By Luke Tunnell
Did you know that there is a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance you create a 100% accurate March Madness Bracket? Chances are your ‘perfect bracket’ is not happening, especially with how the current tournament has played out. This statement might not hold merit in due time, but it is essential to see just how difficult creating the perfect bracket truly is. Just in 2018 fans got to witness an 11 seed, Loyola Chicago, achieve a final four placement, which for those who are not aware is extremely uncommon. I bring up this thought because I want to analyze and justify why we will not see a perfect bracket in a long time. Initially, I believed one could construct hundreds of brackets to increase the likelihood of succeeding, but the future makes this concept inconsequential. In other words, the amount of brackets, if the number is reasonable or conceivable, will not matter since upsets have become more feasible. Just two years ago, 10+ upsets occured, including the first ever 16 seed to beat a 1 seed; the odds of this idea materializing were just less than 2%. So, why is the plausibility of brackets ending perfect decreasing, yet the number of games played stay the same? Oddly enough, there is no equitable explanation for the question; whether it is will power or recruits becoming increasingly more talented, it’s impossible to explain why upsets are more common now. Obviously the idea is still appropriate to accept with the current state of March Madness 2021. The basketball community witnessed Oral Roberts make the sweet 16, UCLA make the final four, and Gonzaga generate what’s arguably the best college basketball team in history. If you want to understand how to read the upsets before they occur, so your bracket may end with great precision, I safely can say there are a few tips you can follow.
Firstly, no matter how notable your college basketball lexicon is, anyone can produce equal opportunity to stand with you. For example, by now the public understands seeding is not what should primarily influence your judgement with picking who claims victory. Other factors come into play including a teams recent success, their past involvement with March Madness, and their opponents mindset before the match. An excellent exemplification of these concepts is Loyola Chicago in 2018, as they had just won their conference tournament, prior to entering their first game vs Miami. It’s a broad example I will not detail, but in order to read upsets you must not judge the team strictly on seeding and record. Another interesting piece of advice is learning how teams match up with one another. For example, hypothetically if a 4 seeded team who has trouble handling zone defense enters the opening round vs a 13 seed that thrives on zone defense, it is wise to understand the 4 seed’s offense might not be as potent as it usually would be. This is another basic tip, but the importance is so great that you should not miss out on it. In all honesty, ubiquitous influence on fans has become so great that they will do anything to create a perfect bracket. My final advice is to just pick who you want to win, without stressing over accuracy. I believe the tournament is more enjoyable when you can sit back and relax as you watch it play out. Although my advice might be regarded negatively, as believing you won’t win is a bad mindset, I do think the 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance backs up my statement.