Every year, diehard college basketball fans and individuals who could not distinguish a travel from a double dribble, compete in office pools and other events that incorporate a printable NCAA Tournament bracket.
The general goal of these competitions is to award a winner based on the one who makes the most correct picks throughout the 65-team field. The type of game played and prize awarded vary. Some people play just for fun while others compete for a pot worth in the excess of $500.
The most common March Madness pool is what some merely describe as “filling out a bracket.” It is here where one locates a printable NCAA Tournament bracket and then proceeds to “fill out the bracket,” doing their best to select a winner for each matchup until they reach the title game.
The scoring system of these pools may differ, but the general rule is that the player earns a point for each game they correctly pick in the bracket. Some pools increase the number of points per round (1 point=First Round, 2 points= Second Round, etc) while others award multiple points for upsets (lower seed beats higher seed, seed #10 or lower wins first round game, etc).
If you would like to participate in a March Madness bracket pool next year, then you should pay close attention to Selection Sunday, held five days before the first game of the tournament. It is here where the 64 teams for the tournament are selected and seeded.
The NCAA Tournament automatically awards 31 bids to the winners of each Conference’s postseason tournament. The other 34 bids are reserved for what the NCAA refers to as “at-large bids.”
“At-large bids” are technically given to the next 34 best teams in college basketball, although that’s always up for debate. An NCAA appointed selection committee is given the task of selecting those 34 teams and seeding them appropriately.
On Selection Sunday, the telecast will announce all 65 teams and their seeds. The NCAA Tournament is broken down into four different regions with each region seeded 1-16. Pay careful attention to the Selection Sunday broadcast for two reasons. A) You can learn insightful tips and predictions from the experts on the telecast.
This is especially recommended for those who do not follow basketball but would still like to participate in an office pool. B) You’ll want to locate a printable NCAA Tournament bracket and fill in the seeds as they are announced on the television.
TIP: The Internet offers several printable brackets during tournament time, so simply search “printable NCAA tournament bracket” on Google or Yahoo.
Next comes the hard part. Once the bracket is full, the participant must break down the field of competition and ultimately select a champion. First, start off small with the easy picks. Keep in mind that a #16 seed has never beat a #1 seed and the #15 seed rarely beats the #2. Those eight picks are a given.
The rest of the first round matchups are not so simple. The #8/#9 and #7/#10 matchups are particular difficult to predict because the two teams are essentially even. Keep in mind that a #14 and #13 seed almost always upset a #3 and #4 seed respectively. Thus, you should pencil in at least one upset in each of those two first round matchups.
You can learn a lot from experts who often post their very own mock-bracket prior to the first round games and even go as far as to offer their reasoning for picking each winner. If you haven’t learned by now, accurately picking the upsets is perhaps one of the biggest challenges and keys to success in your office pool.
The four #1 seeds are the four best teams in the country and the strongest candidates for winning the National title. Nearly every year at least one if not two of those #1 seeds advance to the Final Four. #2 and #3 seeds are also strong candidates. Every year a low seed (#11-#14) is likely to at least advance to the Sweet Sixteen.