Tips for Mastering your Bracket

This is the most exciting time of the college basketball season and the most anticipated and watched event in sports next to the Super Bowl.

I have correctly pegged 2 of the 4 teams who made it to the FINAL FOUR in 12 out of 14 years.

This year I am giving you some of my top advice on what it takes to be a Champion.

Of course, you can never foresee injuries, suspensions, foul trouble, poor officiating, etc. throughout the big dance. Everyone likes underdogs and Cinderella teams but you have to look at the team records, their strengths and the conferences that they play in. There is usually one team that surprises everyone but fails to win it in the end, such as Utah in 1998 vs. Kentucky and Butler coming up short in 2010 and 2011.

Since 1998, the Championship team has not been seeded lower than a #4 and in 1997 Arizona was a #4 seed and won it all.

As you can see in the past 22 tournaments, the top teams usually go all the way. Digging even deeper you have to go back to 1988 when a #6 seed Kansas team coached by Larry Brown won it all, but things were different back then as players didn’t bolt to the NBA after one season in college. As much as I like to select a solid #4 or #5 to go all the way, it’s not a smart idea. 21 of the last 24 National Champs have been a #1 or #2 seed.  Villanova won it as a #1 seed.

 Before I start to bore you with all of my numbers and trends, let me share some of my top tips for picking your brackets.

Great teams do not lose more than 7 games in a season, so if a team has 8 or more losses, stay away from them.

Also, each of the past 25 champs were from one of the major 6 conferences. 

The teams in these conferences play the toughest games night in and night out on a regular basis and have been more battle tested. Mid majors/small schools tend to make it to the Sweet 16 or Elite 8, but not to the FINAL FOUR.  Illinois-Chicago was a #11 a few years ago and did make it to the FINAL FOUR but lost to Michigan.  

So, look at the teams who lost 7 or fewer games this season, play in a major conference, and are seeded #3 or better this year, you can narrow down your Final Four selections from this list of 11 teams.  Highlighted are the 4 teams I like to make it to the FINAL FOUR.

GONZAGA 

Duke

KENTUCKY

ARIZONA

Purdue

Kansas

AUBURN

Wisconsin

Villanova

Tennessee

Baylor

From here, I would look at how these teams faired on neutral courts and on the road during their season. It is also important to consider each team’s starting guards, their defensive strength, team rebounding, experience, coaching, and if they can make their foul shots. Teams who take over 35% of their shots from 3-pt land also do not fair well.

From my 24 years of experience, I offer you my professional advice and helpful tips. My hope is that this article has fed your excitement for the tournament while giving you a competitive edge to turn some heads in your company or online pools!  Enjoy the tournament and remember, pick with your head, not with your heart!

My Sleeper picks to turn a few heads and win a few games and maybe get to the SWEET 16 or ELITE 8 are: ST MARYS and UCONN and you can get some good Vegas Odds on those.

Sean Higg’s MLB Win Total Thoughts

MikeTrout

Another season of baseball is upon us. Here are my thoughts on the win/loss projections.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles – OVER 82.5 – These guys surprised some last year. I know they lost a big bat in Cruz, but they have enough to win here. I think they could win the East. The pitching not sexy, but very solid. Try not to fall in love with names. Look at results. Steve Pearce could be a dark-horse MVP contender.

AL Central

Cleveland Indians – OVER 83.5 – I like this bunch. I think they are winning the central. People can love on Detroit all they want. They can be an Under (84.5) team in my eyes. The rotation is the best in the central.

AL West

Oakland A’s – OVER 80.5 – 88, 96, 94 – Those are the win totals the last 3 years for Oakland. I know they lost some guys, but I am not betting against Billy Beane. And neither should you.

Seattle Mariners – OVER 86.5 – Another team I will ride with this rotation. They added Cano last year, and bring in some protection with HR basher Nelson Cruz. But it is all about King Felix and the princes behind him.

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies – UNDER 68.5 – What is there to say? I think this is the worse team in all of baseball. Hamels will be gone by the All-Star break.

NL Central

Pittsburgh Pirates – OVER 83.5 – Like this bunch. I think the Cards as always will be tough. But we are getting good value here. 88-94-79. Last 3 years of Pitt baseball. I am looking at Gerritt Cole to make a huge jump. The OF can be very good.

NL West

Colorado Rockies – UNDER 71.5 – So I do like some of their bats. That being said, these guys are going to lose games 8-7 because the pitching staff is atrocious. Won’t be shocked to see some guys dealt by the end of June.

Others to look at

Under NY Yankees 81.5

Over Toronto Blue Jays 82.5

Under Detroit Tigers 84.5

Under Texas Rangers 75.5

Over Miami Marlins 81.5

Under Cincinnati Reds 77.5

Over Arizona Diamondbacks 71.5

Last season I went 235-240-11 for a profit of +1311. If you like daily underdog action, then I am the MLB capper you have been looking for.