How to: filling NCAA tournament brackets

Jackson Bayer, Columnist

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March is unquestionably, without a doubt, 100 percent the best month of the year. No, it isn’t because spring begins, or because of St. Patrick’s Day, or even because it’s Justin Bieber’s birth month. March is the best because of basketball. The past week has been full of college basketball’s conference tournaments, with teams battling it out to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, which begins tonight and lasts until the national championship game on April 8.

The NCAA Tournament’s wild and unpredictable nature has earned it the nickname March Madness, and because of that unpredictability, filling out brackets and predicting the winners of all 67 games has become a widespread tradition among sports fans. Every year, eager and hopeful fans aim to do the impossible: fill out a perfect bracket. Adults do it, kids do it, people who know nothing about basketball do it; even President Obama famously made his picks every year while in the White House. Everyone has their own method of filling out their bracket, and each of them has its merit. If you’re wondering which way is the best way to fill out your bracket, we’re going to break down five different ways it can be done.

1. The most popular way to fill out a bracket is to make informed picks based upon which team you believe to be the best team. This method might sound boring, but if you know your college basketball, it’s also probably the most effective method, even though we all know your bracket will be destroyed no matter how you make your picks.

2. You could go with the only method more boring than the first one: picking the higher-seeded team to win every game. This is known as the “chalk” method. In using this prediction method, every one seed makes it to the Final Four, and then the overall number one seed (which is Duke this year) is the eventual national champion. The danger with this method is the fact that upsets are so prevalent in March, and there has been only one year (2008) where all four of the one seeds advanced to the final four.

3. Another prediction method is exactly the opposite of the previous one: picking the higher-seeded teams to win every game. Sure, you definitely will not predict the national champion, considering the only 16 seed to make it past the round of 64 was UMBC last season, but you will definitely predict all of the upsets in the first round because you will only be predicting upsets.

4. One of the more entertaining methods of filling out brackets is to predict each game based upon the best mascot. Some teams that might make deep runs based upon this prediction method are the Saint Louis Billikens, Maryland Terrapins, Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Virginia Cavaliers because pirates are just cool. Any teams with Bulldogs or Wildcats as mascots aren’t going to make it too far.

5. You could just predict your school to win– wait, EIU isn’t in the tournament. Never mind.

Jackson Bayer is a senior creative writing major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].