The teams have been set and it’s time to start filling out your brackets for the 2016 NCAA Tournament. If you want the best chance of winning your bracket then I recommend using the Vegas odds to your advantage. Basically, let the experts tell you how far to advance each team in your bracket.
Let me know you figure out what that means.
Overall champions: Kansas, Michigan State, or North Carolina. These are the three favorites to win it all. You are going to be better off having one of these teams cutting down the nets in the end. That means the championship game should feature Kansas and either Michigan State or North Carolina. What other team makes the Final Four? It’s a toss up between Oregon and Oklahoma. Personally I would go with Oklahoma.
It’s pretty easy to slot Kansas at least until the Elite 8. The odds say you should take them in the Final Four. Who else has a chance? Villanova and Miami. Cal is likely to make the Sweet 16 too. Wichita State could be a sleeper. I would imagine they are favored over Arizona. Iowa is big favorite over Temple but will be a big dog to the Wildcats.
Oregon and Oklahoma are likely to make the Elite 8. Duke and Texas A&M are the next teams on the list. There is a good chance those teams will all be left in the Sweet 16. VCU might be a 10 but they are favored over Oregon State. St. Joe’s and Baylor are also favored to advance. Texas has a slight edge over UNI, but if you need another upset this could be a ripe spot for one.
North Carolina is a big favorite, but Kentucky isn’t too far behind. If you are in a large pool and need a sleeper title contender the Wildcats would be a good choice. The odds see Providence winning in the first round, Indiana losing to Kentucky in the second, Notre Dame losing to West Virginia, Wisconsin over Pitt and then Xavier over Wisconsin. West Virginia is favored over Xavier so I would advance them to your Elite 8.
The two-seed Michigan State is the popular choice to advance here, followed by Virginia. Butler is favored over Texas Tech, Purdue over Iowa State in the second round, Gonzaga over Seton Hall but then they get beat by Utah, Syracuse upsetting Dayton are how the rest of the bracket plays out.
Does playing the odds give you a better shot at a $1 billion perfect bracket? Probably not. But it does give you the best chance to maximize your point total and beat all of your friends. However, the larger the pool that you are in the more you have to go outside the box in order to take home the first place prize.