The 2015 NCAA Tournament is set to begin on Thursday, leaving little time to fill out your bracket. Even for those who aren’t big college basketball fans, it’s possible to win your March Madness office pool.
It takes a lot of luck to produce the best bracket in your office or amongst your friends. But there a few things you can do to improve your chances of winning, even if you haven’t done any research.
Below are three tips for filling out your last-second bracket.
Just Pick Kentucky
It’s not always fun to pick the team that’s favored to win the championship, but taking the Wildcats makes the most sense. Kentucky hasn’t been beaten all season, and they’ve proven to be far and away the best team in the field with four potential first-round picks in the 2015 NBA Draft. Correctly predicting the national champion is worth the most points in almost all office pools, which is why picking Kentucky is so important. If the Wildcats win the title and most of your coworkers have selected them to do so, trying to be different and going with another team could ruin your chances of finishing in first place.
Play It Safe With Upset Picks
Correctly picking early-round upsets can give you an edge in your office pool, but predicting too many Cinderellas can come back to haunt you. Last year was an anomaly, as a No.8 and No.7 seed faced off in the national championship game, but the Final Four also featured a No.1 and No.2 seed. In the last decade, 22 of the 40 Final Four teams were seeded either first or second in their respective regions. Choosing a team like No.13 Eastern Washington or No.12 Buffalo to win a game or two is smart, but make sure your Elite Eight is mostly filled with top 25 teams.
Listen To The Experts
With 347 teams in Division I college basketball and 68 of them making the NCAA Tournament, it’s impossible to be knowledgeable about the majority of the field. Making certain picks based on gut instinct is fine, but it’s smart to rely on experts who study the sport for a living. Looking at the betting odds is also helpful, as they can indicate the teams with a good chance to make a deep run, even if they weren’t given a strong seed. Last year, Kentucky was a No.8 seed, but they were still one of the favorites to win the title. The Wildcats ended up losing in the national championship game, and finding this year’s version of the 2014 Kentucky team, possibly No.7 Michigan State or No.5 Utah, can be key.