The conference tournaments are over, bubbles have popped and the brackets have been announced. Welcome to the middle of March, also known as The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (TMWTY). For the next three weeks, more than 30 million Americans will participate in office pools (the Fast Horse crew included), and countless hours will be spent between now and the early hours of Thursday filling out brackets. If you choose to take the traditional route and fill out your bracket based on the teams themselves, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind from March Madness for Dummies and the New York Daily News:
- The odds of picking a perfect bracket: 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1. That’s NINE QUINTILLION to one. So don’t bother trying.
- A #16 seed has never upset a #1 seed. Just put the #1 and #2 seeds through to the second round. Since 1985, 2-seeds are 96-4 in the first round.
- #1 seeds are 88-12 in second-round games.
- The last 18 national champions have been seeded #4 or higher.
- No team has ever won the national championship after losing the first game in their conference tournament.
- All four #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four once. It was last year.
- Since 1985, 88% of Final Four participants came from the six major conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, SEC, Pac-10).
- McDonald’s All-Americans are important: since 1979, every NCAA tournament champion except one (Maryland in 2002) has had at least one McDonald’s All-American on its roster.
If you haven’t followed college basketball this season, don’t fret. There are plenty of other ways to fill out your bracket. For those of you wondering why the University of North Carolina is nowhere to be found on your bracket, here are a few other methods:
- Pit mascots against each other.
- Pick whichever team has players with the most interesting names.
- Size: which team’s average height is taller?
- Pick based on alumni: celebrity, political, athletic or otherwise.
- Compare past NBA draft picks.
- Pick whichever team has the hottest cheerleaders.
- Listen to each school’s fight song, and then make your pick based on whichever song gets you the most pumped up.
If all else fails, fill out dozens of brackets. Your boss may not be too happy, but at least one of those brackets will make you look like a genius. As for me, I’m taking Duke all the way. Eventually, my loyalty is bound to pay off – even if it means I don’t win the Fast Horse office pool.