For the past week or so, UPS has been taking advantage of March Madness by running the clever advertisement that you see above. As part of their “Game Changers” campaign, UPS is featuring Grant Hill’s pass to Christian Laettner in the 1992 NCAA tournament. Highlights of that play typically focus on the miraculous shot by Laettner that eliminated Kentucky, but UPS is showcasing the pass.
“Everybody remembers the shot. But what about the pass? No pass, no shot,” the ad says. “You need a special player to get the ball exactly where it needs to be, exactly when it needs to be there.”
We here at LBS thought it would be fun and useful to compile a list of the NCAA Tournament bracket picks and Final Four selections from some of the top college basketball analysts and writers.
On Selection Sunday, we shared with you the Final Four picks for some of ESPN’s top analysts. Below we will link to the the brackets of analysts/writers from ESPN, SI, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports, Sporting News, and FOX Sports. Hopefully this will help guide your picks and give you a handy reference to keep track of how people did.
Below is a chart of everyone’s Final Four picks. Further below you can see the entire brackets for most of the analysts.
Fifth-grader Max Kohll did something that’s going to take place in nearly every office across the country this month: He organized an NCAA bracket pool between him and his buddies at Columbian Elementary in Omaha. $5 buy-in. Winner gets half the pot. Second- and third-place splits whatever is left.
It was very entrepreneurial of him, especially for an 11-year-old. He was pretty proud of himself, too. Being so confident that North Carolina will go all the way, he thought it was easy money.
That was until Max’s uptight principal got wind of the pool (someone probably snitched) and set out to stop it. The principal, who we’re just going to assume is related to this fun guy, called Max to her office to set this young hustler straight.
Max averted serious punishment. He got a light chewing out and was let off with a warning, only if he promised no more bracket pools on school grounds.
“You can’t gamble in school,” Max said to the Omaha World-Herald. “It’s not OK to gamble. It’s like, illegal, sort of.”
The principal also shot a phone call to Max’s mom, Janet, to let her know what had happened. She thought the whole incident was too funny to punish her son. Only because she’s the coolest mom ever.
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It’s that time of the year again — the time when every Tom, Dick, and Harry who has no idea what they’re talking about gets to play expert for a few days. Those few days would be the ones leading up to the NCAA Tournament. After the first round of games, most of us usually feel pretty dejected and stupid. But hey, it’s only Wednesday. Most picks aren’t due until Thursday at noon, so keep your heads up for now. As for filling out those brackets, Del is here to give you as much guidance as possible. Here are Del’s NCAA tournament picks, with limited analysis and a championship game prediction after the bracket.
I never seem to have much success at picking March Madness brackets, so my advice is only so-so when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. But thanks to Pregame.com, we can offer you some outstanding NCAA Tournament tips for your March Madness brackets. Keep in mind that the numbers don’t dictate what will happen, they just give you a great idea of what has historically happened.
– Don’t pick any 15 or 16 seeds to win (they’re a combined 4-216)
– Pick at least one 13 or 14 seed to win (they’ve combined to win 18% of first-round games)
– Pick 9 seeds to beat 8 seeds (they’re six games over .500 vs. 8 seeds)
– Pick No. 1 seeds to reach the Sweet 16 (88% of them make it)
– Advance 10 and 12 seed to the Sweet 16 (they win 2nd round games about half the time)
– Don’t pick teams seeded below 12 to reach Sweet 16 (only 6 of 432 teams (1.4%) advancing past Round 2 were seeded worse than #12)
– 72% of No. 1 seeds reach the Elite 8, so pick 3 to make it
– Don’t put a team seeded lower than 11 in the Elite 8 (only 1 has reached it)
A few other really good notes to keep in mind:
– Only 6 times since 1979 have two 1 seeds made the finals
– Teams seeded lower than 8 hardly reach the Final Four (only 3 of 108 teams have)
– Only one team seeded lower than 6 has reached the championship game
There will always be exceptions to these stats, but they provide an excellent guideline for making your picks.
Very few college basketball experts thought Iona would make the NCAA Tournament, but the Gaels reached the dance as a 14-seed. Iona went 25-7 in the regular season and but failed to win the MAAC tournament (Loyola, Md. won it), meaning they got in as an at-large team. Surprisingly, NCAA Tournament committee chairman Jeff Hathaway said Iona was not the last team in the tournament.
“No, they were not the last team in,” Hathaway said on the CBS Selection Show. “Iona they had a very good non-conference strength of schedule — they were 44. I know a lot of people are going to try and compare them to Drexel, Drexel was well over 200. They had some good top 100 wins. Very good basketball team, very good on offense. We think we got that one right, and obviously a lot of people will debate it, and that’s what makes it fun.”
Iona beat Nevada, St. Joe’s, Maryland, and America East tourney winner Vermont non-conference, so that probably helped their case. But looking at their conference schedule, it’s hard for me to believe they had a better resume than, say, Seton Hall.
You see them on the GameDay set analyzing college hoops games every week, so naturally you’re wondering who they all picked for the NCAA Tournament. Shortly after the brackets were released on Selection Sunday, ESPN experts Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale, Digger Phelps, and Hubert Davis began arguing and analyzing the tournament. With less than an hour to digest everything, the crew didn’t have a chance to predict the entire tournament, but they did make their Final Four selections. Those are below.
Jay Bilas went all chalk, picking all four No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four. He has Kentucky beating Syracuse in the finals.
Dick Vitale had a few surprise teams in the Final Four. He picked Kentucky, (2) Missouri, (3) Florida State, and North Carolina to reach the Final Four. He picked Kentucky over North Carolina in the final game.
Digger Phelps also picked Florida State to reach the Final Four. He chose Kentucky, Michigan State, (3) FSU, (2) Kansas. He has Michigan St. over Kansas in the final game.
Hubert Davis‘ picks must be prefaced with the fact that he is partial to his alma mater, North Carolina. Like Bilas, Davis went all chalk picking all four No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four. He has his school North Carolina beating Michigan St. in the final game.
Two analysts have Kentucky winning it all, and two have Michigan St. in the final game. Syracuse seemed to be the least popular top seed among their expert crew. Check back throughout the week to see the NCAA Tournament picks from the LBS staff.