By Brittany Poss ~
March Madness is targeted towards college basketball fanatics and people looking to win a few bucks. Gamblers do this by filling out a bracket that includes the 68 teams fighting for the national title. Spectators make either educated or random guesses as to who will be the winner of each game consequently moving the teams they pick through the single elimination tournament.
The brackets are broken down into 16 deserving teams from 4 regions of the country: South, West, East and Midwest. The brackets also have notable milestones as the teams progress, including the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, Final Four and eventually the two teams playing for the National title. The numbers in these headings indicate how many teams are left standing in the competition.
Although having a winning bracket can be rewarding, the madness is more about having fun. It is about being involved in one of the top conversations of the nation for the next few weeks. It is a chance to show off an appreciation for sports. If these types of entertainment sound like your cup of tea, it is not too late to get involved. Even if you know nothing about the teams or could care less about basketball take a chance by filling out a bracket.
Before you do remember, each team has their ranking listed next to them and sometimes these are important factors as to which teams you would be more likely to pick. A number 1 seeded team is much more likely to beat a number 16 seed. In fact, a 16 ranked team has never beaten the number 1 seed. Be aware, however, that is not always the case that a higher ranked team will win.
In an event of an “upset,” a team that is ranked lower defeats a team that was ranked higher. Each tournament is bound to have a few of these, so go out on a limb and pick a few, but don’t get carried away. Picking a team that is seeded as number 14 to be the champions will most likely cause your bracket to fail miserably.
You do not want to have brackets identical to the top analysts or even friends you are comparing your picks with. Sometimes it pays off to be the odd man out because the tournament is based on odds. Pick teams that have a good chance of winning but perhaps ones that others around are not picking.
An unwise decision would be to flip a coin for each game deciding on the winning team. Put some thought into it or else you have no merit in what you are doing. When you do pick a team to win, whatever your method, you will get a sense of accomplishment when your pick is right. At the very least you will have something to contribute to a conversation about which teams you picked rather than just saying “oh I flipped a coin because I really don’t care.” No one will take you seriously and you may be discouraged from ever filling out a bracket again.
Other ways to pick involve choosing teams based solely on the coaches, the playing style, the number of fans a team has or perhaps by the mascot you like. There is no wrong or right way to fill out a bracket. Do whatever feels right to you and most importantly enjoy March Madness.
Here is a printable bracket for the 2012 NCAA tourney. Good Luck!