March Madness Bracket Advice
There are some interesting numbers of note regarding March Madness. You’ll be choosing teams very soon and you’ll want to do so by studying how they’ve played on the road, what their records are against quality opponents, and how much experience they have in big games. Understanding how a team performs under pressure and the depth of their bench is also important. Along with these and other aspects, such as identifying whom the money players and smart coaches are, there are certain trends that have dominated the tournament over the past 10 to 25 years. Here are a few things to consider.
In the past 26 years, both teams that have met in the final game to battle for the right to call themselves number one have been in that position before. So if you’re thinking maybe Oral Roberts, Gonzaga, the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, or another newcomer might be in the final mix, history says “no.” Of course history was also against the White Sox winning the World Series last year and the Red Sox winning it the year before and both bucked the trend and tradition. Then again, this is college basketball and not professional baseball.
A number one seed—this year that means Duke, Connecticut, Memphis and Villanova—has always been in the Final Four for the past 24 years. If that doesn’t occur this year, March Madness of 2006 will probably be known as the “Tournament of the Long Shots,” which means all trends are out the window. Of course the chance that not one of the four first seeds won’t be playing this April is a real long shot.
For the past seven years two teams in the Final Four have come from the same conference. Those conferences are the ones that are the most competitive and have placed the most teams in the tournament—Big East, Big 10, Big 12, and ACC. Consider the clubs from those conferences and look at how they have been seeded and the road they have to take to get to the Final Four and the ultimate Last Dance.
Also bear in mind that in 5 of the last 6 Elite Eight, three of those teams have hailed from the same league and in 8 of the last eleven Sweet Sixteen rounds one conference has provided four of those clubs. Last year nine of the 16 were from three conferences—ACC, Big East, and Big 10.
When looking at other seeds traditionally seven, eight, and nine seeds rarely do well in the tournament, while there’s usually one 10 or 12 seed in the Sweet 16. More often than not a 3 to 6 seed makes it to the Final Four. Carefully study those teams in the seeds most likely to go on and choose a few to ride through the tournament.
Of course in making any choices you need to do your homework. You can’t merely choose according to how seeds and conferences have done in the past. But using this knowledge along with solid information and common sense can help make you a winner in March Madness.
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