The college basketball season is just starting, but you know that before too long, the runup to March Madness will become very intense and heavily discussed. As you begin to follow the season, look at teams’ trajectories and identities and begin to piece together the puzzle which will help you make the right decisions with your bracket:
Ride The Waves Of Momentum
Here are some statistics from Doc Sports: “Over the last three years the eventual national champions are a combined 18-0 ATS in the NCAA Tournament. The teams that have cut down the nets have combined to go 26-4 ATS the last five years, 51-9 ATS the last 10 years and an astounding 74-16 ATS in NCAA Tournament games the past 15 seasons.”
When teams get hot, there is credible evidence to indicate that they stay hot. The Villanova Wildcats last March were a very good example. They were dominant in the six-game stretch of the NCAA Tournament. They pounded a bunch of teams and never came all that close to losing. They defied the idea that championship teams get at least one huge scare in the NCAA Tournament, if not two. That is important to note. Not all teams have an ugly survival game before they win it all.
Let The Line Tell The Story
In other words, if you look at a betting line and you think to yourself that the line seems crazy or off, make the bet in accordance with your instincts. If there are no injuries or other real reasons to change or devalue your first instinct, go with that first instinct and make the logical bet you think you are in fact making. Stick with what you know and trust.
Don’t Trust Public Betting Inclinations Or Popular Picks
The popular public pick or the darling of the analysts is not necessarily the team which is truly the favorite based on merits and basketball quality. A lot of brand-name schools get talked up, and while some of them regularly advance, it is worth remembering that all four No. 1 seeds made the Final Four only one time, in 2008. Top seeds do thrive at this tournament… but not all of them, and certainly not the ones the public falls in love with. Some underdogs win – you just need to be selective and identify the right situations most likely to give you a mixture of favorites and underdogs in your bracket.
Follow The Results
If you felt midway through the season that a team looks good and is going to be your March pick, but it then slides in February and shows ample weaknesses, don’t cling to the belief that it will rebound in March. Insist on evidence that a team you like is truly doing things which will put it in good position to win in March. If you lack that evidence, you need to ditch that team and reset your expectations.
Study The Smaller Conferences
You can’t ignore the lower-seeded teams. You have to be aware of the matchups against the higher seeds from power conferences. You can’t just read a paragraph or two on what other people say about the team. You need to watch the smaller-conference championship tournament games so that you know at least a little about them. Even better: Watch some small-conference games in January and February, so that you get an even fuller look at these teams.