How to make March Madness predictions without knowing a thing about basketball: A primer

Yesterday marked the first day of my (one and only) most favoritist sports season of the year: Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament.

I didn’t have any brothers or male cousins my age. Dad just sat around watching football by himself while Mom, Sarah and I would make up ridiculously complex family stories with our Barbies or set up a My Little Pony castle or sometimes let the sun touch our precious skin whilst drawing stuff on the sidewalk with chalk (we didn’t get out much). Sports weren’t in our vocabulary.

Fast forward 13 or so years when I was dating my college ex who was obsessed — LITERALLY OBSESSED — with bowling. Guys, he had, like, 11 balls. I’m not even exaggerating about that. And he had a robo-brace to keep his arm in place when he bowled, a little powder bean bag to keep his hands dry and a bag for all those balls (I said balls twice!!!!) Also? On the college bowling team. And we dated for three years, by the way. (Fail.)

Anyway, as nobody really considers that a real sport and I didn’t learn much about sports from him, let’s fast forward another five years to my third month dating my husband. We were in the thick of March Madness and I’d seen some extra-excitable  behavior, but nothing compared to when Kentucky lost to Michigan State in the Final Four and he sulked into another room and came out in Cincinnati Reds gear. Basketball season, he said, was OVER.

I’ve got a bunch of dooseys from our game watching together (how about the time he accidentally busted a bag of tortilla chips while stomping around during a game? That was awesome.) I love him and like to support him and it’s only fair considering how many hours he spends watching trash like the Bachelor and American Idol with me.

In the past 6 years, I’ve realized I am much more invested in sports if there is:

  1. a good story associated with it (a player who donated a kidney to a sick kid, for instance)
  2. drama involved (coaching or recruitment scandals) or 
  3. a super-hyped match-up.

The above reasons are why I love the NCAA Tournament. AND I love making my predictions, which has been a tradition with Hubby and I. I usually beat him because the less you know, amazingly, the better you fare. Actually the only time I didn’t beat him was the year I decided to get all fancy and do a little “research”. He’s shared a few little tips that have helped me tremendously with my predictions, and bloggy friends, I’m passing them on to you (and a few of these are my own recipes for success):

  • At least one 13 will beat a 4.
  • At least one 12 will beat a 5.
  • At least one 10 will beat a 7.
  • At least one 11 will beat a 6.
  • For closer match-ups, look at the overall regular season record.
  • Also, consider how close they are playing to their home court.
  • If neither of these make it any clearer, choose based on some arbitrary thing: Which of the two teams is wearing your preferred color? Are they from a location you’ve visited before? Or want to visit? Do you remember one of their players from a news story you read? Do you like the way their name sounds (I will always choose Gonzaga)?
  • If you are playing with a significant other or male friend, make sure you make their team lose the second round unless they are really good. It won’t help you win but it’s super fun to watch the color drain out of their face when you announce your prediction.
  • Don’t make really dramatic upset predictions because usually it’s a crap shoot and then it will screw up your whole bracket.

There you have it; an almost fool-proof way to probably beat everybody else in their bracket. If I missed anything or you want to share your secrets (it’s just between us and also the entire internet!), leave ‘em in the comments! Go print off your own bracket and pretend like you care about basketball for a couple of weeks.

Tune in tomorrow when I’ll explain how I make prediction based on mascots, with my first guest blogger!

*Image via

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26 comments to How to make March Madness predictions without knowing a thing about basketball: A primer

  • Hutch

    LOVE it and I agree with 99.99% I picked the Zags tooo many times to ever, every put faith in them again (and I had a cousin who played baseball there, guess how many family points this gets me?). Well done.

  • Jules

    You don't just pick on color or mascot??

  • Salt

    Well if knowing less is more, than I would be great at picking teams because I know absolutely nothing. Seriously, it could not be possible for me to know any less than basketball. Ok I know they wear sneakers and shoot a ball through a hoop. And mostly they are tall.

    Good luck beating your hubs!!

    Oh and…


    I just had to.

  • My Husband's Watching TV...

    I always pick off name and location…for instance I always have Gonzanga going all the way and I will pick Florida over Michigan any day because I'd prefer to be in FL over cold cold Michigan. Do I ever win? No…but it makes for a good laugh!

  • Sarah With Scissors

    We're in hockey season up in Canada so my dudes are equally obsessed in nature. And of course I totally get sucked in the drama as well as they outnumber me in the fight for the remote (except that one time I made them watch the bachelor because they were too lazy to find the remote).

    I started picking my teams based on jersey colours… now it's based on whether I actually like the city or not. If I lived there and enjoyed it, they are a shoe in.

  • SmartBear

    This sounds very researched and scientific my friend. I feel much more prepared now. I'm a KU alum…so I always go with them, no matter what.

  • OG

    11 balls…sounds like a medical miracle. No? I tried.

    It doesn't matter who I pick in the NCAA pool or how much I know about college basketball because you inevitably lose to somebody like Sara with Scissors who picks based on jersey color.

    Oh Well.

  • Cathy

    This is brilliant. I feel like we had similar intro's to the March Madness madness! I love picking a random to go really far though…this year I've got BYU going to the elite eight. It's probably going to totally ruin my bracket, but what the heck, we're not playing for money! And of course I have Duke getting knocked off in the second round..bwahahah.. stupid Duke.

  • Unknown Mami

    I should make some predictions since I know nothing.

  • The Random Blogette

    Sweet! I just got an e-mail at work about a bracket challenge. Too bad I work with all men (except for 4 girls). I need all of the help that I can get! Oh and by the way, you dated a guy obsessed with bowling?? Yikes for you!

  • mariahsmile

    color and places I like/want to go sound good to me!

  • Bethany

    I'm the same way about SEC football! Go girl!

  • Sarah Beth

    LOVE IT! And although I do really like sports, there just is no predicting the madness of March. So, I go with names (I always pick Gonzaga, too :)), locations, rooting against an ex, or against an ex's ex – you know. Very scientific.

  • Bethany

    I might have thrown my arms in the air and yelled,


    just for the fun of it when I read their name.

    I'm totally going to have to do a bracket now. My husband is going to be so hot for me…unless of course I pick his team to lose in the second round which according to you is unwise since he roots for Duke.

    Just for the record. I don't see any reason you can't pick a team based on hotness. That's how I like to do things around here.

  • Mayra, mommy to Pooh Bear

    At our house it's the same for soccer.. We predict and coming to a conclusion those who know less tend to be right.

    I like your prediction theories. =]

    Good luck beating your hubs!

  • Health4less

    I love Xavier…the name! so. I always have them going further than I actually believe they will go! Love it!

  • Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic

    Guys, he had, like, 11 balls. And a powdered bean bag – I can't get past this.. I'm laughing like a 10 year old right now.. YOU said balls!

    Ok back to read the rest!! :)

  • Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic

    Your husband totally sounds like me when it comes to NFL! ha!

    I always go with A) favorite color scheme and or B) Best mascot. It's been a rather good system for me.

    I love this post!

  • JMJE

    Sometimes my husband makes me fill out these brackets. I usually have no idea since I really only like NC State and they haven't been in the tourney in the past few years. I usually just make up the bracket based on colors I like or whate not and I usually make UNC and Duke lose pretty early on even though they are normally high ranked. I usually do not beat my husband in such bracket games.

  • Sheba Joyce

    Remember when I made a bracket and won :) That was awesome.

  • LambAround

    You don't just throw darts at a board??

    If you're ever looking for another guest blogger, let me know! Maybe we can trade :)

  • Monique-aka-Surferwife23

    I am so not a basketball girl. Not even for a second. Until you can throw in some good old fashioned brackets and gambling.

    Then you have my attention.

  • Tracie

    I pick them by color. Or the opposite of what Hubs likes – just to irritate him. He's a huge WVU fan and is in a tizzy at the prospect of WVU playing UK.

  • Crazy Shenanigans

    Can I just say, I laughed SO hard reading about your ex boyfriend and his bowling obsession. Wow!

    I have no idea about the tournament this year. I did a bracket last year but I think I might sit this one out.

  • Julie

    I'm with you on the predictions about the lower seeds beating the upper seeds. Although this year, I don't have any cinderella's really dancing. :(

    Oh well. Looking forward to a good/fun tourney! YAY for NCAA basketball!

  • Allyson

    How ironic that they only time I ever got seriously screwed out of some horse racing cash was when I decided to get all fancy and do "research." PFTT! That's for dorks and dweebs.

    I cannot imagine that the sulking that ensued after KY lost to Michigan is ANYTHING like the sulking after we lost to Duke. No. Freaking. Way. I still have nightmares. I will be on FB watching, tomorrow, by the way. I feel like I may need some emo support since Neal will still be at work.

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