Category Archives: Bracket Tips

Top Final Four Contenders From the “Wide Open” South Region

Win your bracket pool by using simulation results from BracketResearch.com’s computer model that amazingly predicts NCAA Tournament outcomes.

The South Region is the most competitive this year. By that, I mean there is only a 42% chance one of the top 2 seeds will win the region – the lowest chance of any region. There is a 95% chance the winner will be one of nine teams…

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Think Twice Before Considering These Teams for a Final Four Run

Correctly picking the champ is the most important part of winning any bracket competition. Hitting on a Final Four pick or two is also key to having a top scoring NCAA Tournament bracket. Identifying teams that don’t measure up in some way to past Final Four teams can help. Here’s a thread where I list 18 teams (seeded 3-11) that should at least think twice about before making them our Final Four picks.

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Only The Best Conferences Produce NCAA Tournament Champs

We already know teams from mid-major conferences don’t win the NCAA Tournament. More than that, though, we can set a minimum conference strength for a team to have a shot at winning it all.

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Final Four Teams Win Away From Home

Loyola-Chicago won 78% of their games away from home before an epic Final Four run in 2018

Winning Away From Home

So your team is pretty good this year.  Congrats.  It’s still February and realistically there are 20 or so CBB squads out there that have a shot at making a run.  Maybe even a deep run, a Cinderella run.  So, what is the one thing that your team needs to be paying attention to right now?  Indeed, what is one of the primary historical key indicators that if your team achieves now, you can confidently stand around that watercooler one month out and say, “Seriously, we have a shot to not only go to the Elite Eight, but this is the year we are a Final Four team!”

It’s simpler than you might think, and while it should be noted that by itself this indicator is not a fool proof identifier, it is incredibly common among Final Four participants.  It is simply this:

Final Four teams win on the road all season long. 

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Computer Model Composite – NCAA Bracket Prediction Probabilities for Every Team

I’ve gathered bracket probabilities from other websites to compare with my model’s results. Here are the numbers from those models as well as a composite (average of all the models) probability for every team reaching each round. Apologies to the other play-in teams, but I assumed Michigan State, Wichita State, Mt St Mary’s, and Appalachian State win their First Four games.

I’ll show the numbers in a few different looks – Champs, First Round Upsets, Bracket Busters, Cinderellas, Busts, Dark Horse Final Four, and a composite for All Teams/All Rounds – get your scrolling fingers ready!

IMPORTANT NOTE: the probabilities for 14-Colgate are significantly inflated by the shocking numbers the model from The Power Rank gives them.

I was able to find predictions at the following websites:

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Most Likely Busts – Top-Seeded Early Exits – 2021

An early exit for a top seed is losing in the first weekend of the tournament, or in other words failing to reach the Sweet 16. 

Only 67% of 1-3 seeds reach the Sweet 16, so this happens often enough that you should at least consider it while making your picks.  This year, we have 2 top-seeded teams that are likely not going to survive the first weekend (greater than 50% chance). Here are the most likely top-seeded teams to make an early exit. 

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Dark Horse Final Four Teams – 2021

A dark horse Final Four team is a 5+ seed that reaches the Final Four

Even though 83% of all Final Four teams have been seeded 1-4, 9 of the last 10 tournaments have had at least 1 5+ seed in the Final Four. The following teams have the best chances among this year’s “longshots.”

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Most Likely Bracket Busters – 2021

Bracket Buster definition:  a 6+ seeded team that reaches the Elite 8

Most bracket fillers conservatively stick to the highest seeds when picking their Elite 8 teams, and rightly so – about 81% of all Elite 8 teams were 1-5 seeds.  So when a 6+ seed reaches the Elite 8, most people’s brackets are busted. 

Last tournament was the only one in the last 10 that did not have a bracket buster. Here are this year’s most likely Bracket Busters (teams with at least 10% chance):

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Most Likely Cinderellas – 2021

Let’s call a Cinderella team a double-digit seed that reaches the Sweet 16. This means they would pull of at least one but probably two upsets in the first weekend and have glory and praise heaped upon them for the next week before they play in the Sweet 16.  Almost every year, we see at least one Cinderella. Only the 1995 and 2007 tournaments didn’t have one. Last year there was one – the one that I predicted had the best chance – 12-seed Oregon.

Correctly identify a Cinderella team in your bracket, and you’ll not only look like a genius, but also increase your chances of winning your bracket pool.  Here are this year’s most likely Cinderellas (i.e. teams with at least 10% chance or reaching the Sweet 16):

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Most Likely First Round Upsets 2021

It sure is fun to correctly pick the inevitable First Round upsets. This year, both 11-Syracuse and 10-Rutgers are favorites to win their First Round games.

Unfortunately, the prospect of a 12-5 upset isn’t as high as it usually is. We can normally count on at least one. In 2019, we had three and the fourth 12-seed only lost by one! This year, it’s basically a 50/50 chance that we’ll have any.

Here are the double-digit teams with at least a 20% chance to win their First Round game:

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