Filling out a March Madness bracket for dummies

The Final Four will be held in Phoenix this year

The Final Four will be held in Phoenix this year

Ben Clanin, Co-Sports Editor

March is finally here and for college basketball fans it is the best time of year. March Madness will officially be underway starting this week with Selection Sunday on March 12.  When Selection Sunday is over then the official NCAA bracket will be released and filled out by the masses.  Almost everybody no matter who they are or no matter how much they know will pick up a bracket to fill it out at some point in their lives.  That is the beauty of March Madness, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve been paying attention during the season or how much you care about college basketball in general. If you want to fill out a bracket for fun or otherwise there are no wrong answers.  

     “On a scale of one to ten about how much I know about college basketball, I would say I am about a two and a half,” said Ellyn Boatman (‘17).  “But I filled out a bracket for the first time last year and it was a lot of fun.”

     There are a few tips though that can help you do better with your bracket this year even though the NCAA has been absolutely crazy thus far.  First of all if you are being serious about your bracket do your research before hand. You should know better than to pick a 16 seed over a one seed because there is a 99% probability that the one seed will win that game.  A lot of filling out a bracket is common sense when it comes to very high seeds going against very low seeds.  But with every year there comes the upsets and those are the hardest by far to predict.   Nobody in their right minds had Dayton, the eleven seed, going to the semi finals in 2014 after the upset Ohio State, Stanford, and Syracuse.  

     Another tip to follow is to not go and pick teams based on their mascot or their uniform colors.  It doesn’t matter how much you know or don’t know it is common sense to pick a higher seed over a lower seed.  But it games such as an eight seed versus a nine seed that game could go either way is a crapshoot.  The best way I believe to pick these is to go with a good mix on either side of the bracket, pick two nine seeds and two eight seeds is typically my approach. But this method applies to all middle of the road teams, I believe that any seed above three seed can be beaten by nearly any team.

     There are a few sites out there that can help you conduct research to help you fill out your bracket. Sites such as,, and can all help you find information on nearly all the teams and the tournament as a whole.

     In the tournament there is absolutely no correct way to fill out a bracket, the odds of making a perfect bracket are about 9.2 quintillion to one. With all the possibilities you should just follow your gut instinct.