March Madness: The Do's and Don'ts for Completing Your Bracket, Presented By The Belko Experiment
Players, matchups and metrics are all important when it comes to picking the right teams to advance. And understandably so these three receive a lot of the focus in our day-to-day bracket research. But, sometimes we might dive a little too deep.
Sometimes, you don't have to go much further than simple probability. For example, you're not going to pick a 16 seed over a 1, no matter what kind of advantage a major upset could provide you in your pool. Why? Because a 16 seed has never, ever beaten a 1 seed. Historically, 1 seeds are a perfect 128-0 in these matchups.
Like the obvious don't pick a 16 seed, there are several general guidelines that are just as important to follow in filling out our brackets. Here are five of them.
Do Still Advance Kentucky When They Aren't a 1 Seed
Over their many seasons, the Kentucky Wildcats are 42-10 with six Final Four appearances and two championships as a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Yes, I know they're not a 1 seed this time around, but they've still been rather successful when seeded as a 2 or worse.
In 58 games as anything other than a 1 seed, they're 39-19 with three Final Fours and a championship as a 2 seed back in 1998. More recently, they've made two Final Fours as much lower seeds, making it all the way to the title game as an 8 seed in 2014. So a Big Blue run is certainly a possibility once again, although they might have a very difficult second matchup if they end up facing Wichita State, one of the most underseeded teams in NCAA Tournament history.
Don't Advance All Four 1 Seeds to the Final Four
At least a single 1 seed has made the Final Four 9 out of the last 10 NCAA tournaments. But in that same period, only once (in 2008) have all four top seeds made the Final Four. In fact, of the last five March Madness installments, only once (in 2015) has more than one 1 seed reached the national semifinals.
Do Advance North Carolina and Kansas as 1 Seeds
In just three combined appearances as 1 seeds, Gonzaga and Villanova have a record of 5-3. The furthest either of them has gone as a top seed were the 2006 Wildcats, who made it to the Elite Eight. While the Zags and Wildcats are rather inexperienced -- and haven't been all that successful -- in this spot, North Carolina and Kansas Jayhawks are the complete opposite.
As a 1 seed, the Jayhawks are 32-11 with three Final Fours and one championship in 12 instances. As for the Tar Heels, in 15 tournament appearances as a top seed, they're a ridiculous 55-11 with nine Final Fours and four national titles.
Don't Put A 6 Seed in the Final Four
Although 6 seeds have gone 82-46 in the first round and 52-48 in the second round, no 6 seed has made the Final Four since the Michigan Wolverines' Fab Five of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson did it back in 1992. That year, the Wolverines made it all the way to the title game before losing to a top-seeded Duke squad.
Do Have At Least One 11 Seed Upset A 6 Seed
Piggy-backing off of the previous fact, a large reason for that is this: at least one 11 seed has beaten a 6 seed in 12 straight tournaments. In fact, in six of the last seven, it has happened at least twice. According to our numbers, the winner of the Wake Forest/Kansas State play-in game will be the best 11 seed entering the field of 64. We also give 11-seeded Xavier a 53.73% chance of knocking off 6-seeded Maryland.