Glance around your office, and odds are you'll see more than one person staring brow-furrowed at a March Madness bracket. Yes, the selection committee released its official bracket yesterday (you can download one here), and that means it's time to identify Cinderellas, pick some 5-12 upsets, and/or randomly guess which university you've maybe heard of will defeat which university you've definitely never heard of. We're here to help. Here's what people around the web are saying about the bracket:
- High seeds are good: For all the much-buzzed-about upsets, it turns out the selection committee knows a thing or two; No. 1 seeds have won five of the past six championships, ESPN points out, and only once in the past 24 tournaments has a team seeded lower than 4 won it all.
- But definitely pick some upsets: They'll happen, because this isn't March Rational Outcomes. USA Today suggests picking a 9-seed over an 8-seed, noting that 9-seeds are 58-54 all-time. You could also do worse than picking a 10 over a 7 (45-67) or a 12 over a 5 (38-74).
- Identify some underrated teams: Bleacher Report suggests Villanova (9), Temple (9), and La Salle (13), all of which the public has largely written off because they're going up against better-hyped foes, but all of which have at least one outstanding star that could put them over the top.
- Beware Gonzaga: The perennial winner of the "most fun name to say" award has a No. 1 seed this year, after going undefeated in conference play and winning their conference tournament. But be careful; none of the previous nine teams to pull off that feat won the tournament.
- Try it blind: The Wall Street Journal has a nifty tool letting you pick the teams based on their perceived strengths at various parts of the game—without seeing their names.
- What to grumble about: Of course, you'll also want to be up on the selection committee outrages. SportsGrid predicts grumbles about Miami's lack of a 1-seed, the lack of respect for the Pac-12, and the omission of Tennessee.
- Forget brackets entirely: If you think this bracket business is passe, Slate has a list of alternative ways to gamble on the Big Dance.