10 Tips to Making Sense of the Madness
Each year, pundits, die-hards, and average fans struggle to fill out their NCAA March Madness brackets. The tournament of 68 is always unpredictable so here are 10 tips to help you get through the fun, but stressful process:
1. When deciding whether or not to pick a team through to the next round, examine thier record closely: not just overall, but particularly in their last 10 games. Pay special attention to how they performed in their conference tournament, as a team that’s riding a wave of momentum may have the upper hand. In addition, remember that some conferences are better than others; 23-8 in the Big East is probably better than 26-7 in the Big South.
2. Don’t pick all the No.1 seeds to advance to the Final Four. It’s only happened once in the 75 years of the NCAA Tournament, and with the amount of parity this year, don’t count on the supposed heavyweights to all reach Atlanta.
3. It’s usually advisable to have a No. 1 seed win the entire tournament. However, this year is different. Nearly all the potential No. 1-3 seeds are fairly evenly-matched.
4. Even though Duke and Missouri both lost last year as No. 2 seeds in the first round, take this as a statistical anomaly. You should be able to slot your No. 1-3 seeds into the round of 32 without any qualms.
5. Choose one Mid-Major team to fall in love with and ride them to the Elite Eight. It’s generally better to avoid sending more than one through, as by the later stages of the tournament, the majority of Cinderella stories will have struck midnight.
6. Be on the lookout for experience-laden teams who return numerous key players from an NCAA tournament squad last year. This time of the year brings an enormous amount of pressure on the student athletes, and these teams will have the invaluable experience required to stay cool, calm, and collected in the most pressure-packed moments.
7. Long gone are the glory days of the giants who commanded non-stop attention in the paint. College basketball has become a guard’s game, and teams with two or more talented guards should be expected to have the ball-handling and shot-making required to make noise.
8. Choose at least one No. 5-12 first round upset. I don’t know what it is about this classic matchup, but every year it seems as though one No. 12 seed shocks their higher seeded opponent in the first round.
9. Try and see which teams have a regional advantage in the early round games. Higher seeds have the Selection Committee on their side when they end up playing games only a few hours from campus, but some lesser schools can get lucky. This makes a huge difference, as more of their fans will attend the games, lending the teams a home-courtesque advantage.
10. Choose teams whose head coaches have been proven winners in March and April. Candidates include Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo and Butler Head Coach Brad Stevens, who have each proven time and time again their ability to take less talented squads to the final two weekends.
— Mayaz Alam
Favourite – Louisville
Darkhorse – Saint Louis
Bracket Buster – Valpraiso
Overrated – Duke
Favourite – Ohio State
Darkhorse – Wisconsin
Bracket Buster – Belmont
Overrated – Gonzaga
Favourite – Kansas
Darkhorse – VCU
Bracket Buster – South Dakota St.
Overrated – Michigan
Favourite – Indiana
Darkhorse – Butler
Bracket Buster – Davidson
Overrated – Syracuse