Students use different strategies to win bracket pools


Hannah Roberts

The national athem is sung as the Shockers and Redbirds await the start of the MVC championship game.

When Wichita State students put together their bracket for March Madness, each of them has a different strategy in order to win their pool.

No matter the strategy, every student believes that theirs will pay off in April.

For Shocker superfan Joe Stroud, he goes by certain team’s history in the NCAA tournament. He always has the No. 1 seeds going undefeated in the first round tournament since they have never lost a game in the tournament’s history.

When it comes to the Round of 32, Stroud investigates what teams could be a potential upset.

“This is usually when the term Cinderella teams gets the upset like Middle Tennessee State last season winning against Michigan State,” Stroud said. “Then there is just simply games that I guess on that either win games or lose a majority of them. So my strategy is more about luck than anything else.”

Regardless of his main bracket, Stroud always fills out two brackets and has them winning the National Championship. Other students follow the strategy similar to Stroud’s in filling out multiple brackets.

Senior business student Isaac Stine fills out multiple brackets in order to get creative with different ideas as well as investigate all other outcomes. Stine will fill out at least one bracket that is just for what he wants to happen.

When he doesn’t use those strategies, he takes into the historical factors and goes based off team statistics.

“There are teams that are just good in the tournament for whatever reason,” Stine said. “For example Gonzaga, I would always pick them to win a couple of games just due to how they had played previously. I try to have a few upsets as well.”

What a successful bracket for Stine comes down to, he said, was how well he thinks the teams match up along with his personal opinion of team performances.

“Sometimes I pick against teams because I think they are overrated,” Stine said.

Statistics are vitally important for one WSU student when picking his bracket, who asked to remain anonymous. He usually starts out with the easy picks and what he believes is the obvious picks.

After analyzing the tougher matchups, the anonymous student will go based off statistics he believes are important in winning basketball games.

“I tend to look at turnover ratio and team efficiency,” he said. “Like when (Kansas point guard) Frank Mason is on the court for KU, they score let’s say 10 percent higher when is not and I figure out approximately how many minutes he will play and who he will guard to determine the balance of the top players from each team.

“The last thing I look for is number of playmakers.”

Regardless of what strategy people use for their pools, the odds of picking a perfect bracket are very slim. However, the only thing that matters besides winning is that there is fun involved.

Grant’s Strategy: In past years, I’ve always advanced who I felt were the best teams in the country overall. Obviously March Madness is unpredictable, but there has not been a mid-major school that has won the National Championship since 1966.

So with that said, I usually pick my Final Four first and then go from there. My cinderellas are based upon how the mid-majors have done against non conference powerhouses. If the losses were within 15 points or they won the game, I usually pick the lower seed to win.

I also watch a lot of college basketball, so I know what to expect from certain teams. It’s easy to see their tendencies and what they like to run along with how other teams defend their offensive schemes.

Usually this strategy pays off, but it’s March Madness. Anything can happen.