the NCAA Division One Basketball Tournament. In the last ten years there have been nine, 13seeds that have beaten the 4 seed, so keep this in mind if you are looking to pick a 1st round upset. However, since there are four 1st round games, where a 4 seed plays the 13 seed, the challenge is figuring out which game is it going to happen in, if it happens at all. In 2014 not one 13 seed beat a 4 seed, although in 2013 LaSalle defeated Kansas State in a stunning upset.
5 Seed vs. 12 Seed
Now this is where the madness happens folks. There have been forty-two times that a 5 seed has beaten a 12 seed. Since the year 2000 at least one 12 seed has beaten a 5 seed every year except for in 2007. Unbelievably in 2013 and 2014, three of the four 12 seeds advanced to the 2nd round. This definitely seems like a gamble that could pay off. It is almost a guarantee that at least one 12 seed will advance and this is where watching a lot of College ball pays off. The last three years have been particularly impressive with 12 seeds posting an 8-4 record. SFA moved on to the 2nd round last year as a 12 seed and is once again a 12 seed this year. They might be a team worth taking to the 2nd round. Notably, Montana beat Nevada to advance in 2006.
6 Seed vs. 11 Seed
Surprisingly only forty-one 11 seeds have beaten a 6 seed, which is one less than the 12 seeds that have beaten 5 seeds. In the last ten years at least one 11 seed has advanced to the next round every year. Most recently in 2014, Dayton beat Ohio State and Tennessee beat UMASS.
7 Seed vs. 10 Seed
The 10 seed has beaten a 7 seed fifty-seven times in history, which is about 40% of the time. It is a bit of a toss up on whether to pick the 10 seed or the 7 seed. It is best, in this situation, to not base your pick on rankings but to instead pay attention to who you think has been a strong contender through out the regular season.
8 Seed vs. 9 Seed
You will be hard pressed to find a harder decision while filling out your bracket than whether to pick the 8 or the 9 seed to advance. An 8 seed beats the 9 seed 52% of the time. Even though the 8 seed seems to have a slight advantage, this match up is virtually a toss up. You should base your picks on is a team has had a really hot player or finished their season really strong. Rankings seem to have little to no predictability when it comes to the 8 and 9 seed.
Additional Facts That May Help You
Like I stated earlier, a 1 seed makes the sweet sixteen 88% of the time, 2 seeds make the sweet sixteen 68% of the time, 3 seeds make the sweet sixteen 60% of the time and the 4 seeds make the sweet sixteen 58% of the time.
The last five times that Georgetown has been in the tournament, they have lost to a team ranked at least five spots worse than they were. So they could be one team to choose for an upset against Eastern Washington.
Although all of the 1 seeds are a heavy favorite, there has only been one year in history, 2008, that all of the 1 seeds made the final four. Only six times in history has the championship game featured two 1 seeds. Only three times in history, most recently in 2011, has a final four not featured a 1 seed.
Among active coaches in the NCAA tournament this year, Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzewski has won 4 championships, followed by Louisville’s coach Rick Patino and North Carolina’s coach Roy Williams and they have both won two. Other active coaches in the tournament that have won a championship include SMU’s Larry Brown, Kentucky’s John Calipari, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Kansas’s Bill Self.
A 1 seed has won the championship five of the last six years. A 2 seed has not won a National Championship since 2004.
A 5 seed has never won a National Championship. Only four times in history has the winner of the National Championship been worse than a 4 seed, in 2014 Connecticut as a 7 seed, in 1988 Kansas as a 6 seed, in 1985 Villanova as a 8 seed and in 1983 North Carolina State as a 6 seed.
A 12 seed or worse has never made the final four and has only once made the elite eight, which happened when 12 seed Missouri made it in 2002.
Of the teams in this years NCAA tournament, nineteen of the sixty-eight teams have won a National Championship in their school history. UCLA has won eleven championships, Kentucky has won eight and North Carolina and Indiana have both won five National Championships.
Although Kentucky is a heavy favorite, only three times in the last twenty years has the topped ranked team in the country won it all. However the last time it happened was in 2012 and Kentucky was ranked #1 and won the tournament, so there is a good chance that they will do it again this year.
What follows is a link to where you can go to print off a bracket. There are so many outlets out there where you can enter into bracket pools that you should have ample opportunity to have some fun this march madness season. I hope this breakdown of odds will help you when making your predictions. Good Luck!!