NCAA Tournament: Picking A Bracket

Winning your pool at work or with your friends can be a difficult thing to do, especially if you don’t watch much college basketball. Trust me, I’ve been filling out brackets since I can remember, and also trust me when I say this: THERE IS NO EXACT SCIENCE TO FILLING OUT A PERFECT BRACKET. But for those of you who don’t watch much college basketball or for those of you who watch a lot of college basketball, here are a few tips that might help you when filling out your bracket.

When filling out your bracket, here is something you NEED to know: A No. 1 seed has NEVER lost to a No. 16 seed, EVER. So now that you know the chances of all four No. 1 seeds advancing is nearly 100 percent, fill in Florida, Arizona, Wichita State, and Virginia to advance to the next round.

The No. 2 vs No. 15 seeds are semi-interesting this year. Since 2004, a No. 2 seed has lost to a No. 15 seed only three times, with all three of those times coming since 2012. All of the No. 2 seeds (Kansas, Wisconsin and Michigan) look strong this season. The one I’m not so sure about: Villanova. I could see them losing to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Since 2004, N0. 14 seeds are 4-36 against No. 3 seeds, and this year’s No. 3 seeds are all powerhouse teams except for Creighton. Creighton is in the West Region of the bracket, a region in which New Mexico lost to Harvard last year. Watch out Creighton!

The No. 13 seed is 9-31 against the No. 4 seed, and it averages out to just under one win a tournament for a 13 seed to beat a 4 seed. Out of the nine victories, four have been from the West Region of the bracket and three have been from the Midwest Region. This year, defending National Champion Louisville is the No. 4 seed in the Midwest and they are about as hot as any team heading into the tournament. The No. 4 seed in the West Region is Sand Diego State. They have to play a tough New Mexico State team in the first round. NM State has a lot of size and that could spell trouble for SDSU.

The No. 12 seed has seem a lot of success in knocking off the No. 5 seed over the past decade. They have a record of 17-23 with wins coming in every region. This year’s No. 12 seeds are: S.F. Austin, North Dakota State, Harvard, and NC State/Xavier (play-in game). If you want to pick an upset or two, take S.F. Austin to beat Virginia Commonwealth University and Harvard to beat Cincinnati.

No. 11 seeds have a record of 14-26 against No. 6 seeds, but have an 8-8 record over the past four tournaments. If you are looking to pick against No. 6 seed in this tournament, pick Providence over North Carolina. North Carolina doesn’t shoot the three-ball well (almost dead-last in the nation in made threes). Also, if Tennessee beats Iowa in their play-in game, I could see Tennessee sneaking pass Massachusetts because Tennessee has some serious size inside.

No. 7 vs No. 10 is a toss-up. Even though the No. 7 seed holds a 25-15 record, on even numbered years, the No. 10 seed is 9-11. 2014 is an even numbered year. I could see THREE No. 10 seeds advancing to the round of 32. St. Joseph’s, Arizona State, and BYU all have the ability to run past their opponent. It wouldn’t surprise me to see at least two No. 7 seeds go down in the first round.

Finally, the toughest matchup of them all: No. 8 vs No. 9. While the No. 8 seeds holds a slight margin in the win column (22-18), I think at least two No. 9 seeds will advance. (Hint: Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State). But like I said earlier, this is the toughest matchup to predict.

Good luck!

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