There are two ways to enjoy the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, which begins today.
The first is to simply appreciate the young players’ unique gifts of athleticism, the coaches’ leadership and the pure excitement of viewing one game after another over the next three weeks. But our favorite way is to craft a bracket and be captivated by the suspense of how far you’ll go in the office pool and by the dream that this could be the year you win it all.
Here are some bracketology tips to help you build your bracket with winning picks:
- Don’t pick a team seeded lower than four to win – sure, a school with a low seed could always be a Cinderella spoiler, but this comes down to simple odds. In the tournament’s history, there have only been three years in which a number 1 seed didn’t advance to the Final Four.
- Look for experienced teams and coaches – statistically, nearly all winning teams played in the previous year’s tournament and nearly all of the winning coaches have been to the Big Dance at least five times.
- Power conferences do better – generally, the winner comes from the ACC, the Big Ten, the Big East, the Big 12, the Pac-12 or the SEC.
- High-scoring teams – winning teams have typically scored an average of 77 points or better in games and won their games by at least 10 points.
- Momentum matters – Look at how a team has done late in season rather than their overall record. And put more weight on teams’ away games records. After all, the Big Dance is actually a series of away games.
If you’re not the gambling type, we have some other unique gift ideas to help you and your friends enjoy basketball at this time of the year when talk of the game is everywhere.
Become a better player yourself with this shot-improving basketball featuring built-in motion sensors that provide instant, accurate feedback about one’s shooting and ball-handling skills. This basketball immediately sends data for every shot and dribble to an app running on a smartphone. The app then offers more than 50 goal-based drills for individual practice and competitions for up to five players.
For play that’s more about pleasant diversion, this indoor basketball net automatically passes made baskets back to the shooter who can reload and take another shot. The chute swivels 180°, allowing players to set the direction of the ball return. The unit hangs over a door and includes a foam basketball.
Finally, for the obsessed basketball fan, this is a unique gift they’ll surely love. This fanciful hoopster’s mug has an integrated miniature basketball hoop that lets kids of all ages play with their food. Players can face off in games of hot chocolate H.O.R.S.E. using marshmallows, slam dunk cereal into milk, or launch three pointers of oyster crackers into soup.