Image via Flickr
If you’re a basketball fan, March has to be one of the most exciting times for you, except for the NBA playoffs. Starting from the middle of March, one of the most important tournaments of basketball is held in the US. Continuing for less than a month, this must be one of the most challenging games for the players. Even if you don’t have a chance to physically participate, you can still be a part of it. Here are the March madness expert tips from the professionals of the field in order to help you fill out the brackets.
What is March Madness?
March Madness is now a synonym with NCAA Division I basketball tournament, but it used to refer to something else. Illinois high school basketball games were called by this nickname until in 1989, sports journalists picked up the name. Now the name is perfect for the tournament held from mid-March until the beginning of April.
During the three weeks of the tournament, 68 college basketball teams compete with each other in order to win the national championship. It’s a single-elimination, seven rounds tournament, which means that a team has to win six times in order to get the title. One loss, and then you’re going back home.
This year, the tournament is scheduled to begin on March 15th when the NCAA announces the teams and seeds. This day is also known as Selection Sunday. After that, the actual games will begin on March 17th and will continue until April 6th. The finals game will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The selection process and schedule of the March Madness
Out of the 68 teams, 32 spots are automatically awarded to the best-performing Division I teams of the season. The NCAA selects the other 36 depending on their performance and other competitive edges. After that, it’s time for you to step in.
As we’ve mentioned before, you can fill out brackets before the game starts and predict the game outcomes. It’s almost impossible to guess all of the wins or losses right, but with our March madness expert tips, you can get as close as possible.
NCAA March Madness bracket is a mapping of the teams in order to reach the championship. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s a single-elimination game. This means that a team has to win six straight times in order to get the title. You can fill out the 2020 March madness bracket until March 19th this year.
After the NCAA announces selected teams on the Selection Sunday, the tournament begins usually on Monday. The first game is called the First Four. The lowest seeding four teams of the automatically awarded teams and lowest four of the selected teams play against each other. The four winners of the game will continue to the game- or “play-in”.
The 64 chosen teams are divided into 4 groups, largely based on the location. Also, the seeding process affects the selection too. In order to have the most interesting games, usually, they match the top teams with the bottom teams. This means that the #16 team will play against the #1 team in their division.
The first round of the tournament usually takes only one week and is probably the easiest round of the brackets to complete. Since the worst performing team plays against the best-performing ones, it might seem pretty simple to complete. Traditionally, the highest-seeded 8 teams have a much higher chance of advancing into the finals than the lowest-seeded ones.
In the only first four days of the tournament, the 68 teams are trimmed to 16, often called Sweet Sixteen. These teams will rest for four days until the next round.
As you’ve might be guessed by the name, this is the round where the 16 teams play against each other. Eight winners are called the Elite Eight. This might be the hardest round for the bidders. In this round, the “Cinderella” teams usually advance to the next round. They are the teams with lower seeds and have shown unexpectedly good results. This is probably when you need the March Madness expert tips the most.
The Final Four games are held during the last week of the tournament. The winners of the semifinals will play against each other for the championship in only two days. This year, Georgia Institute of Technology is hosting both the finals and semi-finals. Millions of fans either fly to the arena to watch the game or choose to stay at home to stream it. Either way, the NCAA is profiting from it, which has reached around 1 billion for the first time last year.
March Madness expert tips- How to fill out the brackets?
The best place to start if you don’t follow the college basketball regularly and don’t have detailed information about the teams will be to look at the expert tips. There are many online gambling sites in the US, that give you tips for filling out the brackets. In order to get the most accurate predictions, it’s always better to look at as many march madness expert tips as possible and analyze it. You might find a pattern or repeated brackets from these college basketball insiders’ or bracketology experts’ tips. Also, it won’t hurt to look at the last year’s predictions in order to get a better idea about the team’s forms.
Let’s look at the final fours of some of these experts.
CBS sports insider Gary Parish’s top four: Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan St
Sports senior writer Matt Norlander’s top four: Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan St
College basketball and NBA writer Kyle Booner’s top four: Baylor, Florida, Louisville, and Michigan St
Now obviously you shouldn’t just copy these experts’ top four into your brackets, but you should keep in mind that they are the ones who know about almost all of the insider information about these teams. Even though the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight are not exactly right most of the time, the Final Four are usually almost always on point. According to them, Kentucky, Florida and Michigan State have the largest chances of going into the semifinals.
Not only Kentucky has the high possibility of getting into the semifinals, some experts like Chip Patterson, whose bracket was almost perfect last year, has chosen this state as the one most likely to win the championship. In the last three years, they’ve been to the finals two times. This team that has been grasping at the winner’s title is still strong and has kept almost exactly the same roster this year. Even though they’re lacking the one super-hyped star player like they used to have before, they still have a pretty good all-rounded team with skillful players.
Betting odds: +1600
As you can see from before, three experts have chosen Michigan State as a potential champion of the year. The first reason for the team’s promising future is the team’s coach, Hall of Famer Tom Izzo. He has been coaching the Michigan State since 1995. He has successfully led his team to one of the biggest championships of basketball, including the 2000 NCAA Division I championship. With a basketball prodigy Cassius Winston in their team and quite solid teammates supporting him, this year might be the one that Michigan State win their long-lost title back. One of the biggest March madness expert tips would be to keep your eyes on the Michigan state.
Betting odds: +1200
Last season Kansas has entered as the NCAA’s No.1 team and unfortunately didn’t have the best season. However, with the big trio in their hand, they’re likely to reach the finals this year. As long as they land the first seed, online betting sites in the US are pretty hopeful about this team. Udoka Azubuike has improved his often criticized skill at scoring. Combined with his amazing 7-foot frame that can be a gem when it comes to defending, he’s going to be a great center of a team. Devon Dotson can easily cover up for Udoka when it comes to shooting. He’s one of the best point guards in the college basketball teams. These two teamed up with relatively strong teammates, it’s almost certain that they would advance to the top four at least.
Betting odds: +800
Chris Mack coming from Xavier to coach Louisville must’ve been the best thing that has happened to them since Rick Pitino. They have managed to land on the seventh seed last year and had a pretty good run compared to their previous years. They’re building the team mainly around all-American forward Jordan Nwora this year. With him and six of their seven best scorers returning to the team, they might have a good chance of going into the semifinals. As long as they manage to team up and find their chemistry before the game, it’s no doubt that they’ll reach the Final Four, at the very least.
Betting odds: +900