It’s a little more than a month until all the basketball attention gets diverted to the college scene for this year’s March Madness. If you’ve spent the past couple of years hearing everyone talk about their brackets but have never quite gotten into it yourself, 2023 could be the perfect year to do so. Here, we’ll provide some March Madness tips for absolute beginners, and answer some of those questions that you were afraid to ask.
Back in the old days, March Madness brackets used to be office-run affairs, with participants paying their entry fee and filling in a physical form with a pen in duplicate. That’s part of the reason some businesses dread March! There are probably still plenty doing it this way, but if it all sounds a little 20th century to you, there are numerous online brackets you can join. ESPN hosts one of the most popular, and you can sign up hassle-free with your Facebook account.
Fill out your bracket
Now to the serious business. Who’s going to win each fixture? It looks daunting, but step back for a moment. It’s basically impossible to predict with complete accuracy and it has been calculated that you are more than 120,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to complete a perfect bracket. Think of it as a March Madness casino tournament online and use a resource like Gamble Online to pick out the favorites and then mix in just the right amount of underdog wins. Keep in mind that the favorites win about 70 to 80 percent of the time, and at least two of the top four seeds usually make it to the final four. One other useful tip to remember – the top seed has made the top four on all but three occasions in the past 30 years.
Pick your tiebreaker
From what has come before, you’ll be aware that a tie at the top is extraordinarily unlikely. But it’s not impossible, so as a tiebreaker, you are asked to predict the scoreline of the final. If you want to adopt a mathematical approach, 70-69 is statistically the optimum, but the odds of it coming to this are so remote that you shouldn’t spend too much time stressing over it!
Immerse yourself in the madness
Now we come to the part where America’s productivity really takes a nosedive. Internet connections will be buzzing as everyone follows the action in the game after game, updating their bracket accordingly. Obviously, the action is most frantic in the first round due to the sheer volume of fixtures, but from start to finish the action is non-stop. It is, after all, called March Madness and not March Moderation.
Count your winnings
If most of your final four survive the opening week, you’re in a good position to compete for a win in your pool, and the second week takes on all the more importance. If you should win and you’re playing in an old-fashioned locally organized bracket, it is good form to tip the organizer a cut, even if it’s just equivalent to the entry fee.