With the first set of March Madness games in the record books. I have learned a few lessons about picking a winning bracket. Before I go any further, my bracket is busted…by a lot.
5 Things I Learned About Picking a Winning Bracket:
1. Read analysis of each game but, don’t let that be your final decision making process. Use it to help you become familiar with teams you may have not seen play yet (for example: Dayton, Stephen F. Austin and Mercer, who all advanced with big upsets of higher seeds).
2. Use your head not your heart. I am a die-hard North Carolina Tar Heel fan but, I understand their limitations. I have them losing to Iowa State. Though I would have loved to advance them all the way through to the Final Four. If I used my heart, I could potentially lose points in my bracket for the Sweet 16 game, Elite Eight game and Final Four game because I chose UNC when I knew they wouldn’t win.
3. Always be wary of the 5 seed-12 seed match-up and recently the 6 seed and 11 seed match-up. Every year, these games produce upsets. This year only one 5 seed won this game, that team is St Louis and they had to rally from 16 points down AND win in overtime. Of the four 6 seed and 11 seed games, two number 11 seeds advanced and two number 6 seeds advanced. Dayton and Tennessee overcame the odds and won as 11 seeds.
4. Understand there will be upsets in the early rounds. This will almost always happen. The key is picking the right one. My bracket was great until the North Dakota St-Oklahoma game happened. North Dakota State won in an upset. I knew there would be an upset but, I didn’t anticipate that game. Though, I did read plenty of analysts talking about North Dakota State being dangerous. I should have listened.
5. Don’t expect perfection. No one will collect Warren Buffett’s billion dollar challenge this year and it will rarely, if ever happen. Not with the Mercers and Stephen F. Austins of the world ruining brackets. The key is to make sure to AT LEAST pick the final four teams correctly because they can get you points through the entire tournament all the way to the end.
Ray Owens lives in Dayton, Ohio and is an avid sports fan. His every man perspective about everything from sports, marriage and his children make his writing enjoyable and relatable. His blogs My Love Hate Relationship With Sports and My Non-Sports Blog Thingee showcase his unique writing style.