My Experience of Building Brackets
By Peter Melling /// Staff Writer
As I waited for the last games of Sunday to wrap up, I put some thought towards the creation of my bracket. What methods should I use to build it, and how could I make it as resilient as possible?
The High-Seed Method
The most obvious method when assembling brackets is to always assume that the higher seeds will prevail in any given situation. It does have some little tidbits backing it up; no 16th seed team has beaten a 1st seed team ever since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. While there have been multiple cases of 15th and 14th seeds winning in the round of 64 (7 and 17, respectively), none have made it past the Sweet Sixteen. So, this seems like a foolproof option.
The problem: Once the higher seeds start playing each other, there tends to be much less predictability. It’s not that hard to see a 9th seed beat an 8th seed or a 6th seed beat a 4th seed. Once you get to the Final Four, most of top-seed teams might not be there.
Always the Upset
Once you get out of the Round of 64, picking some lower seeds may be advantageous. In close seeding matchups (the aforementioned 4th vs. 6th or 8th vs 12th), picking the lower seed might just prove the superior strategy. Because of the disparity of talent in the different conference across the NCAA, the actual seeding may prove inaccurate. If the seeds are misplaced, upsets become all the more likely.
The problem: How far do you go with this? Would you let this method spread to disparate seeds in the Round of 64 and the Round of 32, or would you limit it to the Final Four and Elite Eight? In certain matchups, your bracket might seem ridiculous. While that may work some of the time, the higher seeds that are legitimately as good as their seeding describes would make this methodology problematic.
All These Squares Make a Circle
The next method is to go completely random. When assembling your bracket, give only a small regard for seeding, and pick whoever you feel like could win. Pick teams by alphabetical order, by proximity to your hometown, by who has the coolest mascot or even by the flip of a coin. Your bracket would have no real rule of seeding, just going off of your whims.
The problem: It’s completely random. While both of the previous methods guarantee at least a couple of wins, the wild method has no assurances. On its own, I cannot recommend this move entirely. However, combining the methods could work.
The bracket that you see here was created using a combination of methods one and three, which contains a Final Four of Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Louisville, with Louisville beating Florida for the final.
Follow Peter Melling @PMell2293