March madness bracket predictions: During this year’s NCAA basketball tournament, millions of Americans will fill out a bracket. Why did it quickly become such a remarkable cultural phenomenon, and how did that happen? In 2014, you had a better shot at filling out a perfect Mega Millions ticket, becoming president, or dying from using items made for the right hand. The odds of doing so are one in 9.2 quintillions.
Even if the odds are always stacked against us, that doesn’t dampen the United States of America’s obsession with the NCAA tournament. Each year, over 60 million Americans participate in bracket competitions, with an estimated $1 billion at stake in illegal betting. To efficiently separate the best from the worst, the bracket offers an ingenious solution to an age-old problem. Here we will discuss more March madness bracket predictions in detail.
In truth, the unpredictable nature of the NCAA tournament’s final results undermines the seeming ease of filling out a bracket, mocking the efforts of dedicated fans who study the game all year while rewarding those who choose teams based on their favourite mascots and colours. That a No. 16 seed has never defeated a No. 1 seed is about the only sure thing in the tournament. Four No. 1 seeds have made it to the Final Four only once (in 2008), whereas No. 10 seeds have never done it, and No. 11 seeds have made it there three times.
Contrary to popular belief, the bracket’s inherent instability is one of its main selling points. Ken Pomeroy, the founder of the college basketball website kenpom, says, “Somethings seem so apparent, like the assumption these higher seeds should beat lower seeds all the time, but that doesn’t happen, and that results in all sorts of turmoil.
It’s our nature to try to foretell the future, even if it’s fraught with difficulty, as the author puts it. People didn’t fill out brackets forty years ago because picking a champion in the NCAA tournament was simple (spell it with me: U-C-L-A). Only when the field was increased to 64 teams and upsets became more common the NCAA bracket was widely followed outside college sports.
A Staten Island bar started the first NCAA bracket pool in 1977. In that year’s winner-take-all pool, 88 participants each paid $10 to fill out a bracket. In 2006, 150,000 people competed for more than $1.5 million in prizes at the same pub. The bar’s pool was held indefinitely after the federal government got wind of the massive amount of cash changing hands. While the rise of the NCAA tournament from the mid-1970s to the present day is a matter of rhetoric, the tournament’s history provides a concrete example of this rise.
March madness bracket predictions:
There were initially eight separate groups. In 1939, the first tournament was held, but it wasn’t the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Instead, it was organized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and featured eight teams divided into two brackets. The National Association of Coaches lost money, and the University of Oregon won (for the first and only time). Overall, 15,025 people saw the opening tournament games. More than 800,000 people attended last year’s tournament, for context. This is all to say that the American public did not always embrace The Big Dance.
After the initial tournament, the NCAA took over and progressively increased the number of teams, but this growth needed to be met with increased enthusiasm from the general public. In the 1950s, there were 23 teams in the tournament and nine byes, making bracket filling much more complicated than it is now, according to March madness bracket predictions.
Not only that but there are other reasons nobody cared to fill out the brackets. As late as the 1970s, anyone with even a passing familiarity with college basketball could correctly pick the champion of the March madness bracket predictions. The UCLA Bruins dominated the event, capturing ten titles in twelve years, beginning in 1964.
For Ken Rappoport, co-author of The Big Dance:
The Story of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, “the domination of the Bruins was so tremendous that no one was worrying about seeding or anything,” because UCLA always won the tournament regardless of where other teams were seeded. They weren’t interested in making March madness bracket predictions because UCLA was a heavy favourite.
Barry Wilner, Rappoport’s co-author, chimes in: “People become tired of the same team winning, and of the top players going to that school and continuing the winning.” After John Wooden left UCLA, everything shifted.
Wooden stepped down as tournament director in 1975, but there were other significant shakeups. With 32 teams participating, the bracket was more balanced and easier to navigate that year. In 1979, four years later, Larry Byrd’s Indiana State squad faced off against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State squad in the championship game. It was a turning point, and many believe it was responsible for the tournament’s meteoric rise to fame. People started paying attention to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time in years.
“Their game was a watershed moment for college basketball, drawing widespread attention and setting up two teams that would become fierce rivals in the NBA. There was significant national interest in that match, “So claims Rappoport.”Before then, the NCAA held many tournaments that were never broadcast on Television. Not all of the championship games were broadcast in real-time; in fact, one of them was shown through a tape delay. More people started paying attention to the competition in the 1980s.
In 1985, the event increased to 64 teams, becoming a month-long basketball feast. The expansion to 64 teams in 1985 was a pivotal year. That opened the door for the underdogs Rappoport claims. As a result, “there was a lot of excitement, a lot of upsets, and that helped fuel the brackets.
“The fan brackets are a new addition to the long-running NCAA tournament. They’ve been widely used for nearly twenty years. Still, their popularity skyrocketed in the last twelve, “explains Wilner.” Television played a significant role in the spread of brackets. The widespread adoption of terms like “bracketology” and “Bracket Buster Weekend” by basketball fans is mainly attributable to ESPN. Other media outlets repeated the use of these terms.
There is now an entire industry dedicated to helping people fill out the perfect NCAA bracket, from data analysis companies to online tutorials. Number crunchers and mathematics professors preach the beauty of statistics as the key to winning the bracket game. The focus of others is on spotting patterns elsewhere. Using school colours as an indicator, for instance, you’d do well to lean toward the blue end of the colour wheel; in the last ten years, just one champion didn’t have some form of blue in their school colours.
A cultural phenomenon has emerged alongside the NCAA tournament. March madness bracket predictions: The Wire dubbed March the “bracket-best month of the year” and released competing brackets weekly in a “tournament of everything.” The federal government is also participating in the frenzy by placing a wager on a bracket in the hopes that it will increase the popularity of the Affordable Care Act among millennials. You can only take a single step on the web if you bump up against a bracket of some description.
But as Wilner points out, there’s more to March madness bracket predictions than just the thrill of victory; the tournament also sparks a genuine interest in a world that, for most of the year, might seem inaccessible to the average person. The act of filling out a bracket, he says, “gives viewers a rooting interest in games,” which “adds to the passion and the loyalty to the tournament.