Winning your March Madness office pool is easier than you think. First of all, Lisa in accounting knows absolutely nothing and is still entering a bracket. That means that if you do a little bit of homework and follow these five tips, you’ll have a great chance to take her – and everyone else’s – money.
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1. Go With
Sure, everyone wants to be the genius that picks the
upsets. And believe me, there’s going to be plenty of upsets in the March
Madness bracket. After all, that’s what the tournament is all about.
However, there’s no need to go overboard. History shows
us that the chalks still do pretty well. In the past seven years, 11 of the 28
Final Four teams were No. 1 seeds. Delving a bit deeper, five more were No. 2
seeds. You don’t have to pick all No. 1 seeds as only about 42% of them make
the Final Four (since 1985) but look at twos, threes and fours. If you’re going
beyond that, you’re grasping for straws.
2. Go With
There’s always an exception to the rule (see: 2012
Kentucky Wildcats) but typically, experience pays dividends in the NCAA
tournament. There are teams that are led by seniors who have been there before
and there are teams who rely upon freshmen, who may wilt under the pressure of
the limelight. Also, experience with head coaching matters too as guys like
Rick Pitino, Roy Williams, Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski are always good choices
compared to coaches who simply haven’t done it before. If a team has a Hall of
Fame coach on the sidelines, there’s a far smaller chance they’ll be ripe for
an early-round upset.
3. Go Easy With
Everyone loves to try and predict the first-round upsets,
but take a look at the numbers. The statistics just aren’t on your side. Since
1985, the best double-digit seed winning percentage is the No. 11 and No. 12
seeds, who win 33.9% of the time. No. 13 seeds cash in at 21.4% while everyone
else is under 15%. No No. 16 seed has ever won a game.
4. Go With Defense
Teams that play good defense or have a strong defensive
foundation tend to go further in the tournament. That means full-court
pressure, forcing turnovers and guards that suffocate on the perimeter. It also
means above-average rebounding and blocking. NCAA Basketball mathematical whiz
Ken Pomeroy can crunch the numbers for you (KenPom.com) and according to him,
the 2011 VCU Rams are the only team ever to make it to the Final Four with a
ranking of 40-plus in defensive efficiency. Make sure you have a peak at his
numbers before you fill out your bracket.
5. Go Do Some
There are 68 teams in the NCAA tournament, which is a
lot, but you have to do the research. If you think you’re going to blindly pick
winners in a bracket with 68 teams, then you’d be better off playing the
lottery and saving your time.
There are a million resources out there from the major
news sites, to team reports, to podcasts, to advanced statistics. Make sure you
take it all in before you do your bracket. Otherwise, it’s just a guessing