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It’s that time of year again, folks.
Whether you’re a die-hard college basketball fan or simply like drinking beer and eating wings while the squeaking of sneakers and swishing of nets provide background noise, it’s always fun to fill out a March Madness bracket.
Doing so perfectly is borderline impossible, but for most people, it’s simply a matter of having a better bracket than the friends or co-workers you happen to compete against.
Ahead, we’ve whipped up some advice for filling out your bracket, from the most basic of rules to some more noteworthy trends worth taking into account for the veteran bracketologist.
Every little bit helps, right?
So before you lock in your picks, here are seven pieces of advice for filling out this year’s bracket.
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If you’re new to filling out a bracket, let’s start with the most basic of information: A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed in the first round.
This year’s crop of top-seeded teams includes Virginia, Villanova, Kansas and Xavier.
If you can’t decide where to start filling out your bracket, go ahead and pencil those four teams on into the second round.
As the gap continues to close between college basketball’s blue bloods and the smaller schools, it’s only a matter of time before a No. 16 seed finally pulls off the unthinkable.
But until that happens, and probably even once it does, it’s a safe approach to assume that all four No. 1 seeds will be advancing to the weekend.
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While we’ve never seen a No. 16 seed win a game in the NCAA tournament, a handful of No. 15 seeds have pulled off the upset.
Eight teams to be exact:
- 1991 Richmond
- 1993 Santa Clara
- 1997 Coppin State
- 2001 Hampton
- 2012 Norfolk State
- 2012 Lehigh
- 2013 Florida Gulf Coast
- 2016 Middle Tennessee
Ah, the 2012 bracket. What a beautiful disaster.
The odds are still greatly stacked against the No. 15 seeds, so proceed with extreme caution if you’re even considering advancing one beyond the first round.
Just be aware, it has happened.
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For all intents and purposes, the 5-12 and 6-11 matchups might as well be coin tosses. Recent history actually favors the lower-seeded team