By now, if you haven't had time to fill out your bracket, you are either an extremely busy person or in a full out panic mode in trying to figure out what to do to win your bracket pool. Is this the year the top seeds will take care or business or is this a year where a Butler or VCU type team could emerge and make the Final Four?
It's all speculation, but as you fill in those last couple of spots and try to get the perfect bracket, we have put together a few quick tips on last minute changes or updates. Everybody wants that last minute addition they can brag to their friends about in a few weeks, so what will those changes be this year?
So, here are your last minute bracket tips.
1. Don't Be Afraid To Choose Top Seeds This Year
If you haven't been following the media over the last week or so, this is starting to be referred to as the year of the "chalk" bracket, as it appears that the top teams are a notch above their typical status and could be set to dominate this year's field. Often, media speculation on brackets can be out there, but this is something that has some truth. According to KenPom's ratings, Arizona, Kentucky, Villanova, Virginia, and Wisconsin are rated as the Top 5 teams this year and all of them have higher ratings than any team last season. Essentially, if you seeded the field by KenPom ratings from last year and this year, there would be 5 teams selected from this year's field before one was selected from last year. There's no doubt that a few top teams this year will go down, but if there is a year that you are going to select a lot of #1 and #2 seeds in your Final Four, this is probably the year.
2. Make Sure You Have Your #5 vs. #12 Upset
By now, this is starting to become general knowledge, but there is a lot of data that supports the concept that a #5 seed is significantly more likely to be upset in the Round of 64 than closely seeded teams. Last night, I posted this chart looking at a team's odds by seed of making it past the Round of 64 and you can see it here as well.
Now, this leads us to who you should select as this upset. In my bracket, I have Buffalo as my pick, but Wofford also looks like a decent pick on paper. I'm not very high on West Virginia as a team and as much as people talk about West Virginia's rebounding, their defense relies a lot on getting turnovers and Buffalo avoids them very well, which is why I think their offense can hold up. I don't like Northern Iowa to go down as I think they are a real surprise contender to go deep and Utah to me is a bit underseeded, which makes me doubt they go down. Still, my predictions aside, the point here is that you bracket probably needs at least one of these according to the odds.
3. Hesitate, Hesitate, Hesitate On Last Minute Changes
By now, you are invested in your bracket for better or worse. Arguably, the worst thing you can do now is override all the research and thought you have put in over the last week. Yes, this is a post on last minute bracket tips, but the single most important thing is to not allow all your planning to go down the drain just because of a random comment from a friend at work or due to a TV host. This tip isn't about not making any changes, but it's more about thinking through your changes before you make them. If you do opt to make a few last minute adjustments, just make sure it's a change that you believe in and not something that you are doing for no good reason. After all, the best part of brackets is that you live and die by your picks, not somebody else's picks. If you want the glory, you have to take the risk of being wrong a time or two.