Year after year, millions of people meticulously research team after team, trying to find any possible tidbit of information that could give them an edge. Year after year, they fail. Sure, people may win their office bracket pools, or place a lucky bet and strike it rich, but no one can quite get that perfect bracket. It is believed that the longest bracket to survive is 39 games. Only three nights into the tournament, and everyone’s bracket has been busted. In this article, we will identify the teams who we believe have to most potential to be a cinderella team, the most sure-fire teams to bet on, and more.

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Who to bet on

If you’re looking for a 1 seed that can deliver you the most points in the tournament, look no further than UNC. Although they were recently defeated by Duke in the ACC tournament, there shouldn’t be much to worry about with this Carolina team. Roy Williams has consistently shaped his program around players who intend to stay for more than one year. This season, led by senior Luke Maye, and freshman Coby White, the Tar Heels have been strong all season with a couple of hiccups along the way. What makes this Tar Heels team so dangerous down the stretch is their relentless ball movement, and ability to be competitive every night. UNC went 15-2 in their last 17 games, with their only losses coming to Duke and Virginia (both 1 seeds) and that was by a combined 9 points. Also, UNC’s only losses came to Quadrant 1 teams, which means they are not prone to early upsets unlike some of the other teams. Gonzaga, for example, recently left some question marks in their play after losing in the West Coast final to Saint Mary’s (11 seed) while UNC lost by 1 point to Duke. Duke looks to be a very safe bet as well, but if Zion has an off game, or his knee injury flares up, Duke are not the same team. It would seem that a team filled with top recruits could hold its own, but that is not the case as Duke went 3-3 without Zion. Not many people will feel safe betting on Virginia, especially after last year, which capped a series of seasons with disappointing exits for the Cavaliers. Now, UNC may not be the favorite to win it all, but we at Bullboat feel as if they will make a deep run this tourney.

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Popular Upsets

We recommend that everyone picks at least one 12 seed to pull of the upset over a 5 seed. In fact, 12 seeds have a 35% win rate, so they should be expected to pull off an upset or two each year. Since 1985, there have only been 5 times when a 12 seed has failed to knock off a 5 seed. Another popular upset is the 11 seed over the 6 seed. In fact, in 8 of the last 12 matchups, the 11 seed has won. It is generally a good idea to pick an 11 seed to make a run, and just last year the 11 seed Loyola-Chicago made a run all the way to the final four.

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Potential Cinderella Teams

Oregon – The Oregon ducks finished with a scorching hot eight wins on the way to the Pac-12 championship. Despite losing Bol Bol in mid-December, this defensive unit is primed for a postseason run.

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Saint Mary’s – The Saint Mary’s Gaels are coming off a huge upset over Gonzaga. A heavy underdog in the game, they eventually won by 13 in the West Coast tournament final. Saint Mary’s was able to limit one of the best offenses in the country to 47 points, and they may very well make a run deep in this years tournament.

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Keys to Success

  • Going chalk is almost never a good idea. There has only been one time when all 4 number 1 seeds have made the final four, in 2008. Pick some upsets
  • Don’t go wild with the underdogs. It’s march madness, but that doesn’t mean that every game will be an upset. You won’t have much luck with all of the 16 seeds in the final four.
  • Trust your bracket. No one has ever had a perfect bracket and this year will be no different. Once you’ve made your picks there is no need to continue analyzing every game including that one that matchup between the 12 seed and 10 seed. Chances are it won’t even happen so move on. There’s always someone who spends every second of their time worrying about their bracket. Don’t be that guy.
  • There’s nothing wrong with an unorthodox approach to picking teams. No one has ever gotten it right before so why not pick teams based on who has more letters in their names. But, if you are truly trying to show off in your office pool, take our advice into consideration.
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The Bullboat Bracket

We won’t give you our whole bracket, or even our champion, but we will tell you our highest seeded team remaining in each round

  • Round of 64: 16 seed, 4-way tie (obviously)
  • Round of 32: 14 seed, Old Dominion
  • Sweet 16: 12 seed, Oregon
  • Elite 8: 4 seed, Florida State
  • Final 4: 4 seed, Florida State
  • Final: 2 seed, Michigan State