Helpful Tips For Your NCAA Bracket Challenge: Want to Win Your NCAA Basketball Tournament Contest

With Selection Sunday and the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament about to take place, the country is about to engage on a two-week love affair with players from all across the nation. Many of these love crazed-people enter office pools, on-line competitions or other types of bracket challenges. Here are a few helpful hints and tips that should elevate your placing this year from last year’s. (All facts are as of 1985, when the tournament field was expanded to 64 teams)

NCAA Tournament Trends:

  • Just once did all four number one seeds reach the Final Four (2008: Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina, UCLA).
  • There have only been five teams which have the tournament as a number ranked team in either of the polls and gone on to win the national championship (North Carolina in 1993, UCLA in 1995, Michigan State in 2000, Duke in 2001 and Florida in 2007).
  • There have been five occasions where two number seeds faced off against one another in the national title game (North Carolina defeated Michigan in 1993, Connecticut defeated Duke in 1999, North Carolina defeated Illinois in 2005, Florida defeated Ohio State in 2007 and Kansas defeated Memphis in 2008).
  • 2006 was the only year in which the Final Four did not contain at least one number one seeded team (UCLA #2, Florida #3, LSU #4, and George Mason #11)
  • A number one seeded team has never lost in the opening round to a 16-seeded team; however four times a number 15 seed has knocked off a number two in the first round (Richmond defeated Syracuse in 1991, Santa Clara defeated Arizona in 1993, Coppin State defeated South Carolina in 1997 and Hampton defeated Iowa State in 2001).
  • The Sweet-16 has miraculously seen a 13-seed on four occasions and a 14-seed twice (Cleveland State in 1986 and Chattanooga in 1997).
  • The Elite-8 has welcomed just two teams who were lower than an eleventh seed in its history (Missouri in 2002 and Davidson in 2008; both were 12-seeded teams).
  • Twice the Final Four has welcomed eleventh seeded teams into the National Semi-final round in 1986 when LSU made a terrific run and a few years ago in 2006 when George Mason captured the nation’s attention.
  • The lowest seed to ever win the entire tournament and the NCAA title was the eighth-seeded Villanova Wildcats in 1985.

Here are the percentages for the first round match-ups from 1985-2008:

The #1 seed has defeated the #16 seed 100% of the time.

The #2 seed has defeated the #15 seed 96% of the time.

The #3 seed has defeated the #14 seed 84% of the time.

The #4 seed has defeated the #13 seed 82% of the time.

The #5 seed has defeated the #12 seed 67% of the time.

The #6 seed has defeated the #11 seed 69% of the time.

The #7 seed has defeated the #10 seed 62% of the time.

The #8 seed has defeated the #9 seed 46% of the time.

If you are looking for an upset, forget about the bottom four seeds against the top four seeds (unless you are sure about a certain team) and focus on the #5 vs #12 and #7 vs #10 matchups; that is where the madness happens.

If you incorporate some of these hints and tips into your selection process, you should be very happy with the outcome of your bracket challenge.

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Donald S. Cochran

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