The Art Of Bracketology In NCAA Basketball Tournament

As the month of March approaches, the frenzy of college basketball fans starts to build up—the traditional March Madness comes. With the start of March Madness comes office pools, gambling and bookies. However, before March Madness comes, you need to be familiar with bracketology.

Bracketology, the study of brackets, is a technique for picking teams which many analysts, sportscaster, and networks tried to nail down. Though it does not guarantee success, it gives one a leg up on competition.

March Madness is the peak of a college basketball season, which starts in November. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the governing body that oversees around 1,200 voluntary college and university members.

The first tournament of March Madness occurred in 1939 with eight teams. Then, the tournament expanded to 16 teams in 1951. After two years, it became 22 and in 1975, it went up to 32 teams. By 1985, there were already 64 teams. Lately, the 65th team was added in 2001.

Now, here are some considerations to start your bracketing.

The NCAA basketball season begin with 327 Division I men's teams. The selection committee narrows the 327 down to 65 men’s team and 64 women’s basketball teams. Here, start placing the teams in bracket. In the 31 conferences of NCAA Division I men's basketball, there are championship game except for the Ivy League. Winners of these conferences are automatically invited.

The remaining 34 teams are selected by the selection committee by Selection Sunday. Their criteria to choose teams include ranking in the national polls, conference record, road record, wins versus ranked opponents, how a team finishes its regular season, and rating Percentage Index (RPI).

The location of the schools is another factor in filling out your bracket. The committee put each team, particularly the top seeds, in the region closest to its school. It is strategically profiting because more fans can attend games when the location is near.

To further fill in your bracket, most experts say use your intuition for there is no scientific basis to guarantee success so far. It is important to remember that all games throughout the NCAA basketball season are single-elimination format. This means, when your team loses, you are out of the tournament.

In Round 1, the teams are now 32 from 64. Remember that a No.16 seed has never beaten a No. 1. So, do not dare do it. In the next round, the 32 teams are cut in half leaving 16 teams only. Note that as the number of teams gets smaller, it is trickier to pick winners. Remember that No. 2 seed are most likely to be defeated.

Round 3 is the Sweet 16. Experts say that No. 1 seed will likely lose this round. The next round is the Elite 8. There are only four games in this round with each team vying for a place at the Final Four. This is usually anyone’s game. Round 5 is the Final Four. It is an instinctual round. Teams will vie for the championship game. The last round will determine the national champion and either team could win. At times when you do not know who to pick, choose the higher seed.

Some people make careers in bracketology and office pools, while some make a religion out of it. For example, a group of college basketball fans in New York established “The Church of Bracketology." However, do take note that NCAA tournament has some fatal consequences. Some resort to killing because of it.

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