The Bracket Manifesto For March Madness

After two years of waiting, the NCAA tournament has finally arrived. As an Upper East Side resident and CBS analyst Jon Rothstein likes to say …

The NCAA tournament is one of my favorite events of the year. For three weeks, college basketball will dominate the sports world. In particular, the first day of the tournament is one of my best days of the year. 12 hours of basketball, food, gambling and lawlessness. Sign me up.

With the tournament comes support. According to American Gaming Association, 36.7 million Americans say they will step aside. I would venture to say that over half of those people don’t watch college basketball, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means that a lot of people are going to fill in hooks and get into gambling pools.

Let’s just call a spade a spade. It takes a lot of luck to win your pool. However, there are a few tips and trends to follow that could set you up for success. As someone who won a national tournament challenge and spoke about my victory on CBS Sports Radio, I might know a thing or two about the medium …

This is my parenthesis manifesto.

I’m not going to tell you which teams to choose. However, I will give you the keys to fill your support. This manifesto is your tourist guide. You still have to get to your destination, but I’ll give you the map to follow.

* Warnings are hot on the streets right now thanks to “I’m not a financial advisor, but I’m going to buy this stock” tweets. I want to say that I am not an expert. I’m just a guy who managed to fill in some hooks. This is MY strategy.

If in doubt, choose the favorite

This is my number one rule. When in doubt, choose the favorite. It sounds simple, but many of us fall into the trap of picking the perfect upset instead of focusing on who wins the titles, who are the best seeds. There have been four champions since 1983 that have been ranked lower than five. The last team to do so was UCONN in 2014. If you picked UCONN in 2014 to win it all, you probably won your pool. Congratulations, but it was an anomaly. Stick to a team in the top 5 as a champion.

Focus on keeping your Sweet Sixteen intact

In most pools, the tranches will be rewarded for their advancement. If your pool rewards an Upset win with more points, choose more Upsets. However, there are more points to be gained in subsequent rounds. Don’t panic if you don’t pick the right # 12 over # 5 or # 11 or # 6 in the first round. If you lost this team in the next round, it’s not a huge loss. Focus on as many Sweet 16 teams as possible. If you have 12 out of 16 teams in your rack heading into the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, then you’re in great shape.

The four first-time participants in the final rarely win everything

There is a first for everything. Teams like Alabama and Tennessee could move in the right direction. Both teams are looking to reach their first Final Four in school history. However, only one team in the past 35 years has won a title on their first trip to the Final Four and that was UCONN in 1999. As someone who loves this Alabama team and will pick them to go far , it would be unwise to choose them as my champion.

The n ° 11 on the n ° 6 is the new n ° 12 on the n ° 5

One of the most popular tips shared during tournament week is Upset # 12 of 5. “You have to pick at least a seeded 12 to win,” said one of your colleagues who thinks that he is an expert. Although your colleague is probably a snob, he is right. In the past 40 years, at least one 12 seeds beat a 5 seeds in all but five tournaments. You should pick at least a 12 seeded seed to win in the first round, but the 11 seeds become the new must-have surprise. 11 seeds are 21-19 against 6 seeds in the last 40 games of the tournament. So who Syracuse 11 seeds win a match in the first round?

Blue – The color of champions

With apologies to red, orange, yellow, green, purple, white and black, blue is the official color of champions. Since Syracuse won in 2003, only one other champion didn’t have a shade of blue on his uniform and that was Louisville in 2013. Technically, this championship never took place! This year Gonzaga, Michigan, and Illinois are all 1-seeds not because of their CVs, but because of the blue on their jerseys. Sorry, Baylor.

Cherish this NCAA tournament. We’ve all been robbed March Madness Last year. COVID-19 can’t ruin this one, right?


Please don’t mess it up, COVID.

What are your tips for filling in the parentheses? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

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