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Filling out your March Madness bracket and winning your office pool

Updated on September 16, 2021

Scoring System

You MUST understand the scoring system that your pool is using. The scoring is a huge factor in determining your selections, especially when you are struggling to pick winners.

  • If it is just one point per correct winner, then just pick your winners and hope for the best. This is the simplest scoring system, but also the most boring. When in doubt, pick the favorite. Risky selections will only get you further behind the rest of the entries.
  • Many leagues will give you two points if you pick a big underdog. Anytime you feel that the favorite is vulnerable is a good time to go against them. Even if you think the favorite has a 60% chance of winning, that bonus point on the underdog is worth going after. The exception would be if you have that favorite winning games beyond this particular round. Otherwise, go for the better payoff to separate yourself from the field.
  • If you get points equal to the seed number, meaning 10 pts each time you have a 10 seed to win, then picking underdogs to win a few games can pay monstrous dividends in the long run. Remember..we are trying to WIN, not finish in a 10 way tie where it comes down to a tiebreaker.
  • If points get higher as the rounds advance, such as 2 pts for a 2nd round win, 3 pts for a 3rd round winner, etc...then follow your instincts when making selections. Many of the pools with this scoring system will come down to who has the most correct final four teams remaining. I believe strongly in going for victory. It's better to finish in 100th place than 10th if you were making an effort to take the big prize !


It's all about winning !

* We are trying to WIN the pool, not simply compete. You are not going to win if you pick all of the favorites and have the same bracket as everyone else.

* Find a team that has been hot lately, such as coming into the tournament on a win streak or has been on the verge of knocking off some highly ranked teams. Perhaps they are a 7 - 10 seed and you are afraid of getting yourself behind by taking a chance on them. Well, taking chances is how you win your pool.

* There are Cinderella stories every single year during March Madness. Don't be afraid to try on the slipper !

NCAA villain poll

Which of these teams do you find yourself rooting against whenever they play ?

See results

More useful tips

  • 12 seeds and 10 seeds do very well each year in the tournament. If you find one of those that you really like, take a shot and go for the glory. Be the person who gets to stand by the water cooler and talk about their huge underdog prediction.
  • The major conferences (Big 10, ACC, Big East) often put several teams into the tournament. You may hear the media talking about how one or all of the "major" conferences is struggling each year. Remember..when a conference puts 6 teams in, they cannot all win. When it's time for the Final Four, the large conferences are well-represented. You are advised to have the powerful conferences dominating your Elite Eight and Final Four selections.


  • Don't fall in love with a team due to past success. Often, a typically powerful team, such as Duke or North Carolina, may make the tournament but have a team filled with freshman and sophomores. A team that is filled with experienced players will usually be the better choice.
  • You live by the 3, you die by the 3. The high-scoring teams that shoot tons of three-pointers will often knock off some top seeds early in the tournament. However, the further along they advance, the defenses get stiffer and the long shots don't seem to fall as much. Experienced teams with a superstar or strong guard play are almost always going to find a way to beat the teams that depend on their outside shots to win.


Champions since 2000

2013 --- Louisville (35-5)

2012 --- Kentucky (38-2)

2011 --- Connecticut (32-9)

2010 --- Duke (35-5).

2009 --- North Carolina (34-4)

2008 --- Kansas (37-3)

2007 --- Florida (35-5)

2006 --- Florida (33-6)

2005 --- North Carolina (33-4)

2004 --- Connecticut (33-6)

2003 --- Syracuse (30-5)

2002 --- Maryland (32-4)

2001 --- Duke (35-4)

2000 --- Michigan State (32-7)





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