Win big on 2022 NCAA bracket predictions with these tips from celebrities & sports analysts, along with key college basketball terms
Whether you’re cheering on your alma mater, a team favorite, or just want to slam dunk your friends with a winning prediction, here’s the 101 in Bracketology from celebrities and top sports analysts:
3 Key Factors
Before we dive into our celebrity how-to’s for Bracketology, let’s call a time out and go over some important factors to consider for sports fans that want to score big on 2022 NCAA March Madness bracket predictions.
- Cinderella – What legends are made of, Cinderella is when a team plays better than expected. The most dramatic Cinderella story was the 1985 tournament when the 8th seeded Villanova Wildcats upset the heavily favored Georgetown to win the title. Some sports analysts believe that taking risks is a must for the best bracket predictions – but within reason. Basketball expert Nick Domingo recommends choosing at least one Cinderella that you really believe in, such as a favorite team or alma mater.
- Risk – Since the NCAA March Madness tournament started in 1939, the four top seeds have made the Final Four together only once. If the long history of the NCAA men’s college basketball is any indication, picking only the highest ranking teams doesn’t typically yield the best odds. Consequently, never taking a risk with your bracket predictions isn’t likely to pay off.
- Logic – Pick the last four teams of your bracket strategically. In other words, choose with your head, not your heart. For example, a 15-seeded team will probably not make the Final Four, even though it’s your favorite team and alma mater.
NCAA College Basketball Terms
For a quick point of reference, these important basketball terms relating to the NCAA March Madness tournament will help guide you when filling out your bracket predictions for 2022.
- At-large bid – A team that didn’t win their conference tournament but played at a high enough level to earn a spot at March Madness.
- Automatic bid – A team that wins their conference tournament at the end of the regular season.
- BPI – Established by ESPN, the college basketball’s power index is a statistic that projects the performance of the team by establishing their standing as far above or below average.
- Bracket – Either online or on paper, the March Madness bracket represents the 68 teams that will compete in the NCAA tournament.
- Bubble – When a team is “on the bubble,” their qualification for the tournament is up in the air and not guaranteed.
- Elite 8 – The 4th round of the tournament, which leaves only eight teams. The winner of the final game for each regional bracket moves on to the national semifinal known as the Final Four.
- Euro step – When a ball-handler makes an offensive move with a long, exaggerated step in one direction and then quickly takes another quick step in the other direction to try the deceive the defender.
- Final Four – With only four teams remaining in the 5th round of the tournament, the winners of each regional match up get a chance to play in the final championship game.
- First Four – A set of four games played in Dayton, Ohio that kick off the NCAA tournament.
- First Four Out – Of the 68 teams in the NCAA tournament, the First Four Out fall into spots 69 to 72. Not eligible for the NCAA tournament, these teams will be top seeded in the NIT Championship.
- KenPom – A college basketball statistic that measures a team based on tempo and quality of opponent.
- KPI – A statistic that ranks wins and losses on a scale of -1.0 and +1.0 and averages these scores across the season.
- NET rankings – A NCAA ranking tool that measures the Team Value Index and a team’s adjusted net efficiency rating.
- Offense efficiency – The number of points scored per 100 offensive possessions.
- Regional – The NCAA tournament bracket is split into four regionals: South, East, West and Midwest.
- RPI – The Rating Percentage Index includes the Division 1 winning percentage, the opponents winning percentage, and their team’s opponent’s winning percentage.
- Seed – Each of the 68 teams receives a seed from 1 to 16, which determines their placement in the bracket.
- Selection Sunday – The NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Committee selects and seeds 68 teams for the tournament. This includes 32 automatic bids and the remaining at-large bids.
- Stretch four – A forward player that can also shoot from beyond the arc.
- Sweet 16 – The 3rd round of the tournament with only 16 teams remaining. The winner of each game will advance to the Elite Eight.
- Team sheets – Used to determine the NCAA tournament selection and bracket seeding, team sheets include each college basketball team’s record, schedule, strength of schedule, and other statistics.
NCAA March Madness Honor Roll: How Celebrities & Sports Analysts Ace Their Brackets
When it comes to predicting the most accurate brackets for the 2022 NCAA Big Dance, there’s a method to the madness, and everybody has a different approach. Here’s a quick study guide for NCAA Brackets 101, based on the strategies of celebrities and sports experts with high-performing predictions.
- Dick Vitale – Head of the Class
As a top sports analyst for over three decades, it’s safe to say that Dick Vitale has a high IQ when it comes to college hoops. With a head filled with pages and pages of college basketball statistics, he generally plays it safe and rarely takes risks on any Cinderella teams.
Hedging his bets with his head and not his heart, Dickie V.’s bracket predictions might seem boring, but he often scores big by not taking chances on scrappy underdogs.
- Carson Daly – Most Likely to Succeed
Another honorable mention in NCAA bracket predictions is Carson Daly, host of The Today Show. He scores high in the snoozer bracket column, which weighs heavily on predictable, seemingly fail-safe picks.
His go-to strategy for every tournament is to represent each region from the Sweet 16 and always select the four highest seeds. The result is a solid Final Four bracket, another play-it-safe method with little risk and high reward.
- Jim Parsons – The Slacker
Star of the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons has an impressive record of bracket predictions, which is surprising since he claimed in an interview on the Dan Patrick Show that he finds it overwhelming to keep up with the hectic pace of college basketball season.
In Bracketology 101, he’s a self-described slacker with a surprising amount of March Madness success, more than any other celebrity. His strategy is simple. He looks at Yahoo Sports rankings of all 68 contenders and picks the team with the highest chances. After following that strategy for the beginning of his bracket, he levels up the excitement by picking the predicted upset for each game.
- Nate Silver – Revenge of the Nerd
The resident nerd of the sports world, ESPN statistician and FiveThirtyEight.com founder Nate Silver is a champion in the game of successful bracket predictions.
Armed with an insanely high level of statistical analysis, he breaks down the odds of each team with razor-sharp logic. His Final Four teams aren’t picked with his heart or his head; instead, he relies on thousands of hours spent crunching numbers and coming up with calculations that only he and other math nerds can understand.
- Barack Obama – Commander in Hoops
Some may not like his politics, but former President Barack Obama gets a Presidential Achievement Award for top bracket predictions season after season.
His tried-and-true strategy, known as Barack-etology, combines a balanced mash-up of safe choices and Cinderellas. With a brother-in-law as the coach at Oregon State, the former President understands the impact of excellent coaching, which is why high achieving tournament coaches also factor into his bracket picks.
For the slackers that don’t follow all the games or can’t make sense of statistics, cheating off these high-scoring celebrities and sports analysts is always an option. Or you can be an overachiever by going full-court press with a personalized strategy. Either way, the Big Dance is here and empty brackets are ready to be filled with hopeful and determined contenders.
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