The pressure is on, and we are surrounded by our friends with the brackets in our hand, waiting to make the final decisions that can earn us the respect of those around us.
There’s only one problem: Anything can happen. So how can we succeed in filling out our NCAA March Madness dream brackets?
The truth is there are endless amounts of strategies to use while filling out a bracket, and students at Dixie State University seem to know what they’re doing.
Dalton Groskreutz, a senior communication major from Santa Clara and a member of the DSU men’s basketball team, said teams that are the higher-ranked seeds typically do much better. He said it’s good to pay attention to teams that win the conference because those teams are more likely to play better in tournament situations. He also said it’s better to pick realistic upsets, such as a 10 seed beating a seven seed because the bracket will have a better chance at being successful.
“A 16 seed will hardly ever beat a one seed,” Groskreutz said. “… Every now and then, a 13 seed will beat a four seed, but that’s also rare.”
Zane Rizzuto, a senior communication major from Ogden, said he picks the teams with the best record for the first two rounds. Then he chooses the teams he watched the most and knows the best. If he ever has a tough time deciding, he always looks at the team with the best coach, but he said doing research helps with decision making.
“The most important thing I look at is how many points teams allow,” Rizzuto said. “Teams that have good defense always have a good chance in the NCAA tournament.”
Mason Sawyer, a sophomore psychology major from West Jordan and a member of the DSU men’s basketball team, said he also picks the top-seeded teams in the first round. He said a four and five seed gets defeated often, so that is a good way to earn some points and something to expect. He also said looking at the team instead of just stats can make a difference in a successful bracket.
“(You need to) look for teams with good defense and (that) shoot free throws as well because that’s big in tournament play,” Sawyer said. “(You need to) look at teams that are hot. Teams that won or did well in their conference tournament tend to do well. (You need to) look for teams that have a go-to scorer that can get a bucket or get to the free throw line when they need to score. (You need to) look at teams’ strength of schedule to see what kind of competition they have played throughout the year.”
Tanisha Armstrong, a junior business major from Richfield, said she also fills out her bracket by the specific rankings, and she also looks at the talent of each team, but she agrees that looking beyond the statistics is a benefit.
“I do ranking, but, then again, I think some teams can pull through with a W when they play with heart,” Armstrong said.
Kortni Sawyer, a sophomore nursing major from West Jordan, picks top-seeded teams for her first round with at least two upsets, but she also uses the strategy of asking her husband for advice.
According to an article titled “How To Fill Out a March Madness Bracket: Stop Trying So hard” by the Sports Roundtable from TheAtlantic.com, anything can happen, and there are strategies that can seem absurd, but they could create just as much success.
The first strategy is the Mascot Fight Club. If we aren’t sure which teams to pick, we just need to decide which mascots would win in a street brawl and/or animal planet. If we are stuck with the same mascot, we can choose our favorite color.
Another strategy is the Inverse Graduation Rate. Statistics show that no Ivy League school has made it to the Final Four since 1979. Based on that fact, we can choose to fill our brackets by the educational success the team or school has made.
The last strategy is the Coach Height strategy. This strategy is based on each coach’s height; the taller the coach is, the more successful the team will be. The towering former coach John Thompson once led Georgetown to three straight final fours. That was not a coincidence.
Rizzuto said it doesn’t matter if people fill out their brackets by using abnormal strategies because anything can happen in the March Madness tournament.
“If [people do] that, they would have just as good of a chance as anybody else because picking a good bracket is almost impossible,” Rizzuto said. “So it doesn’t matter what strategy you use.”
What strategies do you use when filling out your bracket? Let us know on our Dixie Sun News Facebook page.