3 tournament facts that will help a beginner fill out their bracket

Digital journalist Landon Haaf gives a few helpful tips to help with your NCAA tournament picks.

March Madness is officially upon us, and all of us are filling out our brackets. If it's taught us anything over the years, it's that most all of our brackets will be busted sooner rather than later, but it's still fun to give it the ole college try.

Here are a few interesting facts that could help the bracket beginner make their picks in this year's tournament.

Bet on a couple upsets from Nos. 11 and 12 seeds

You don’t want to pick all the favorites (more on that in a sec), but you might not be sure where to start with picking upsets. While there's no science to which schools will pull off a big upset, a good place to start is with the 12-versus-5 and 11-versus-6 matchups.

No. 12 seeds have upset No. 5 seeds 10 times since 2012. No. 11 seeds have upset No. 6 seeds 10 times in that span, too. Some simple math will tell you that's four upsets per year coming from these two matchups.

The No. 5 seed in a given region doesn't get some of the same protection as the top four seeds get, if you ask the Washington Post, so they are more prone to the upsets than those ranked slightly ahead of them.

Don't default to No. 1 seeds

No. 1 seeds have never lost to a 16th-seeded team in the first round. Ever. But after that, the water gets a bit muddier. While No. 1 seeds are obviously the favorite to win almost any matchup until the Final Four, they only get there about half the time.

The Final Four has consisted of four No. 1 seeds only one time (2008) and been comprised of three No. 1 seeds only five more times. So, if you've got all the No. 1 seeds emerging from their regions, you might want to go back to the drawing board.


When in doubt, pick blue or orange teams

Some people like to select their teams at random based on very non-basketball-related criteria. That's cool too. And if that method is school color, you might be onto something.

The NCAA studied the history of primary school colors in the tournament, and only three colors have winning records: Blue, orange and yellow. Blue jerseys actually have a winning record against every other primary color except orange. So when in doubt, go with the blue, orange or yellow team.

Now, this stat is undoubtedly skewed by perennial powerhouses Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky, who all wear blue. But it's fun nonetheless.

Don't want to base it on colors? There's always mascots, school academics, flipping a coin, or having your pet make your picks for you!

Bonus: Mike and Landon's picks

WFAA sports reporter Mike Leslie and digital journalist Landon Haaf filled out their brackets and talked about them in a Facebook Live chat Tuesday. You can check out their brackets below.

Mike Leslie bracket by wfaachannel8 on Scribd

Landon Haaf bracket by wfaachannel8 on Scribd

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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