Descent Into Madness

March Madness that is. I’m not a big college basketball fan like many, but I have watched a few games with some friends over the years. Like others, though, I get into the spirit of the brackets and can usually do fairly well since I keep a few fundamental facts in mind. There are always upsets, but finding the right ones is always the key. Statistically, you’re better off picking these upsets the first weekend only and then going with the higher seeds. Since the field was expanded to 64 teams, the highest seed to ever win the NCAA Tournament was the 1985 Villanova team (8th seed) who beat Georgetown.

This doesn’t mean that the higher seeded teams can’t get close. In 2000, Florida (5th seed) and Wisconsin (8th seed) made it to the Final Four. In 2006, George Mason (11th seed) joined LSU (4th seed), Florida (3rd seed), and UCLA (2nd seed). Curiously, the 7, 9, and 10 seeds have never made it to the Final Four. The 5 and 7 seeds have never won a national championship. Who else has won the title that hasn’t been a top 3 seeded team besides 1985 Villanova?  The 1997 Arizona Wildcats won as a 4 seed and the 1988 Kansas Jayhawks won as a 6 seed. Fun facts to know, but does it all really help when putting together a winning bracket? Not necessarily. At least your odds of picking a winning bracket are far greater than your odds of picking the perfect bracket. Those odds? Just over 1 in 9 quintillion. Yes, that’s a 9 with 18 0’s after it (I got a kick out of the 7 things more likely to happen in that link). In fact, you’re more likely to win the Powerball twice in a row than pick out a perfect bracket. Now that’s madness!

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