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When March Madness rolls around it's time for one thing. Brackets. Whether at school or the office or among friends, March Madness brackets are a great way to showcase your college basketball intelligence and/or your amazing luck when it comes to guessing stuff. Nevertheless, it is pivotal to understand what you are looking at when picking teams.
Basically, a bracket features 4 quartiles (East, West, Midwest and South) of 16 teams each. Before the tournament begins, the teams are ranked relative to the rest of the teams in that quartile of the bracket. The 1 rankings are the top team, while 16 rankings are the lowest.
In the first round, the 1st ranked team plays against the 16th, the 2nd against the 15th, and so on. It's usually a safe bet to pick all the 1 seeds over the 16 seedes. Same with the 2 seeded teams over the 15 seeded teams. For this round it's acceptable practice to pick the winners strictly by ranking.
However, keep in mind that upsets (when a lower seed beats a higher seed) happen quite often. Generally there are a few 12 over 5 seeds each year, and occasionally an 11 over 6. This tends to wreak havok on even the best brackets.
As you delve a bit deeper into the Madness, check out the scoring distribution among the players on each team. If a higher ranked team with a superstar player has a poor game this can lead to an upset since the lower ranked team will probably have a handful of decent players who can step up.
These introductory guidelines should have you on your way to a great bracket and March Madness.