Yesterday was Bracket Sunday and now we know who is and who isn’t playing for the NCAA Basketball Championship. USA Today posted a few things you should know before filling out your tournament bracket.
Don’t let Cinderella stay out too late
Only four double-digit seeds have made the Final Four, one of them being Syracuse in 2016. While your pool may have more points awarded for upsets, be weary of how long you let Cinderella dance.
Early bird gets the worm
Since the NCAA went to the eight-team play-in game format in 2011, a qualifier has gone on to win at least one more game and in three of the seven years a team has made it to the Sweet 16.
Understand your bracket scoring
Are upsets weighted more? Do correct picks multiply each round you’re right? Know the scoring system so you can avoid hate-picking your alma mater’s rival to lose too early.
Make it rain
Since 1987, only six teams have shot less than 35% on three-pointers and won the title. North Carolina shot 35.5% last season.
Win, baby, win
Since 1992, nine of the teams to win the national championship also were regular season and conference tournament champions. This year’s regular season and conference tournament champions are: Virginia, Kansas, Arizona, Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Montana, Charleston, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, Loyola-Chicago, Murray State, Bucknell, UNC Greensboro, South Dakota State, New Mexico State.
Will this be the year a No. 16 seed upsets a No. 1 seed?
No. Moving on.
March Madness blues
Louisville (though its 2013 title was recently vacated by the NCAA) is the only champion in the past 14 seasons that didn’t have blue as a school color.
How sweet it is
Since 1985, Duke has the most Sweet 16 appearances at 23 followed by North Carolina (22), Kansas (21), Kentucky (19) and Louisville (14). Louisville is the only team not in this year’s tournament.
Since 1985, when the tournament went to 64 teams, only eight winners have shot less than 70% at the free throw line and only one team has shot better than 78%. North Carolina was 70.1% from the charity stripe last season.
AC-see ya in San Antonio
An ACC team has made the Final Four in nine of the last 16 years. Last year, North Carolina made it and won the tournament, the sixth team to do so in that span. This year, the conference is sending nine teams to the Big Dance.
Count your seeds before they hatch
If you add up the number of the seeds in your Final Four, you usually want to shoot for single digits or the low teens. Only eight times has the total exceeded 14. But here’s the caveat, three of those times were the past five tournaments. The last time was in 2016, where the number was 15 with Syracuse (10), Villanova (2), Oklahoma (2), and North Carolina (1).
Won by one
Since seeding began in 1979, there have been only three tournaments in which a No. 1 didn’t make the Final Four. But only in 2008 did all four No. 1s make it.
There’s nothing wrong with silver!
In the past 39 tournaments, a No. 2 seed has made the Final Four 26 times.
You can’t spell “champion” without an I
Since 1989, the national title has been won by a coach with an “I” in his last name 22 times, including Roy Williams last season. And not since 1997 (Lute Olson) has a coach won without having an “I” in his first or last name. Best bets to break that streak this year: Tony Bennett (Virginia), Mark Few (Gonzaga) Steve Alford (UCLA) and Bobby Hurley (Arizona State).
The 12-5 upset isn’t Fake News
No. 12 seeds are 9-11 in the Round of 64 the last 5 seasons.
How important is a conference championship?
The last four national champions didn’t win their conference tournament.
Are you ready to play?