The college basketball season is in full swing, bettors and fans alike are starting to gear up for this year's edition of March Madness starring the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
March Madness betting isn't like wagering on other sports or even on the college basketball regular season. The stakes are higher, the matchups are difficult to call, and the bracket is hard to predict. Each program's season is on the line in the postseason, beginning with one-and-done conference tournaments and moving into the NCAA Tournament, which hosts the 68 teams that qualify out of over 350 Division I basketball schools.
Legal sports betting is still relatively new in this country and every sports season means more and more people being introduced to space. For those that may be novices when it comes to March Madness betting or college basketball in general, we are here to help educate you on one of the most exciting times of the year for any sports fan.
Let's get to some important questions that are commonly asked as the NCAA Tournament approaches and it becomes time for March Madness predictions.
How Does March Madness Work?
March Madness is a reference to the several-week period that spans parts of March and early April when the NCAA Tournament is played and the college basketball season reaches its peak and a champion is crowned.
The term itself is used to encapsulate the unpredictable drama that unfolds throughout the month-long postseason from the second week of March to early April. The excitement begins with conference championships and continues through Selection Sunday and into the main event that is the NCAA Tournament.
Most associate March Madness with just the NCAA Tournament, but the truth is that the hysteria begins weeks before when teams are competing for a chance to be in the field of 68 during conference tournaments.
While many big-name schools have tickets punched to the big dance and are merely playing for better seeding at this point, hundreds of smaller programs are looking to make a postseason run during their conference tournament. In total, 32 bids are handed out to conference champions with the other 36 being 'at-large' berths into the main event of March Madness.
How To Score March Madness Brackets
March Madness bracket scoring may vary depending on the pool but typically points for each correct pick are awarded in the following manner:
- One point for the round of 64
- Two points for the round of 32
- Four points for the Sweet 16
- Eight points for the Elite 8
- 16 points for the Final Four
- 32 Points for the NCAA Championship
Whether you make your NCAA bracket predictions online or fill out your selections in-person, it's good to be aware of how to score an online March Madness bracket and which rounds are actually the most important.
It's pretty obvious by the scoring system that selecting Final Four teams and the champion is most lucrative in terms of points, but that isn't where manty bracket pools are won. By the time you reach the final few games, there are usually multiple people with the same remaining teams and champion, since those programs are usually among the best and in the country and have some popularity.
For this reason, the first couple of rounds are where many pools can be won because even though each win is worth a bit less, there are more chances to separate yourself from other participants with so many games remaining.
How Many Upsets On Average In March Madness?
On average, there have been nine upsets in the first round of the NCAA tournament over the past five years. Among those, an average of over five teams seeded No. 11 to No. 16 advance to the second round in every tournament (5.2 per year since 2015).
Questions about upsets are going to be quite common for people to ask when they begin making 2020 March Madness bracket predictions. After all, it's good to know how likely it is that one will occur. Whether you're wondering 'how many upsets are there in the first round on average?' or 'What year had the most upsets in March Madness?', we've got some answers.
In total, there are 32 first-round contests in every tournament, which means more than a quarter of them (28.1 percent) have resulted in a lower seed defeating a higher seed in the opening game.
If we're talking about which bracket had the most upsets in history, the 2016 NCAA Tournament comes in first with 13, including 10 double-digit seeds advancing to the next round. When it comes to the late rounds, upsets are still common even though there aren't quite as many.
Has Anyone Had A Perfect March Madness Bracket?
No, there has never been a perfect March Madness bracket throughout the entire tournament. In fact, there is no verifiable bracket that has even made it unblemished through the third round, although there have been impressive runs in history.
There are 63 total games in the NCAA Tournament and the furthest anyone has gotten is the first 49 correct. That record belongs to neuropsychologist and basketball fan Gregg Nigl, who maintained a perfect bracket into the second game of the Sweet 16 in 2019. According to the NCAA, there was no previous record of any bracket remaining perfect all the way to the Sweet 16 until Nigl accomplished the feat.
Plenty of people have posed the question: what are the odds of a perfect March Madness bracket? And as you can imagine, they aren't very good at approximately 1 in 9.2 quintillion. That's a 19 digit number, in case you were wondering.
Has a Number 16 Ever Beaten a 1?
Yes, a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed. In March 2018, a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the very first time when the UMBC Retrievers shocked the Virginia Cavaliers in the opening round for perhaps the most stunning upsets in the history of college basketball.
Despite being 22-point underdogs, UMBC erupted for 53 second-half points in an eventual 74-54 win over the top-seeded Cavaliers, which entered the NCAA Tournament a 31-1 record after winning the ACC regular-season and conference tournament titles.
If you're interested in futures odds and looking for some NCAA Tournament betting picks at this point in the season, don't hesitate to visit our 2020 March Madness predictions page! And for all the information you need to know about wagering on college hoops, check out our NCAA basketball betting guide!