March 20, 2013 by bdetienne
March Madness is back.
Over the next three weeks, 68 teams will face off in a single-elimination bracket to determine who the next NCAA champion is in college basketball. Even if you are not a college hoops fan, this period can be one of the most exciting (and lucrative) times of the year. Millions of people around the world participate in filling out a bracket- ESPN.com alone had just under 6.5 million entered in their bracket challenge contest last year!
Why is this? Because the storylines of the games are so unpredictable. So are the results. However, there are three things you can guarantee going into each NCAA tournament:
1. Every year there are several articles about the lost productivity employers face over the next three weeks (click for one of this year’s versions here).
The funny part is that these articles are often written as if the concept is a newly discovered fact. Between filling out brackets, watching games and/or checking scores, and discussions around the water cooler, companies should expect less work to get done.
2a. Upsets will occur.
No matter how likely or unlikely they may be, the team that is supposed to win a game will not always do so. According to an About.com article on March Madness results from 1985-2012, higher seeds advancing from the first round to the second are far from guaranteed:
- #1 seed vs. #16 seed – The #1 seed has won 100% of the time against the #16 seed.
- #2 seed vs. #15 seed – The #2 seed has won 96% of the time against the #15 seed.
- #3 seed vs. #14 seed – The #3 seed has won 85% of the time against the #14 seed.
- #4 seed vs. #13 seed – The #4 seed has won 79% of the time against the #13 seed.
- #5 seed vs. #12 seed– The #5 seed has won 67% of the time against the #12 seed.
- #6 seed vs. #11 seed– The #6 seed has won 67% of the time against the #11 seed.
- #7 seed vs. #10 seed– The #7 seed has won 60% of the time against the #10 seed.
- #8 seed vs. #9 seed– The #8 seed has won 47% of the time against the #9 seed.
In fact, two #2 seeds (Duke and Missouri) lost their first-round matchups last year.
2b. The least-knowledgeable person in the bracket can have the most success in your bracket pool.
Fans of the game will try to employ logic to the bracket. They will research the teams, gather the experts’ picks and opinions, and utilize the experience of watching game(s) the teams played during the year to determine the winner of each game. That is great, but the bracket is not logical. Therefore, people who have won have done so by following one of several crazy methods to pick their bracket. I would advise not to go overboard on upset picks (since 1985, a team seeded #5 or higher has only reached the Final Four eight times [out of 27 years]), but be a little unpredictable when filling out the bracket.
3. The tournament will provide a plethora of storylines about new heroes, inspirational stories, and a new round of the “hottest coaches” for schools to hire.
As the results come in on the ticker, reports of a player’s valiant effort during a game or their buzzer-beating shot; a player or team’s overcoming a difficult adversity; or a coach of a smaller school who has guided their team to victory over the mighty major college team will appear everywhere. It happens every year. A player that you may have never heard of before can become a household name during the tournament. They can have a background that makes you root for them and want them to succeed on (and off) the hardwood. And coaches have the opportunity to show their skills to a national TV audience (and prospective employers) during these three weeks. Stay tuned to find out who these players, teams, and coaches are after the 2013 version of March Madness is complete.
That is it- you are now a quasi-expert on the NCAA Tournament. Enjoy the next three weeks of games. Best of luck to you in your bracket and may you (and the team you are rooting for) emerge victorious at the end!
For a printable bracket to fill out, click here.
For a schedule of second round games on Thursday and Friday, click here.