March Madness Guide: How to fill out your bracket

For some, March Madness is simply another tournament. But for others, they think of this tournament as something that could change their life. Every year, millions of people fill out their March Madness brackets in hopes that they will win big.

If you’re lucky enough to work for Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, you have the chance to never work a day again in your entire life. Every year, Buffett creates some sort of contest where he sets a reward for any employee that can successfully predict the entire March Madness bracket. There’s just one catch: no one has ever successfully guessed every game.

This year, Buffett increased his incentive. If you become the first person to guess the bracket, he will give you $1,000,000 a year for the rest of your life. That’s a lot of
money, but before anyone gets their hopes up, it’s nearly impossible to guess a perfect bracket. In fact, it has never been done.

There are over 9.2 quintillion different ways for a March Madness bracket to shape out. If you can make it past the first two rounds and successfully predict the sweet 16, you will join an elite group of people. In 2014, only 14 out of 11.57 million brackets accurately picked the sweet 16.

So, now that we’ve discussed how it’s nearly impossible to have a perfect bracket, let’s talk about how to do it. And yes, unfortunately your bracket will not play out as you hope, but there’s no harm in trying.

1.Start Easy

The first round has a few games that should be no doubters. Go through the bracket, and if you’re 100 per cent sure that one team will beat the other, make that selection. Don’t be too greedy, however, because the way I see it, there’s only a handful of games that are no-brainers. Be sure to pick the number one seeds in the round of 64, because the number one seeds are 128-0 all time in the opening round. So Villanova, Kansas, Gonzaga and North Carolina should be picked, but after that, it’s risky business.

2.Pick who is going to the finals

Choose two teams, one on either side of the bracket, that you believe can make it to the finals. If you watch college basketball it’s safe to strategically choose the two teams, but if you’re not, then go with your gut. Here’s a tip: In eight of the past 10 national championships, there has been at least one number one seed in the finals.

3.Flip a coin

No seriously, flip a coin. No one will ever be able to predict the inevitable Cinderella team that comes out every year. In 2006 it was George Mason Patriots, the number 11 seed who made it all the way to the final four. In 2008 it was Steph Curry’s Davidson Wildcats who made it to the final eight as the number 10 seed. My point is that you have no chance at guessing who will be this year’s Cinderella team, so you may as well just flip a coin for every game in the bracket and just hope for the best.

4.Use as little basketball knowledge as possible

This one might sound weird, but it’s the right choice. When it comes down to it, you have a one in 35 million chances of guessing the perfect bracket. Going back to the last tip, you are never going to guess all the upsets correctly, and if you use basketball knowledge, you’re always going to try and pick the best team to win but often times that doesn’t happen. Basketball knowledge would have you picking one of the number one seeds to go to the finals, but in 2006, not a single top seed made it to the final four. Buffett’s challenge last year, where he paid whichever employee’s bracket lasted the longest $100,000, is a good example of this. Out of the two men that ultimately tied and split the prize money, one of them didn’t know a thing about NCAA basketball.

 

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