Let the Madness begin: Tips and tricks to filling out your bracket.


It’s that time of year! Soon the NCAA will release the field of 68 college basketball teams that will participate in March Madness. For many people that means it’s time to fill out a bracket. 

Over 36 million people participate in trying to predict the winning teams each year. None of the brackets have ever been perfect. The odds of filling out a perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775. 

Over the years there have been some really close calls. The closest anyone has ever come is Columbus, Ohio, native Greg Nigil, who correctly predicted the first 49 games of the tournament. 

So what are some secrets to predicting games in your bracket? 


  • Start with choosing all of the 1-seeded teams to win their first round games over a 16-seeded team. In the entire history of college basketball, the 1 seed is 135-1 versus 16 seeds. That is essentially free points. 


  • As for choosing your overall champions, Patrick Fitzgerald, ‘23, offers his take: I choose my overall winner by deciding which team I think can go on a run and play well as a team,” said Fitzgerald. 


  • Thirty-two of the last 36 teams to win the tournament have been 1, 2, or 3 seeds in the tournament. 


  • In first round games, however, higher seeds aren’t going to win every game. There are around seven upsets in the first round of the tournament. 

Quinn Walsh ‘23 offers his take on upsets:  “I like to pick a lot of first round upsets. I love the range of the 12,13,14 seeds. Otherwise, it depends who’s hot at the time.”


  • A popular pick is a 12-seeded team winning over the 5-seeded team in the first round. Over the years we’ve seen more and more 14 and 15 seeds win games as well. 


So how do you get a perfect bracket? Pick a high seeded team to win it all, and sprinkle in some upsets. You may just be the only person in the history of the world to have a perfect bracket. But don’t bet on it.