It’s NCAA Tournament time yet again, which means it’s just about time to get those brackets filled out.
March Madness is one of the highlights on the betting calendar, but office pools — or bracket challenges — typically rule the roost.
We here at The Game Day love gambling, but we also love office-style competitions, which means we want you to get in on the fun of our bracket pool. Here’s some more information about that.
March Madness Printable Bracket
What is March Madness?
A season that started with 358 Division 1 men’s basketball teams competing across 32 conferences will be whittled down to a 68-team tournament. From there, only one will reign above all and cut down the nets as the 2022 national champion. This tournament is what we call March Madness.
Baylor is the defending national champion, thanks to its 86-70 rout of Gonzaga in the 2021 tournament in Indianapolis. The entire tournament last year was held in Indiana due to COVID-19 restrictions, after the 2020 tournament was cancelled by the novel coronavirus.
This year’s tournament will be back to normal with first- and second-round games in eight unique sites then four four-team regionals culminating in the Final Four at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans the first weekend in April.
The mayhem will start after each conference tournament ends, with the 32 automatic bids and 36 at-large each earning a spot in the tournament on Selection Sunday on March 13. The teams will be broken into four regions of 16 teams apiece, with eight teams required to win their way in via the First Four in Dayton, Ohio on March 15 and 16.
How Does a March Madness Bracket Work?
March Madness bracket-style pools typically revolve around who has the most points at the end, since almost no one ever ends up with a perfect bracket.
Traditionally, each round is weighted and the correct number of points doubles after each round. Typically, it starts with one point given for every correctly picked first-round game, two for second-round games, four for the regional semifinals, eight for the regional finals, 16 for each Final Four game and 32 points if your pre-tournament national champion cuts down the nets.
How to Fill Out a March Madness Bracket
Filling out a March Madness bracket is as easy as you want it to be. You can load up your bracket with upsets or pick chalk — meaning all the favorites. Research is generally a good idea, but it doesn’t always help.
Here are the steps to filling out your bracket:
- Print out your bracket
- Choose which team you believe will win each game
- Watch and root for your teams to win!
March Madness Bracket Fun Facts
Winning a bracket pool isn’t as easy as loading up your picks with better-seeded teams. There will invariably be upsets, and there’s a good chance yours will get busted by some upstart in the first weekend.
Here are some facts and tips to consider before filling out your bracket:
- The odds of filling out a perfect bracket, AKA correctly picking the winner of all 63 tournament games, is 1 and 9.2 quintillion or 30 billion times less likely than hitting a Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot.
- Despite the fact a No. 1 seed has won the championship in 11 of the past 14 tournaments dating back to 2007, all four top seeds have reached the Final Four only once (2005) since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
- The overall top seed, aka the team ranked first in the polls at the start of the tournament, has only won the championship five times since 1992.
- A No. 16 seed has only ever defeated a No. 1 once (UMBC over Virginia in 2018)
- Only nine No. 15 seeds have defeated No. 2 teams, and the most recent happened a year ago when Oral Roberts University defeated Ohio State 75-72 in overtime.
- Always pick at least one 12-seed to beat a No. 5. At least one No. 12 seed has won a game in 31 of 36 tournaments since 1985, including 2021 Pac 12 tournament champion Oregon State, which upset fifth-seeded Tennessee 70-56 on its way to the Elite 8.
- Upsets don’t stop after the first round. Since 1985, 79 double-digit seeds have won at least two games in the tournament, including four (UCLA, Syracuse, Oregon State and Oral Roberts) in 2021.
- Choose a top seed to get picked off. A No. 1 seed has lost in the tournament’s first weekend (either first or second round) in eight of the past 11 tournaments, including top-seeded Illinois, which fell to rival Loyal (Chicago) in the second round in 2021. In 2018, two top seeds were knocked off in the first weekend when UVA lost in the first round, then Xavier fell to Florida State in the second round.
- Wait until the First Four ends to fill out your bracket. A First Four winner has won at least one first-round game in every tournament except 2019, since the First Four expanded to four teams in 2011, and two teams, UCLA in 2021 and Virginia Commonwealth in 2011, have gone from the First Four to the Final Four.
Are There Any Online Sportsbooks With Bracket Pools?
Bracket challenges are widely available on media sites like ESPN, Yahoo, CBS and others, and online sportsbooks have gotten in on the fun too. FanDuel and DraftKings typically let users participate in office-pool style bracket challenges, with cash prizes for users who reach a certain points threshold.