March madness tips and tricks for your bracket

Jackson Bartol, Reporter

Bracketology is the study of NCAA tournament brackets. Many think they are experts in this field but nobody can predict the madness of March. I don’t have a Ph. D. in statistics and data analysis, but I do watch and love college basketball so here are some of my sleeper picks to help you in your bracket.
At least one top-4 seed has lost in the first round in 13 of the past 14 tournaments. My pick to follow this trend this year is No. 12 Kent State beating No. 4 Indiana. The Hoosiers are coming off a loss in the Big 10 tournament to Penn State. Indiana has an overall record of 22-11, but are 4-4 in their last eight outings. Kent State on the other hand has been very hot to end the season winning nine out of their last 10 games. This along with a turnover ratio of +4.3 is what I believe is a recipe for an upset.
Another team that could follow the No. 13 over No. upset is Furman over Virginia. Furman is another team that can score the ball, averaging 82.1 points per game. Furman however, lacks skill on the defensive end. I do not see that as being a problem in this matchup due to Virginia’s slow pace. Virginia ranks 361 out of 363 in tempo. Virginia’s slow pace will cover up Furman’s lack of defense making this a potential upset.
All four No. 2 seeds have reached the Sweet 16 just twice in the past 25 tournaments, and my pick for the first No. 2 seed out is Missouri over Arizona in the round of 32. Missouri has all the firepower to pull off an upset and have proven they could do it multiple times this season with wins over Tennessee and Kentucky. Another statistic about Missouri that I like is the “killshot” statistic. This statistic is how often a team goes on a double digit scoring run. These scoring runs can quickly change the outcome of a game and Missouri is tied for seventh most “killshots” in all of Division 1.
At least one No. 12 seed has defeated a No. 5 seed in 32 of 37 tournaments. No. 12 Charleston over No. 5 San Diego State. The Cougars have an overall record of 31-3 and average 80.8 points per game. Their ability to score the ball will cause issues for San Diego State. San Diego State also has not won a tournament game in their last four appearances. Their lack of tournament success and Charleston’s ability to score is enough for me to pick the upset.

Here are some other little facts to help pick your bracket:
The one seed Kansas Jayhawks have a chance to repeat as champions, but that has only happened twice in the last 50 years.
There has only been one Final Four in which all four top seeds made it so it’s okay to pick some upsets.
The overall No. 1 seed has not won the tournament in over 10 years, so Alabama might not be your best pick.
Good luck to all. Remember, the odds to have a perfect bracket according to the NCAA is 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. It has never happened yet and probably never will. Take chances, pick some upsets and don’t worry if you are wrong.