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NCAA

How do I fill out a March Madness bracket?

Let the madness begin! The 68 teams participating in March Madness have been announced and it’s time to start filling out those brackets with your picks.

Update:

The 2022 NCAA basketball tournament is upon us and that means it’s time to start filling out those brackets! If you are still confused about how it all works, take a look at our March Madness for Dummies to help you out. Otherwise, get your groups together and start making your predictions.

How do I fill out my March Madness bracket?

The First Four takes place March 15 and 16, leaving you with the 64 teams who will be in your bracket. They will be divided into four regions - West, Midwest, East, and South. The first round teams have already been decided by the NCAA selection committee. For a list of all participating teams and where they rank, check here.

If you don't have yours yet, here is a printable bracket from CBS Sports with the 64 teams.

In the first round of the tournament, the best teams play the worst teams in each region. For example, the no.1 seed plays the no.16 seed, the no.2 seed plays the no.15 seed, and so on. The March Madness tournament is a single-elimination bracket, so if a team loses, they’re out.

To fill out the bracket, choose which team you think will win in each round and write their name on the next matchup line.

A tip: In the first round, choose at least one no.12 seed team to advance. At least one no.12 seed has advanced in 31 out of the last 36 tournaments. This year, those teams at no.12 are New Mexico State, UAB, Richmond, and then whichever team wins the First Four game between Indiana and Wyoming.

After you’ve filled out the first round, you just repeat the process for the next rounds, writing the names of the teams you think will advance of those you’ve chosen until you get to the final NCAA championship game. In the final, you can make a prediction about the score to break any potential ties within your group.

Another tip: Pick one of the No.1 seeds as your champion. It’s extremely rare that at least one of the No.1 seeds doesn’t make it to the final (it’s happened only twice, ever). In the last nine championships, seven have been won by No.1 seeds.

How does scoring work in a March Madness bracket?

Typically, the way scoring works is that you will earn one point for every prediction you get correct in the first round, two for every correct prediction in the second, four for every one in the Sweet 16 round, eight for every one in the Elite Eight, 16 points for any correction predictions in the Final Four, and finally 32 points if you correctly chose the NCAA champion. This way, the better you predict further down the line, the more weight your score carries. The First Four are not typically counted, so scoring won’t begin until the start of round one, so no need to worry about choosing the First Four play-in games. Once the 64 teams are on the board, that’s when the fun begins.

March Madness 2022 Schedule

First Four: March 15 and 16

Round 1: March 17 and 18

Round 2: March 19 and 20

Sweet 16: March 24 and 25

Elite Eight: March 26 and 27

Final Four: April 2

NCAA National Championship: April 4

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