March Madness Bracket Advice: Don’t Let Chalk Be Your Friend

Written By Eli Hershkovich on March 14, 2022 - Last Updated on March 15, 2022
Bracket Advice

Before carving out your March Madness bracket and submitting it to compete against your peers, there are important factors to consider in order to differentiate yours from the rest of the pack. Let’s dive into some bracket advice.

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Bracket Advice

Why Upsets Are Key

“Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas and Baylor. They’re all going to the Final Four. Trust me!”

We all have those friends who expect all of the No. 1 seeds to advance far in the NCAA tournament. But that isn’t the correct approach if you’re trying to profit off your bracket.

Not only are upsets vital in the Round of 64, but determining the right ones will also help you steer away from Final Four, title game and national champion selections that could be ousted early.

Essentially, choosing chalk will not move you up the leaderboard in large contests, as the majority of entries will have the same.

Look For At Least One Dark Horse Final Four Team

On top of that, selecting a longshot or two to make a run could be the difference in winning a bracket pool. The deeper we get into March Madness, the more points your correct picks will rack up.

As much as I despised UCLA’s trip to the Final Four last season, considering the Bruins relied on truckloads of shooting luck in the process, Mike Cronin’s team is a prime example of that.

Below are a list of programs that were No. 5 seeds or higher and earned a trip to the Final Four this century:

  • 2021: No. 11 UCLA
  • 2019: No. 5 Auburn
  • 2018: No. 11 Loyola-Chicago
  • 2017: No. 7 South Carolina
  • 2016: No. 10 Syracuse
  • 2015: No. 7 Michigan State
  • 2014: No. 7 UConn (winner); No. 8 Kentucky (runner-up)
  • 2013: No. 9 Wichita State
  • 2011: No. 8 Butler (runner-up); No. 11 VCU
  • 2010: No. 5 MSU; No. 5 Butler (runner-up)
  • 2006: No. 11 George Mason
  • 2005: No. 5 MSU
  • 2002: No. 5 Indiana
  • 2000: No. 5 Florida (runner-up); No. 8 North Carolina; No. 8 Wisconsin

There are no typos. In the last 21 NCAA tournaments, two-thirds of them had at least one Final Four team with a 5-seed or lower, including multiple in four brackets.

So which ones are worth choosing this year? Follow TheLines on Twitter for all of our bracket advice and picks.

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Eli Hershkovich Avatar
Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

View all posts by Eli Hershkovich