Once basketball, football, tennis and other sports seasons hit the calendar, many people go manic over predictions as to which team will emerge the season champion – yup, even the White House is in on the game!
If you’re the type of person who can’t exactly call himself sports-minded, and you’ve always felt a little left out of office conversations whenever names of basketball teams come up, well, who says you can’t do something to change this situation? You can start off by knowing how to make tournament bracket picks. Here are some ways to get started:
1. Learn more about the sport. Okay, so there aren’t exactly any shortcuts. However, you don’t exactly need encyclopedic knowledge on this matter. All it takes is to keep listening whenever your companions start talking about the latest game. Mentally note down the team names that keep coming up. What does everyone think about these teams? Are the reviews mostly negative or positive?
Admittedly, conversations might go a little too fast for you at first, and all that sports lingo may be too complicated for you. That’s where additional research comes in. After you’ve noted the sports teams that typically come up during conversations, look them up in the Internet. Find out more about their game stats, their performance for the past game seasons, their key players. Find out information as to which seeds are the number one for each region (seeds refer to team rankings), and which teams usually end up in the Sweet Sixteen or the Final Four. Read up also on popular dark horse teams, which you could pick as upsets. Read up also about double elimination games. Websites you could visit include (for basketball) teamrankings.com, and sports.espn.go.com.
As you absorb more and more sports lingo and learn more information about the games, you’ll be better able to follow the office sports conversation. The point here is to gain enough fundamental knowledge on sports teams to be able to ask intelligent and relevant questions about your colleagues’ tournament picks. Their opinions would be able to help you formulate your own tournament bracket picks.
2. Read up on the process. Apart from knowing how to pick a team, it’s also important that you get some background on the tournament process. For college basketball, for example, here are some basic concepts that you would need to know: there are four regions, which are the East, West, Midwest and South. Each region has 16 teams; know that each team displays its number before its team name, and the lower its number the higher its ranking is (for example, 4 Notre Dame). Typically, especially if you’re just starting, you could choose the top seeded teams to be at the top four, but then statistically this doesn’t happen too often. Read up on trends and history of upsets.
3. Read up on professional sports predictions. There are many available resources over the Internet that can help you make predictions on team wins. One important pointer to consider would be the team’s seeds: the lower the seed, the higher its chances of winning are (seeding is based on previous game stats). You could choose to download tournament software to help you on your predictions, or visit websites such as sportsgambling.about.com.
4. Look up brackets. You can look at bracket team sheets available at different sites online, such as cbssports.com; and madness.nbcsports.com. Looking at these brackets will give you a visual aid on how tournament processes work. There are also available blank brackets and printable brackets that will help you easily jot down your tournament picks for that season. Visit josephsworld.com; this is a website that offers a tournament bracket creator so you can easily construct a customized tournament bracket for you.
5. Trust your instincts. Though it’s always good to find out what the professionals say, in the end, it will all depend on you to make your tournament bracket picks. So trust your instincts (founded on knowledge of teams and their performance), and go for the win!
These are just some of the pointers you could start with to help you make tournament bracket picks. Do expect that you won’t exactly have superb predictions at the onset, but as time goes on, you may just be amazed at your transformation from a sports nobody to an absolute sport genius! Good luck!