Written by: Coleman Bahr – Staff Writer (@ColemanBahr)
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It’s that time of year again! The best weekend of hoops is upon us, and we all will spend the next few days filling out millions of brackets, only to find our bracket completely busted within the first few hours of the tournament. However, by following these five trends, you will be a step up on the field.
- Put a double-digit seed in the Sweet Sixteen
In twenty of the past twenty-one tournaments, a doubl-digit seed has made it to the Sweet Sixteen. While predicting which double digit seed that will be is tough, don’t overthink it. Wichita State is an obvious double-digit seed that could make a run, but they have to face Kentucky in their round of 32 matchup. However, a team like Middle Tennessee State is a trendy team that could make some noise. Giddy Potts and company already proved themselves last season when they knocked off Michigan State as a 15 seed, and they throw out basically the same squad this year.
- Put a team from the First Four in the Round of 32
At least one team from the First Four has made it to the round of 32 since it was added to March Madness in 2011. I’m betting on Wake Forest to be that team this year. The Demon Deacons have been tested day in and day out in the tough ACC, and they should put up a good fight against sixth seeded Cincinnati. However, a round of 32 matchup against UCLA is not all that inviting.
- Put at least one #1 seed in the Final Four
There have been zero one seeds in the final four only three times in the history of March Madness, so don’t get too cute with it. But on the other side, don’t be that guy that puts all the one seeds in the Final Four. This year, you can make a strong case for only one top seed to make it to the Final Four. Gonzaga might not even make it out of the first weekend, North Carolina lacks a true star, and Villanova has to potentially make it through Virginia and Duke to get back to the Final Four.
- Pump the brakes on Villanova
Jay Wright’s squad is back as the top overall seed in the tournament, but I would be hesitant to put them in the Final Four for a few reasons. First of all, no defending champ has reached the Elite Eight since Florida back in 2007. Second, the top overall seed has only won the national championship three times since 2005.
- Read the Vegas odds
This is commonplace for us avid daily fantasy sports players, but it may be an afterthought to the general public. The guys who make the lines in Vegas know a lot more about basketball than we do, because they kind of get paid to do this stuff and whatnot. For example, tenth seed Wichita State is a six-point favorite over seventh seed Dayton. It won’t always be as cut and dry as this, but if you are considering a Cinderella that is a 20-point underdog, you may want to think twice.
At the end of the day, you have a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance of selecting a perfect bracket, so don’t overanalyze it. But when Gonzaga loses in the first round, I won’t say I told you so.