I love basketball and I love money. When the two collide, I’m in Heaven. I’m sure we have all read the articles that tell us how much money and productivity is lost from employees filling out brackets, but that’s not what I’m interested in. Since we’re all going to be entering brackets this year (and most likely forking out some bucks), my goal is to maximize your chances of winning your pool. When the teams are cutting down the nets, I want you to be counting your moolah.
The Perfect Bracket
Picking a perfect bracket is next to impossible. To be exact your odds are 2^67 to 1. Let me calculate that in my head real quick…………………………….and you get 147,573,952,589,676,412,928 to 1. Why don’t we call it an even 147 quintillion to 1?
So your odds at a perfect bracket may be poor, but you don’t have to be perfect. You simply have to out-select the other players in your pool. You can either choose the teams with your favorite colors and mascots OR you can follow past trends. Since I’m color blind, I’ll do the latter.
ESPN came out with an incredible statistical analysis of prior tournaments’ results a few days ago. If you have 3 hours to burn, I recommend you read it. If you only have a few minutes, I’ll summarize what I think is important.
Trends To Consider
Round of 64
- #1 seeds have never lost in the first round
- #2 seeds have only lost 4 times in the first round
- There is an average of 8 upsets in the round of 64 each year
- #9 seeds have actually won more games than #8 seeds
- #7 seeds beat #10 seeds 60% of the time (almost a toss-up)
- #6 seeds beat #11 seeds 67% of the time
- #5 seeds beat #12 seeds 67% of the time
Round of 32
- A #1 seed has lost in this round each of the last 2 years
- #2 seeds actually lose 1/3 of these games
- Only 3/8 #3 seeds have advanced passed this round (last 2 years)
- Roughly 1/3 #4 seeds advance passed this round (last 5 years)
- It’s rare that #8 seeds beat #1 seeds but when they do, they go far
- At least 2 double-digit seeds have advanced in 12 of the last 15 years
- #12 seeds have reached more Sweet Sixteens than #7 seeds, #11 seeds, #8 and #9 seeds COMBINED, and about the same as #10 seeds
- Only once have two #12 seeds made it to the Sweet 16
- 71% of the ELITE 8 is comprised of #1, #2, and #3 seeds
- At least one team seeded worse than #6 seed has reached the Elite 8 in 22 of the last 27 years
- #12 seeds’ journeys end at this point
- The #1 overall seed has made the Final 4 just 3 times in 8 years (not good odds)
- No #1 seeds is just as likely as three #1 seeds
- 9 of the last 13 champions have been #1 seeds
- Only 6 of 33 championships have hosted two #1 seeds
Best of luck with filling out your bracket. Take this newly acquired knowledge and dominate. I have confidence in you.