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The Blue & Gray Press | May 24, 2018

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What (bizarre) factors influence your NCAA tournament picks?

What (bizarre) factors influence your NCAA tournament picks?


March is almost here which means the peak of college basketball has arrived: March Madness. People fill out brackets, knowing it will probably be busted in the first round and putting down their bets. How do people pick and which way is most effective? Many non-college basketball fans fill out brackets just for the fun of it and often base it on something completely unrelated to skill, including, color, team name, mascot, location and more. So which way of picking teams is most effective when you don’t actually analyze the stats? 

If you like to pick teams based on color consider this: according to 12 of the last 13 national champions have featured some variation of blue as a main color within their uniform, Louisville being the lone one out. Villanova, Duke and Connecticut, just to name the last three national champions, all have blue within their uniforms.

What about team name? also states that out of the last 21 national champions, 18 have feature a vowel as the second letter in the schools name (i.e. Villanova, Duke, and Connecticut).

What about location or region? Again, reports, 19 of the last 21 national champions have been part of the east coast area

What about picking a team solely based on records? informs us that 27 out of the last 28 national champions have had above 30 wins, the exception being the 1997 Arizona Wildcats.

What about mascots? Picking a team based on a mascot may not be the best option as many various types of mascots have a less obvious pattern. However, out of the last 21 national champions 14 of them have been animal related and four out of the last six have been cat related, again including Villanova and Connecticut.

What about picking the previous team from last year to repeat? This is the least likely option. Since 1993, only Florida has been able to repeat as NCAA tournament champions. The last three national champions have all featured blue in their uniform, have a vowel as the seconded letter of their name, been from the east coast and had more than 30 wins. Completing and filling out brackets can be a family, school or business event no matter the level of basketball knowledge. My 10-year- old sister beats me every year.

So when filling out your bracket this year, remember to pick a team that wears the color blue, has a vowel as a seconded letter, is from the east coast, has 30-plus wins and has an animal as a mascot. Then again, who doesn’t like to pick an underdog to win it all?