Quick, name the first four things that come to mind when you think about the month of March? The MADNESS of college basketball is easily one of the first things that comes to mind for me. But more specifically, the March Madness tournament, which consists of 68 D1 College Programs, which only 1 will come out on top. Creating a bracket for the tournament is easy, you just pick who you think will win, but picking the perfect bracket is nearly impossible. I will be attempting to do the impossible, along with giving some of my pointers and upsets.
Pick a 12 over a 5–
This is an infamous between seeds, which is always a tough one for bracket creators who want to reach perfection. You never know how many 12 seeds to pick, or which ones not to pick. In 2021, only the infamous #12 Oregon State team, would be the only 12 to upset a 5. In 2019 however, 3/4 of the 12 seeds would beat their 5 seeded opponent. In this years tournament, it really doesn’t look as good compared to last year for 12 seeds, but you definitely need to pick one.
Don’t Do The Four 1 Seed Final Four
The wort trick in the book, picking all four of the 1 seeds to reach the final four. Although it is possible, it is incredibly unlikely that it will happen. Especially with the inconsistency of the top tier teams this season, it seems like this year would be the worst to chalk up your Final Four
What Seed Should My Champion Be?
Really, any seed you want. The lowest seed to win March Madness is the infamous 8 seed Villanova Wildcats from 1985. No 5 seed has ever won it though, making all 5 seeds hard to choose to win it all (Sorry Iowa). But realistically, you should be picking a 1-3 seed to win it all. But a 1 seed is the most enticing, as they basically have won it all almost every year since 1985.
Rutgers (#11, Play-In)– Assuming they defeat Notre Dame in their play-in game, Rutgers is going to be. big upset choice for many college basketball fans. And for good reason, this Rutgers team went on a tear of the Big 10 this season, and in that tear they looked nearly unstoppable. This team has proven they can beat top tier competition, despite losing to the eventual Big 10 Tournament Champion, Iowa Hawkeyes. Ron Harper Jr is an amazing player, averaging almost 16 points a game, and putting Rutgers on his back in clutch time situations. If Rutgers beats the Fighting Irish, an inconsistent Alabama team greets them in the Field of 64, which is incredibly winnable. This could start a flame for this Rutgers team, one which could ride them deep into the tournament.
Indiana (#12, Won Play-In)– Indiana, despite also losing to the eventual Big 10 Tournament Champion, Iowa Hawkeyes, have shown that they’re on a hot streak. The team is playing incredibly well at the perfect time, and a #5 St. Mary’s team seems like the perfect draw for the Hoosiers. I like picking Indiana here, because they’re a Power 6 school, and St. Mary’s is a mid-major. #12 seed Power 6 schools, are good picks for the tournament no matter if the #5 is a mid-major or not, but especially because St. Mary’s is a mid-major. I really like this pick.
Virginia Tech (#11)– I feel like everyone is so caught up on South Dakota St. and Chattanooga, that everyone is forgetting about the ACC tournament champion Hokies. Although the ACC was not very good this year, Virginia Tech did make an impressive run, topped off by defeating Duke in Coach K’s last ACC tournament game. And they drew Texas in their first game, the frauds of the Big 12. Texas has been so inconsistent this year, although the talent is there, it’s just going to be hard for me to see the Hokies not pull of this upset.
South Dakota State (#13)– Everyone’s favorite upset this year by far, the one everyone and their mother is betting on. I don’t have this in my bracket because I think South Dakota State will win the game, I have it because I think Providence will lose it. Providence has had so many close games, and close calls, that it’s going to come back and haunt them eventually. This South Dakota State team is good, offensively arguably one of the best in the country. They can put up lots of points, and Providence is going to have to not only keep up with them, but pull away when they’re winning. I don’t see that happening, and I think the Jack Rabbits advance to the next round.
Key Top Seeds
Texas Tech (#3)– DEFENSE. The #2 DRtg in the country according to sports-reference, which will go a long way in tournament runs. Shutting down a teams offense can throw them completely off their rhythm, and when you’re playing lots of games in short increments of time, it’s important to create disruptions. Texas Tech doesn’t have anyone scoring above 14 points per game, but they do have six players averaging 8 or more points per game. This brand of team basketball will be very good for March, and fits well with the teams draw in the tournament. Montana State and Notre Dame, not very much threats at all. Alabama and Rutgers are incredibly flukey, and flukey teams when they are disrupted usually struggle to win games. Texas Tech then possibly faces a Duke team which has been exposed multiple times this season, and possibly Gonzaga which always tends to choke in the later rounds of the tournament. If everything plays out right, Texas Tech is a Final Four Team.
Tennessee (#3)– Not only is this team completely miss seeded, but they have a pretty easy run to the Sweet Sixteen. Longwood really isn’t that good, Colorado State isn’t a very good 6 seed and Michigan shouldn’t even be in the Field of 64 already. Tennessee’s guard play is fantastic, and defensively they are one of the best teams in the country. They deserved to be a 2 seed for sure, especially win marquee wins over Arizona, Kentucky (Took Series 2-1) and Auburn. Along with a late surge which was topped with a SEC Tournament Championship, Tennessee is definitely going to make noise in the tournament. Villanova is a hard matchup, but if they can avoid them or win, and get to Arizona, this team could be poised for a Final Four appearance.
Iowa (#5)- Is this the year a 5 seed wins it all? I think not. Iowa is incredibly talented, and in my opinion will make. a huge run in the tournament. The Big 10 Tournament Champions have been scoring the ball like crazy, putting up points effortlessly. This team was miss seeded, and they will for sure play better than what a 5 is supposed to. It is risky to pick them to do so well, because they are a 5 seed. But with the #4 ORtg according to sports-reference, it’s going to be hard for a lot of teams to compete with Iowa as they make their tournament run.
Filling In The Bracket
Round of 64
#1 Gonzaga OVER #16 Georgia State
#9 Memphis OVER #8 Boise State
#5 UConn OVER #12 New Mexico State
#4 Arkansas OVER #13 Vermont
#11 Rutgers OVER #6 Alabama* OR #6 Alabama OVER #11 Notre Dame*
#3 Texas Tech OVER #14 Montana State
#7 Michigan State OVER #10 Davidson
#2 Duke OVER #15 CSU Fullerton
Round of 32
#1 Gonzaga OVER #9 Memphis
#4 Arkansas OVER #5 UConn
#3 Texas Tech OVER Whoever They Play*
#2 Duke OVER #7 Michigan State
#1 Gonzaga OVER #4 Arkansas
#3 Texas Tech OVER #2 Duke
#3 Texas Tech OVER #1 Gonzaga
Round of 64
#1 Baylor OVER #16 Norfolk. State
#8 UNC OVER #9 Marquette
#12 Indiana OVER #5 St. Mary’s
#4 UCLA OVER #13 Akron
#11 Virginia Tech OVER #6 Texas
#3 Purdue OVER #14 Yale
#7 Murray State OVER #10 U of San Francisco
#2 Kentucky OVER #15 St. Peter’s
Round of 32
#1 Baylor OVER #8 UNC
#12 Indiana OVER #4 UCLA
#3 Purdue OVER #11 Virginia Tech
#2 Kentucky OVER #7 Murray State
#1 Baylor OVER #12 Indiana
#2 Kentucky OVER #3 Purdue
#1 Baylor OVER #3 Kentucky
Round of 64
#1 Arizona OVER #16 Wright State/Bryant
#9 TCU OVER #8 Seton Hall
#12 UAB OVER #5 Houston
#4 Illinois OVER #13 Chattanooga
#6 Colorado State OVER #11 Michigan
#3 Tennessee OVER #14 Longwood
#10 Loyola-Chicago OVER #7 Ohio State
#2 Villanova OVER #2 Delaware
Round of 32
#1 Arizona OVER #9 TCU
#4 Illinois OVER #12 UAB
#3 Tennessee OVER #6 Colorado State
#2 Villanova OVER #10 Loyola-Chicago
#1 Arizona OVER #4 Illinois
#3 Tennessee OVER #2 Villanova
#1 Arizona OVER #1 Tennessee
Round of 64
#1 Kansas OVER #16 Texas Southern
#9 Creighton OVER #San Diego State
#5 Iowa OVER #12 Richmond
#13 South Dakota State OVER #4 Providence
#6 LSU OVER #11 Iowa State
#3 Wisconsin OVER #14 Colgate
#7 USC OVER #10 Miami (FL.)
#2 Auburn OVER #15 Jacksonville State
Round of 32
#1 Kansas OVER #9 Creighton
#5 Iowa OVER #13 South Dakota State
#6 LSU OVER #3 Wisconsin
#2 Auburn OVER #7 USC
#5 Iowa OVER #1 Kansas
#2 Auburn OVER #6 LSU
#5 Iowa OVER #2 Auburn
#1 Baylor OVER #3 Texas Tech
#1 Arizona OVER #5 Iowa
#1 Arizona OVER #1 Baylor
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Great article and great analysis. Seems like it truly is impossible. Tough break for Iowa
Thank you so much! And YES IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!