How to fill out the perfect March Madness bracket


Turner Markwalter

Sports lovers both young and old across the country gather together to try and fill out a perfect bracket. With upsets brewing, a perfect bracket is almost impossible.

Turner Markwalter, Reporter

Selection Sunday: A day that college basketball fans circled on their calendars since the beginning of the year.  

Sports fans gathered around the television and witnessed all of the teams that made the cut, earning their way into “the big dance.” The selection committee left some teams out, like University of Southern California, and put teams in that some analysts thought did not deserve the selection, like Oklahoma and Syracuse.

After the release of the bracket, National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) basketball aficionados ventured towards their favorite bracket filling out website, like ESPN, and spent the rest of their days filling them out.

The difficulty of trying to fill out a perfect bracket sticks at the front of the minds of all who partake in the action. The odds of actually filling out a perfect NCAA Tournament Bracket stand at one in 9,223,372,036,854,777,808, or one in 9.2 quintillion, so trying to predict every upset seems impossible.

Upsets happen in the tournament every year, and if filling out a bracket, one must account for them. The 12 seed upsetting the five seed marks as the most likely upset, with at least one 12 seed beating a five seed nine out of the last ten years. Do not count out other lower seeds, as at least one double digit seed has advanced to the sweet sixteen for the past ten tournaments.

“You should predict some upsets, but not too many. The favorites should still be looked at to win most of the games,” senior Shiv Pandya said.

Choosing the one seeds sounds like a safe bet, but not always. Only one time has every one seed made their way to the Final Four, which occurred in 2008.

“It’s called March Madness for a reason. You can never expect the top teams to come through at the end,” Pandya said.

This year looks poised for another upset-filled year, as teams like 15 seed Georgia State and 14 seed Stephen F. Austin return to the big dance after upsetting higher seeded teams in the past. Ten seeded Butler has the highest chance of an upset, as the Basketball Power Index from ESPN gives them a 58% chance to beat 7 seed Texas. Eleven seed St. Bonaventure beat teams earlier in the season that ended up as higher seeds, so do not count this underdog out of your bracket.

One player can carry their whole team to the championship. In 2011, guard Kemba Walker from the Connecticut Huskies won the national championship with an incredible performance in the tournament.

“My upset teams this year are 9 seed Alabama and 10 seed Oklahoma. They both have top prospects in the upcoming draft, and I think they could both carry them to a deep run,” senior Malik Balogun said.

The basketball games start on Thursday, March 15 as the round of 64 kicks off in the afternoon. Prepare for this year’s madness, which will end on April 2.