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12 Tips To Ensure A NCAA Bracket Victory

Statistics Conquer All.

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We all want a perfect NCAA tournament bracket.

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So we cross our fingers and trust our gut.

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But you never win, do you?

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What if there were a better way?

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THERE IS.

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer / Via The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sheldon Jacobson, a University of Illinois computer science professor, has analyzed the data.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com / Via youtube.com

Watch this video to learn more.

1. Fill in your bracket BEFORE Selection Sunday. Knowing the teams actually creates hidden biases.

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2. In the first round of the bracket, pick two, three or four #11 or #12 upsets.

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In more than 70 percent of the past 30 tournaments, one or more of both of these seeds have advanced out of this round.

3. Don’t disregard teams seeded #13, #14 and #15. Picking one #13, one #14, or both a #13 and #14 to advance is reasonable. #15 seeds are riskier.

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In more than 85 percent of the past 30 tournaments, at least one of these teams has won a game in the first round.

In more than 60 percent of these tournaments, at least two of these teams have won a game.

4. Avoid picking a #16 in the first round. It’s impossible to know when one will pull off a major upset.

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A #16 hasn’t won a game in 30 tournaments.

5. For your Sweet Sixteen, pick eight or nine teams seeded #1, #2 or #3. A reasonable mixture is three or four #1's; two or three #2’s; and one, two, or three #3’s.

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6. Pick one team seeded #6 or worse to reach the Elite Eight.

A #6 or worse team has reached the Elite Eight in more than 83 percent of the past 30 tournaments.

7. The double-digit seed that has the best chance to reach the Final Four is #11.

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#11 seeds can avoid playing a #1 seed longer than any other double-digit seed.

8. In the Elite Eight, #1 seeds are most likely to lose against a #2 or a #3 seed. These games are effectively toss-ups.

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Good luck!

9. In the Final Four, teams seeded #1, #2 and #3 perform similarly in their winning percentages, particularly when they play each other. These games are effectively toss-ups.

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Hold onto your luck.

10. Put one or two #1 seeds in your Final Four.

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One or two #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four in 80 percent of the past 30 tournaments.

11. If you would prefer not to put #1 seeds in your Final Four, make sure you have a #2 seed there.

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Only once in the past 30 tournaments has neither a #1 nor a #2 reached the Final Four.

12. #1, #2 and #3 seeds win National Championships.

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Over the past 30 tournaments, 18 have been won by a #1 seed, four have been won by a #2 seed, and four have been won by a #3 seed.

For more info, check out Jacobson's website Bracket Odds.

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