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How to Make Your NCAA Basketball Bracket Predictions - and more March Madness Tournament Fun!

Updated on May 11, 2015

Let's play ball!

The ball is tipped . . . .
The ball is tipped . . . . | Source

It's almost time for March Madness!

When you hear the term “March Madness,” what do you think of? Well, you should be thinking about the annual NCAA College Basketball Tournament. From mid-March to early April, college basketball or talk of college basketball takes over the airways. If you’re like most people, you tend to love or hate March Madness. If you’re apathetic, maybe it’s time to jump in and see what this annual madness is all about.

Do you like basketball?

First, you probably need to like basketball to really get into March Madness. Maybe you don’t know if you like the sport and need to check it out. Even if you don’t watch college or pro or even peewee basketball any other time of year, you might find that you enjoy the hectic pace—and madness, yes—of college basketball in March.

Being a life-long Arkansas Razorback fan, I always follow the tournament. The Hogs, as my team is also called, aren’t always good enough to get selected for the tourney, but, when they do make it, it’s a pretty exciting thing. I’m ready for another national title, one they haven’t been able to get very close to since their dramatic victory over Duke to win it all in 1994.

Since then, with real life often getting in the way, I don’t live or die by a Razorback win or loss. Try as I may, I can’t seem to keep up with the regular season that much anymore. Maybe if they became championship material again, I would, but for now I’ve been a sometimes fan—until the NCAA tourney comes around in the spring. With or without the Razorbacks in it, I look forward to following teams, teams I usually know little or nothing about. For years, I’ve even taken off a few days of work so I can park myself in front of the television. Why do I do this? Can you relate?

What's your opinion?

Are you a fan of March Madness?

See results

What is your favorite thing about March Madness?

My favorite part of the NCAA tournament is the first week of basketball, Thursday through Sunday. In this first extended weekend, all 64 teams play. That’s 32 games in four days, with the first two days having four games at once.

With games being played on several different channels, the viewer can flip back and forth to see what’s happening with each game, landing on the most exciting one at the time. That first few days there are always exciting games, games that are sure to include devastating upsets for top-ranked teams. I love it!

A filled-out bracket
A filled-out bracket | Source

How to fill out NCAA brackets

I always fill out my predictions a few days before the games start. I pick all the games, from the first round to the final game. Now since I don’t often know much about most of the teams, picking the winners is tricky.

I look for the brackets that show each team’s seed (or rank) in the tournament, as well as the record for the season. That gives me some idea of who is decent, although the record itself isn’t all one should go by, as picking some upsets is a must, as they WILL happen.

So, how do I choose? Sometimes I go by the name or mascot that sounds good. Seriously, you ask? Yes, seriously. To prove that method as good as any, some years I have filled out two brackets—one with my true picks of who I thought would win, and one as a wish bracket, as to whom I hoped would win. With all the surprises over the course of the tournament, both brackets proved to be about the same in terms of total wins and losses.

More tips on filling out brackets

So, in summary, here are some tips I use to fill out my NCAA basketball brackets:

· Look over tournament seed and season record.

· Always pick a #13 seed to beat a #4 seed.

· Always pick a #12 seed to beat a #5 seed.

· Don’t pick a #16 seed to beat a #1. Although that would be exciting, it has never happened and will really mess up your bracket if you are wrong.

· When in doubt, pick some traditional powerhouses. Indiana is a traditional basketball town. Some consistently good teams are Duke, Kentucky, or North Carolina, to name a few.

· Choose names you like. Gonzaga comes to mind. Just say it. Gonzaga. I like George Washington, when they’re in there, too. Rooting for them makes me feel patriotic.

· Pick mascots you like, such as Razorbacks. Woo, pig, sooie!

· Pick colors you like.

· Heck, toss a coin. You’re likely to do just as well as the experts.

Have snacks ready!
Have snacks ready! | Source

Other preparations for the games: FOOD

You’ll definitely have to stock the house with easy-to-eat foods, because you won’t have much time to make real meals when the big game—and they’re all big—is on. Foods like pizza and corn dogs will be easy to stick in the oven and check on after a certain amount of time. Just make sure to set the timer so you don’t burn anything. Make sure you have snack foods, whatever your favorites are. Chips and dips, pretzels, peanuts—whatever your heart desires. Here are some popular party appetizers that I make for gatherings throughout the year.

Splurge if you want some fancy sports snack packs, especially if you want to impress your friends. Places like DiBruno will even ship you your heart’s desires. What about an assortment of olives, with specialty cheese, pepperoni, and crackers? Meat and cheese baskets are perfect for sports fans to munch on. You can even order cheese baskets with wine, for the more refined sports fans. While you’re shopping for delivery through DiBruno, check out Mr. Beer, too, if you would like to make your own! You can check out a few other food options as well with these cool coupons for food and beer.

1994 Arkansas Razorbacks NCAA Championship T-Shirt
1994 Arkansas Razorbacks NCAA Championship T-Shirt | Source

Fan Sports Clothing

Get your sports garb on to be a true fanatic—or fan, for short. I think it’s time to move on from my 1994 championship t-shirt. I’ve checked out FansEdge for sports gear. If you watched the 2013 Super Bowl and rooted for the Baltimore Ravens, this is the place to get your Super Bowl Champions t-shirt.

Of course, I’m more interested in updating my Arkansas Razorback wardrobe. Whatever your team in the NCAA tourney, FansEdge has all the teams that could be in the Big Dance—t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, and hats—more than affordable. So get ready to cheer on your favorite NCAA team.

Enjoy March Madness!

As you can see, I enjoy March Madness no matter who is playing and no matter who wins. And it takes some preparations to truly maximize the experience! Easily accessible foods, that special t-shirt, and, most importantly, filling out those tournament brackets.

As the games go on and teams are eliminated, there are fewer games to watch, so I often have withdrawals as I wait for the next game. As I get familiar with the teams, I often find myself rooting for the underdogs regardless of whom I have chosen to win on my brackets. It’s all about the exciting games, the upsets, the triumphs, and the overall madness.

I love the highlights and inspirational song, "One Shining Moment," at the very end of the tournament!


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    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      CC, it's fun whether ya watch b-ball all season or just here at the end. Maybe you'll try it one day! Thanks for commenting!!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      My mom-in-law really gets into this. Me? Not so much. But I have to applaud you: way to go on this hub. So detailed and so well-done that IF I ever decided to get into watching basketball that I'd have a good shot at keeping track. :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Deb, that's exciting! I usually do okay, but they're jut guesses. Yes, 9s and 8s, too! I've just started filling out my brackets. I need to finish tonight! :-)

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      6 years ago from Iowa

      I won my office pool one year and it was really exciting. But usually my picks are pretty bad. I do try to pick a #13 over a #4 and a #12 over a #5, but I always seem to pick the wrong ones. Another tip that does work for me: #9s always seem to beat #8s. Good luck!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      teaches--I'm looking forward to it, too. It's right around the corner!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I am all about March Madness at this time of year. Love basketball and can't wait to see it all played out. Thanks for the food suggestions, it's what makes it perfect!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      jeolmoz2--That's what I love about it too--the unpredictability! Thanks for the comments!

    • jeolmoz2 profile image

      Julio E Olmo Sr 

      6 years ago from Florida, USA

      The only predictable thing about March Madness is…that it’s going to be unpredictable. That’s why everyone loves it!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      JimmyMacket--That's great that your wife can enjoy sports together. Funny, I grew up watching sports with my dad and brothers. My boyfriend doesn't really care for them, but he tolerates and even gets into events like March Madness, or the World Series when my Cardinals are in it!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I agree with the rest of you that women are a great spectator to consider in sports, especially basketball. My wife likes to watch right along with me and it is great to share that in common. Since we watch a lot of sports, to find my games, I started using my DISH Hopper. My DISH friends I work with come over on weekends and watch games. I know when the game is and where to find it because the DISH Game Finder app lets me know the channel, time and if it is playing in my area or not, so I don’t get everyone over there and find out it isn’t on air.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Eddy! Do you get into the tournament at all? Just curious. :-)

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      Original and a wonderful read.

      Thank you so much for sharing and enjoy your day.


    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Jools--I'm glad you got hooked on March Madness! I love baseball, as well. Glad you liked the hub. :-)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Victoria, I watched this the last three years on ESPN over here in the UK and I was completely hooked! And I'm a baseball fan not a basketball fan but I just got carried away with the sheer quality of the play and the razzamatazz of the event. I think it's wonderful that women's sport is taken so seriously in the USA. The UK is getting better but still has a long way to go. I love the way American sport is so organised and the college sport is only a tick away from the professional version isn't it? Great hub, really enjoyed it.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Bill, I'm glad you'll be joining me in my March Madness! Even if I watch very little b-ball all year, I still revel in March Madness. Yes, go Gonzaga. I always have to root for them. haha. :-)

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Alphadogg16--I'm curious about women's perspectives on sports sometimes, too. haha. I'm glad you appreciated this hub! :-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's just about time. One of the great sports spectacles of the year. I love March Madness and Go Gonzaga!

      Good job Vicki!

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Its always nice to see sports from a woman's perspective.... Nice hub...


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