March Madness -The History, The Pool, The Picks!

You’ve most likely heard the enthusiastic cheers and of course, a measure of groans drifting out of your neighbor’s windows at your apartment community during the month of March. Those sounds are confirmation that March Madness is upon us! Here’s a look at a bit of history and some timely tips on picking the best teams.

Wikipedia defines March Madness as “The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, also known and branded as NCAA March Madness, is a single-elimination tournament played each spring in the United States, currently featuring 68 college basketball teams from the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), to determine the national championship. The tournament was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and was the idea of The Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen.[1] Played mostly during March, it has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the United States.”

You may recognize other phrases to describe this American tradition as “Sweet 16,” “Final Four,” and the “Big Dance.” Regardless of what you call it, it is a time of great competition, athleticism, and for the fans, an absolute obsession. 

The NCAA breaks the tournament down this way, “There are three phases to the process to determine the 68 teams for the tournament:

I. Select the 36 best at-large teams;

II. Seed the field of 68 teams; and

III. Place the teams into the championship bracket.”

From there, let the Selection, Seeding, and Bracketing process begin!  

Now for your tips from “March Madness: How To Win Your NCAA Tournament Bracket Pool” by Nate Weitzer on

•    Stay tuned in to injury news as it leads up to the tournament.
•    Consider how many participants are in your private or public pool as this greatly impacts your odds. 
•    Choose your Final Four with great care. “No. 1 seeds clearly have the best chance of making it to the final weekend. Thus, your brackets should include two or perhaps three of those top seeds in order to be on the right side of probability.”
•    Play it conservative in later rounds. 
•    Factor in your team knowledge, stats, and for brave souls – your intuition. “The results still come down [to] the players, so it’s important to look at their track record in close games. Teams that are battle-tested by playing a tough conference schedule are almost always more capable in the Big Dance.
•    Picking the champion. “The best place to start when picking a champion is the NCAA Futures odds on sportsbooks.” 
•    Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. Pick a few upsets. Even if it’s upsetting, it’s part of the process. 

We can’t wait to hear your March Madness stories at #LifeatWeidner! 

-The Weidner Team