This archived article was written by: Tai Justice
With March Madness getting underway I’m going to tell you step by step how to win your becket poll, your work poll or whatever it may be. All you have to do is follow these steps.
Step 1: Pick chalk. Don’t try and get cute and pick all these crazy upsets. I know everyone wants to be the person that predicted a huge upset, but that rarely happens. If you do that you just usually end up looking dumb. There’s a reason why these teams got seeded better, they’re the better teams. So, ride with the one seeds or the two seeds. I know this isn’t as fun as cheering for upsets, but in sports, the better teams usually win. Don’t be the one to pick an eight seed over a one seed in the Round of 32. Don’t roll dice if you don’t have to. Go with the safe choice like the one and the two seeds. I suggest Villanova, North Carolina and Louisville.
Step 2: Avoid the team that’s not balanced. Avoid the team that’s really good at one specific thing, but they’re really bad at another thing. Consistency wins in March. In 2017 this team is UCLA. UCLA has one of the best offenses in the country lead by star freshman Point Guard, Lonzo Ball. But the problem with UCLA is that their defense is awful. It only takes one game of their jump shots not to be falling and they’ll be done because they can’t stop anyone. That’s not how to win in March.
Step 3: Don’t fall in love with the team that got hot in their conference tournament. Stick with the teams that won the regular season league. Winning a conference tournament means almost nothing in terms of NCAA tournament success. It actually seems to hurt your chances in the actual tournament for some reason. Duke is the main team to avoid in this category. This might seem crazy considering pretty much everyone is picking Duke to win it all and they’re the odds on favorites to win it all in Vegas, but I suggest you stay away from them in the big dance.
Step 4: 8 vs. 9 seeds are basically a coin flip. You honestly might be better off just flipping a coin when you’re picking between your eight vs. nine games. The lifetime record between eight and nine seeds are 61-59, with the nine seeds being one game better. So, this year when you’re deciding between Michigan State and Miami, or Arkansas and Seton Hall just flip a coin because eight and nine seeds are always even teams and you basically have a 50/50 chances of getting it right.
Step 5: Pick seven seeds over ten seeds. If you’re wanting to pick a lower seed, pick all the nines over eight’s you want, but don’t pick a ten over a seven. Seven seeds win that match over 61% of the time.
Step 6: Be wearying of the trending pick: It’s always smart to go against the lower seed that’s getting too much love to upset a higher seed. This year that example is Middle Tennessee State. Everyone is predicting them to upset Minnesota. I wouldn’t go that route.
Step 7: Don’t pick too many mid majors. There’s a reason why the main conferences always end up in the big games. The teams from bigger conferences are less likely to be afraid of the moment or let the moment get to them because most of them are big time recruits and they’ve already been playing on national television all season long. Were as for mid majors, all of that will be new for them.
Step 8: Slow paced teams usually don’t fare well in the tournament: The reason for this is that when teams slow it down they’re limiting their possessions, so if something goes wrong, or they’re not shooting well they don’t have nearly as many possessions to make up for it. This team that falls under this category is the same team every year. Virginia. I’d stay away from them for this very reason.