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Here's How To Fill Out Your March Madness 2017 Bracket

Our friends at Yahoo Sports, published this quick how to guide in hopes of helping you fill out your March Madness 2017 Brackets. Here's the skinny:

Rule #1

Advance all No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to at least the second round. Go ahead, just pen them in. In fact, I would pen them into the Sweet 16 automatically as well. A No. 1 seed has never lost in the first round to a No. 16 and a No. 15 has only beaten a No. 2 seed eight times, ever.

That’s a 128-0 record in the first round for No. 1’s. And 86% of the time, No. 1 seeds advance to the Sweet 16.

Rule #2

Don’t get too crazy and pick all No. 1 seeds to the Final Four. All four No. 1 seeds making the final weekend has only happened once (2008).
Picking your winners

Now we move on to selecting the other 50+ games. Don’t worry about getting them all right. The odds of that happening, according to statisticians, is just one in 9.2 quintillion — whatever that number is.

Remember, the goal is to simply win your pool, which, in order to do, means you’ll have to nail the Final Four.

Here’s how to pick your teams.
Numbers don’t lie. Just look at some key stats and trends from the tournament. Here are a few of my favorites from this year from ESPN:

How many upsets should you go with in the first and second rounds? BPI expects 5.2 double-digit seeds to make the Round of 32 and 1.4 to make the Sweet 16. Which teams to pick is a much more difficult decision.

The 12-5 matchup is a fan favorite and the 12-seed has won at least one game in four out of the past five years. This year there is a 72 percent chance we see at least one 12-seed beat a 5-seed.

Want a small conference team that could surprise people and make it to the Sweet 16 and perhaps further? Saint Mary’s is ranked 12th in BPI and is playing its opening weekend games in Salt Lake City, a city familiar to the Gaels, as it is 38 miles from where they play BYU once a year.
Other tips:

1. Top dogs don’t necessarily pack the most vicious bite

Since the tournament expanded to its current capacity in 1985, just over 41-percent of No. 1 seeds have advanced onto the Final Four. During that span, only once have all four top seeds made it to the Mecca of college hoops (2008). Typically, the Final Four features two No. 1s and two lower seeded teams from the Nos. 2-4 range.

2. Don’t fall in love with too many Cinderellas

Selecting upsets is a bragging exercise. Everyone wants to boast to their buddies they had the stones to pick a team from the Ivy League. But becoming enamored with an abundance of underdogs can bloody your bracket in a hurry. Shocker specials do and will happen, but not nearly as often as many would lead you to believe. Approximately 14-15 percent of top seeds per season are bounced early. That trend, though, is rising. Over the past five years, roughly 19 percent of big boys have gone home crying. Last season, due to knockouts levied by Dayton, UCLA, NC State and Georgia State, 17 percent of higher seeds were bitten by the upset bug. Obviously, don’t pick by the book. Just be mindful underdogs only occasionally topple regional favorites, especially over multiple rounds.

3. When you do court Cinderella, think offense

Defense may win championships, but when it comes to the NCAA Tournament offense most often defines upsets. Of the teams seeded No. 11 or lower that marched out of Round 1 over the past 10 years, 63 percent had an offensive efficiency rank of No. 75 or better. Among this year’s batch of double-digit seeds South Dakota St, Stephen F. Austin and Gonzaga are squads that fit the trend.

4. Team balance wins championships … most of the time

If you comb through the NCAA tournament annals, one key predictive metric stands out among Final Four participants, a small differential between offensive and defensive efficiency. Well-rounded teams that force turnovers, guard the glass, generally frustrate opponents and score the basketball consistently are, predictably, difficult to eliminate. According to the ridiculously addictive site, the average efficiency differential (offense-to-defense) of championship teams from 2002-2015 was -5.7. The average offensive efficiency rank was 7.21, defensive was 12.91. Interestingly, the disparity among Final Four participants during that span was just shy of +2.0. Of this year’s batch of single-digit seeds ranked inside the top 25 in offensive and defensive efficiency, Virginia, Kansas, Villanova and Oklahoma have the tightest separation in the those categories.

You can read more from Brad here. Definitely go to Yahoo and fill out your bracket here.

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