Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from TeamRankings.com, a site that has provided data-driven bracket tools and analysis since 2004. They also offer premium bracket picks.
When it comes to picking a bracket, there are no golden rules. Every tournament, every team, and every potential path to the Sweet 16 is different.
Even the usually-smart bracket advice of picking undervalued teams (e.g., teams that have a better chance to make the Sweet 16 than the public is giving them, based on pick popularity data from nationwide bracket contests) isn’t all that easy in practice.
For example, it’s simple enough to identify undervalued teams using win odds and pick popularity data. However, it’s a whole lot harder to figure out how many of those value picks you should make, or exactly where in your bracket you should make them.
Balancing Risk vs. Reward In Your Bracket
One of the key goals of smart bracket strategy is to make sure that the risk/reward profile of your bracket as a whole makes sense for your specific pool’s characteristics (e.g. its scoring system, size, and other factors). Make too many value-driven picks in a small pool, for instance, and you may end up with a bracket that is too risky overall, thus lowering your odds to win.