MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — March Madness is upon us, and if you’re like nearly every other breathing American, you’re gonna fill out a bracket.
And if you wanna win your office pool, listen up. The best way to pick a winner… is to just close your eyes and throw darts on a map.
Failing that… here’s some helpful tips based on recent history.
Let’s take you through round by round. First, it helps to know how often upsets actually happen.
Don’t pick any 16s or 15s… A 16’s never won a game and only four 15s have the past decade.
Pick a 14 seed to win a game… it’s happened 5 times in the last 5 years.
Skip the 13s — just one winner the last 4 years — but pick two 11s and two 12s, those are 50-50 games.
Pick three 7s and three 8s, they win twice as often as 9s and 10s.
And pick one of those play-in game teams to advance at least to the round of 32… it’s happened every year.
As for your Sweet 16… Pick an 11 seed — there’s been five the last four years.
And this is where your first 1-seed goes down — six of the last eight years.
Other than that, keep it pretty chalky. There hasn’t been a 12 seed or higher in 5 years.
As for which teams those should be?
Consider these your glass slippers: Underdogs with a high scoring margin, who force turnovers and offensive rebound are more often Cinderella.
But mostly, just go to KenPom.com and let its ratings be your guide.
In the last 16 years, 51 of the 64 Final Four teams have been top 30 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. And 53 of the 64 have been top 30 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. So your Final Four teams should be top-30 in both.
And in picking your champ, look at Adjusted Efficiency Margin. Since KenPom started in 2002, no team lower than 20.4 has ever won it.
The average champ was 27.7.