Picking the ‘PERFECT’ Bracket


So I have done some research, trying to find some interesting numbers to give me some advice about how to fill out my bracket. Here’s what I found!

Like I wrote in an earlier post, I started with data from 2006. Now I am taking that data and assuming a few things. Here are some interesting facts: While a 1-seed has never lost their first game to a 16-seed, a 1-seed has lost to an 8-seed twice since 2006, but never to a 9-seed. Both losses were to mid-major teams, so don’t bet on Iowa State/Connecticut, Alabama or Kansas State to knock off the 1-seeds in their region. But if you were to pick a 1-seed to lose in the second round, pick Michigan State because, assuming they win, they will play the winner of Saint Louis/Memphis and both teams are mid-majors. Butler has been the only 8-seed to knock off a 1-seed (Pittsburgh last year) since 2006. So if you are looking  for a 1-seed to get knocked off, pick Memphis to beat Michigan State.

When picking an 8/9 matchup, go with who you think has the better team.

When a Big East team has been a 9-seed, they are 0-3 since 2006. Connecticut is a 9-seed this year, so maybe you want to pick Iowa State? Although, this isn’t your typical 9-seed. Just a thought.

Here is something else interesting about the 8/9 matchup. The 8-seed is 13-11 against the 9-seed the past six tournaments. So in reality, it is a toss-up. However, when a Big 12 team is the 8-seed (Iowa State and Kansas State are this season) they are 1-0. That’s 100%! When a mid-major is the 8-seed against a Power conference as the 9-seed, the mid-major has a record of 2-3. Watch-out Creighton and Southern Mississippi!

Has an 8-seed ever gone farther than the second round? The answer is yes, but only once. Butler went all the way to the championship. And the odds of that happening again are slim. About 7% chance that the 8-seed gets past the 1-seed and it took 12 tries for an 8-seed to beat a 1-seed, so now I am not feeling too good about Memphis being able to beat Michigan State.

So now that I have broken down the 8/9, 1/8, and 1/9 matchups, you have a solid foundation to start your bracket. After the first few rounds, you can start to get a clearer view of who you think might emerge as the national champion this year.

Time for me to fill out my bracket!

First Round

I like all the 1-seeds to advance to the Round of 32. I also like all the 2-seeds to advance to the Round of 32, despite what people say about Detroit beating Kansas.

The 3 v. 14 seed matchups are interesting. Since 2006, two 14-seeds have upset a 3-seed in the first round. Both upsets happened on even years (’06 and ’10). Georgetown was a 3-seed when they lost to Ohio. Oh, and look, Georgetown is a 3-seed again and people think Belmont will beat them. I will take all of my 3-seeds and Belmont to advance.

In my earlier post, I noted that 4-seeds lose 23.5% of the time against the 13-seed. So I will be taking Wisconsin, Indiana, Louisville, and Ohio. Michigan loses!

I like all the 5-seeds to advance, even though Vanderbilt worries me. They were a 5-seed last year and lost in the first round. I think Vanderbilt can get past the first round though.

Here is another interesting fact: Since 2006, when an SEC team has been a 1-seed, their teams have either made it to the Elite Eight or won the national title. Since 2006, no SEC that has been seeded lower than 5 has made it to the Sweet 16, except for two teams (Vanderbilt and Tennessee) and both were 6-seeds. No SEC teams are 6-seeds. Furthermore, no SEC seeded lower than 4, except Tennessee (6-seed), has reached the Elite Eight (sorry Vandy and Florida).

Look out Syracuse! You are 0-1 against Big 12 teams in the tournament. If Kansas State can get past Southern Miss. then you might be in trouble!

Anyway, time to get back on track.

6 v. 11-seeds are next on the list. 6-seeds have been upset 53.5% of the time. So I will take NC State and Colorado as my two upset picks.

7 v. 10 seeds are not upsets, so I guess my work here is done? 8 v. 9 matchups are a toss up as well. I will be taking Xavier, Iowa State, Kansas State, West Virginia, St. Mary’s, Creighton, Virginia, and Memphis.

Second Round

I am going to use my upset pick this round, I think. I am taking Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse, and MEMPHIS!

I like all the 2-seeds to advance to the Sweet 16.

When I look at my 3-seeds, I feel like I might lose some. I feel like Florida State is a safe bet because the ACC is 2-0 against the Big East in second round games since 2006. I also like Marquette and Baylor.

My 4-seeds could disappear though. 5-seeds are 8-5 against 4-seeds in second round games. I am going to take Louisville as my only 4-seed to advance. My other two picks are both 5-seeds (Vandy and Wichita State). Temple is my other pick, but they are playing Ohio so that’s irrelevant.

Sweet 16

I like all three of my 1-seeds to advance along with Louisville over Memphis.

I like Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio State to advance.

Baylor is my only 3-seed left, they advance.

Elite Eight

Give me Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio State, and North Carolina.

Final Four 

I like North Carolina and Kentucky to advance to the championship.

National Championship

I got North Carolina winning it all!

I filled out my bracket for the first three rounds, and then I started to pick the teams that I want to win. I did it that way to see if the formula I have worked on actually works or somewhat works. My other bracket is the “official” bracket that I will be using. This one was just for fun!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this! Good luck to everyone!

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