Here is how to fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket 2024

Here is how to fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket 2024
Here is how to fill out an NCAA Tournament bracket 2024

Each year, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, widely known as March Madness, captivates between 60 to 100 million people from avid fans to those who might not know a basketball from a baseball. It’s a testament to the tournament’s universal appeal and simplicity in participation. If you’re keen to join the frenzy this year but aren’t sure where to start, this guide is your playbook to enjoying one of the most engaging sporting events in the country, no prior basketball knowledge required.

Welcome to the Madness

First things first: this guide isn’t for the seasoned bracketologist or the die-hard college basketball fan. It’s a friendly nudge into the madness for newcomers eager to partake in the fun. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is a melting pot of excitement, comprising 68 teams battling through 67 single-elimination games. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to predict the winner of each match, culminating in the crowning of the national champion.

Understanding the Bracket

The tournament is neatly divided into four regions, each with 16 teams seeded from No. 1 to No. 16. In true underdog versus favorite fashion, the highest seed faces the lowest in each round, following a predetermined path that does not change — the brackets do not re-seed after each round. While dreaming of a perfect bracket is part of the fun, brace yourself for surprises. Not even the most seasoned fans can escape the unpredictability of March Madness.

The Winning Seeds

History tells us that higher seeds usually prevail, with No. 1 seeds securing the championship in 63% of tournaments since 1985. In fact, 87% of all championships have been won by teams seeded in the top three. Yet, the magic of March Madness lies in its unpredictability, with upsets being a staple of the tournament’s lore. While it’s wise to back higher seeds, the thrill of the unexpected upset is what makes the tournament truly special.

Predicting Upsets

While upsets are a given, predicting them is part of the art. On average, expect eight upsets a year, but don’t get too carried away. Very rarely do top-seeded teams lose in their initial games. However, the No. 5 vs. No. 12 and No. 4 vs. No. 13 matchups are historically fertile ground for surprise victories, though these Cinderella stories usually don’t make it past the Sweet 16 or Elite 8.

Betting on the Powerhouses

March Madness isn’t just about the seeds; it’s also about the legacy. Teams like Connecticut, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Villanova have a storied history of success in the tournament. Betting on these powerhouses can often be a safe bet as they frequently find themselves deep in the competition, with a significant number of championships between them.

Joining the Madness

Now that you’re armed with the basics, it’s time to dive into the madness. Remember, March Madness is as much about the joy of participation as it is about winning. Whether you’re meticulously analyzing each matchup or picking teams based on your favorite mascots, the most important tip is to have fun. Welcome to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, where unpredictability reigns supreme, and everyone has a shot at glory.