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You’re running out of time to fill out your pool winning March Madness bracket. But before you do, you’ll want to check out these simple NCAA tournament bracket tips to increase your chances of beating your friends and co-workers.

The following tips have proven to be relatively successful since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Use these tips as a guideline, the numbers aren’t an exact science. For example, if you feel (3) or (4) 1-seeds will be in the Final Four, do it (but it’s only happened 11% and 3% of the time respectively). On the other hand, (1) or (2) 1-seeds reaching the Final Four has each happened 39% of the time. I err towards the likelihood of favorites so I prefer choosing (2) 1-seeds.

Below are my suggested number of each seed to advance to each round and examples of who I’ve chosen in my bracket. These suggestions won’t complete your bracket but will give you a solid foundation.


Advance to the 2nd Round

Prediction Actual
(2) 9-seeds Florida St., NC State (3) Kansas St., Florida St., Alabama
(2) 10-seeds Texas, Butler (1) Butler
(2) 11-seeds Loyola-Chi., Syracuse (2) Loyola-Chi., Syracuse
(1) 12-seeds Murray St. (0) None
(1) 13-seed Buffalo (2) Buffalo, Marshall

Advance to the Sweet 16

Prediction Actual
(3) 2-seeds Cincinnati, North Carolina, Duke (2) Duke, Purdue
(2) 3-seeds Michigan St., Texas Tech (2) Michigan, Texas Tech
(2-3) 10, 11, or 12-seeds Loyola-Chi., Butler (2) Loyola-Chi., Syracuse

*Only 12.5% chance a region’s 1, 2, 3, and 4-seed all advance to the Sweet 16


Advance to the Elite 8

Prediction Actual
(2) 2-seeds Cincinnati, Duke (1) Duke
(1) 5-seed or higher Houston (3) Kansas St, Loyola-Chi., Florida St.

Advance to Final 4

Prediction Actual
(2) 1-seeds Virginia, Villanova (2) Kansas, Villanova

Need More 2017 NCAA Tournament Bracket Tips?

I’ve listed below (in order) the “cinderella” teams I like to advance in the dance.

10, 11, and 12-seeds to the Sweet 16 (Pick 2) 5-seeds or higher to the Elite 8 (Pick 1)
11 Loyola-Chi. 5 Kentucky
12 New Mexico St. 6 Houston
10 Butler 6 Florida
10 Texas 5 West Virginia
11 Syracuse 8 Seton Hall
10 Providence 5 Ohio State

UPDATE (04/03/18):
This March was one of the craziest in the Men’s College Basketball tournament history since the Madness was expanded to include 64 teams in 1985. Of the total 63 games played, 20 were won by the lower-seeded team.

By the Sweet Sixteen, two 1-seeded teams were out of the running: Xavier, which lost to 9-seeded Florida St in the West region’s second round, and the tournament-favorite University of Virginia, which became the first-ever top-seeded team to fall to a 16-seed, losing to UMBC in the South region’s first round.

The South was raging with upsets. For the first time in history, the South region’s 1, 2, 3, and 4-seeded teams all failed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. The Elite Eight matchup between 9-seeded Kansas State and 11-seeded Loyola-Chicago was the highest seeded Elite Eight matchup in tournament history. And Loyola-Chicago won that matchup to become only the 4th 11-seed to reach the Final Four.


Do you have any other suggestions or successful bracket strategies? Maybe something less serious, team colors or mascots? Share below in the comments!

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