How is March Madness bracket scoring calculated?

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Answered by: David, An Expert in the March Madness Category
When it comes to sports, March Madness is as exciting as it gets. March Madness refers to a college basketball tournament held every year to decide the national champion. It is a 68-team, single elimination tournament that gives smaller schools the chance to compete against storied college basketball powerhouses such as UNC, Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas. There are two ways schools can gain admission to the March Madness bracket. Every conference in the country gets an automatic bid for their conference champion. Most conferences decide their conference champion based on a conference tournament. The Ivy League conference awards the regular season winner the conference championship. The other way a school can gain entry into the tournament is via an "at-large big." A committee looks at the remaining 36 spots and decides which school have a resume that merits entry into the tournament. This is because conferences such as the Big 10 and ACC have more than 1 school that deserves entry; however, only 1 conference champion is awarded per conference. Most would argue that more than 1 school from the Power 5 conferences merits entry into the tournament.

Once the teams are selected, the bracket must be seeded. The brackets are seeded from 1-16 in four separate quadrants. Each quadrant has1 additional game prior to the first round to bring the total to 68. The committees will seed each quadrant based on the quality of each team first. There is a North, East, Midwest, and West section of the bracket every year. The teams will be seeded 1-16 in each quadrant and the extra game will be decided. Once the seeds are decided, each team's geography will be decided. The higher seeded teams are given preference concerning travel. For example, the number 1 seed will be placed in a quadrant close to home to minimize travel. As the higher seed, they deserve "home field advantage." The lower seeded teams are placed close to home if possible. Sometimes, they wind up traveling across the country.

Once the bracket is made, the bracket pools open. People often have debates over which teams shouldn't have gotten in and which teams didn't get in that deserved to make the field. Ultimately, people want to fill out their brackets. Web sites offer large prizes for bracket pool winners. Warren Buffet has even offered $1 billion for the perfect bracket. This has ever been done. When entering a bracket pool, it is important to ask how the March Madness bracket scoring works. This is important for making the bracket picks. Every year, there is a cinderella team with a low seed that advances far in the tournament and ruins everyone's bracket. There is also usually a high seed that crashes out in the first couple of rounds. What are some of the ways the brackets are scored?

First, there is the most straightforward way. Each correct game prediction scores 1 point. This is regardless of the tournament round. This isn't a very common scoring method because it doesn't reward people for picking correct games in later rounds. Most people would argue picking the correct national champion is harder than selecting a game between a 1 and 16 seed. In order to have an opportunity to pick the proper national champion that selection has to make it that far in the tournament.

This is why the most common method is 1 point for a correct pick in the first round, 2 points for a correct pick in the second round, and so on. The points awarded will double per round. This rewards people with more points for correctly having a team advance far in the tournament. Selecting the correct national champion earns 32 points.

Another common method is to award extra points for upsets. In addition to doubling the points earned per round, some bracket pools award extra points for correctly selecting the lower seeded team to beat a higher seeded team. For example, correctly predicting the common "12 over 5" upset would earn an extra 7 points. Selecting a "13 seed" over "4 seed" correctly would earn 9 extra points. It is important to note that a 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed.

Ultimately, it is important to note the March Madness bracket scoring when entering a bracket pool. This can greatly influence the picks that are made. Upsets always happen and some brackets award extra points for predicting them. Remember that Warren Buffet offers a large cash prize for a perfect bracket!

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