March Madness Bracket Tips: Low Seeds Can Make Noise In 2022 NCAA Tournament is an independent sports news and information service. has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

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Douglas Wilson and No. 13 South Dakota State have a March Madness run on their minds (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)

The 68-team March Madness bracket is on everybody’s minds following a Selection Sunday which broke hearts in Dayton, Oklahoma, and at Texas A&M, three teams that missed out on making the NCAA Tournament field, while Indiana, Notre Dame, and Rutgers got the nod.

With the matchups set, it’s time to turn the page and get started on making this bracket work for you as you try to capitalize through pools and wagers. Analyzing games can pull you in a million different directions, so we’ll keep it simple and get you a few quick March Madness bracket tips that will have you enjoying the Big Dance into April.

Select Your Final Four First

Work your way backwards with who you like to reach the Final Four in New Orleans and go from there.

Gonzaga earned the No. 1 overall seed and will be tough to beat in the West, but got a pair of tough teams that will likely have to get past one another for a crack at the Bulldogs. Duke and Texas Tech each need to overcome two upset-minded opponents before they meet on the court at Chase Center in San Francisco in a Sweet 16 matchup, the winner of which will likely square off against the ‘Zags so long as the top seed in the West Region holds serve.

Are you of the belief that the Blue Devils and Red Raiders have enough to take down last season’s runner-up after what will likely be a physically taxing showdown on the other side of the country? Mike Krzyzewski is coaching his final Duke side, so the Blue Devils will be a sentimental favorite for many in this NCAA Tournament. However, that didn’t help the team in Brooklyn when they reached the ACC Tournament final and got defeated soundly by a Virginia Tech squad that might not have even reached the NCAAs had it not pulled off that upset.

Although Paolo Banchero is a projected top-five pick, and as many as six Duke players could emerge as NBA first-round selections, they could face one of the nation’s top defensive teams in Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 before moving on to arguably the top offensive team in the college game in Gonzaga.

That may be too large a hill to climb, so you may want to play it safe and ride with Mark Few’s Bulldogs.

Baylor Doesn’t Have Much Of an Edge As East’s Top Seed

As the East’s No. 1 seed, Baylor has no geographical advantage, as Kentucky, Purdue, and UCLA – teams that travel extremely well – are all in line to make Philadelphia a difficult place to play for the Bears. The Bruins reached the Final Four last season, Kentucky is led by the most prolific rebounder in the college game in Oscar Tshiebwe, and the Boilers have the nation’s most athletic guard in Jaden Ivey. Fading Scott Drew’s Bears looks like the move in the East.

Baylor was ousted from the Big 12 Tournament by an Oklahoma squad that didn’t even make the field of 68 and lost a key player late when glue guy Jonathan Tchamwa-Tchatchoua suffered a season-ending injury. The defending champs are talented but don’t have the great guards back who led last year’s charge, with Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler both in the NBA and MaCio Teague trying to work his way in through the G League. Transfer James Akinjo has taken the reins but isn’t as solid a defender as those guys and hasn’t been 100 percent physically over the past few weeks.

The Midwest could come down to No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 2 Auburn taking the court in Chicago, which would afford the Jayhawks a great advantage.

The South regionals taking place in San Antonio could make life difficult on No. 2 Villanova, since the other top-four seeds — Arizona, Tennessee, and Illinois — are all closer in proximity to south Texas than the national power located just outside Philadelphia. After opening the tournament against Delaware in Pittsburgh, Jay Wright’s Wildcats will have their hands full during the second week of this tournament.

Don’t Be Shy About Picking Early Upsets

They don’t call it March Madness for nothing.

We usually see chaos unfold by the evening session on the first Thursday of the NCAA Tournament, so it’s wise to identify a Cinderella or three for your bracket.

Although a 16 seed beating a No. 1 has happened only once in the men’s tourney, when Maryland-Baltimore County dispatched of Virginia in 2018, it’s still likely we see a few of Nos. 1-4 seeds fail to make it past the opening weekend.

While 13 isn’t a lucky number, the seed has had good fortune of late. Over the three most recent tournaments, No. 13 seeds are a solid 5-7 in their opening games. Providence, the Big East regular-season champion, are on upset alert against South Dakota State, considering the metrics don’t believe the Friars should have been as successful as have been this season. The Friars found a way to squeak by in close games but were pulverized by Creighton in the Big East Tournament and could be in trouble against the dangerous Summit League champion Jackrabbits, who were perfect in conference play and bring a 21-game win streak into the Big Dance.

Another 4 vs. 13 matchup where we could see March magic is Arkansas vs. Vermont. The Razorbacks were solid in SEC play but were pushed by Colgate in the 3 vs. 14 matchup in last year’s tournament and face a very sound Catamounts squad that has plenty of experienced players and has won 22 of 23 games entering the NCAAs. They won all three of their America East Tournament games by 32 or more points, can definitely play with the Hogs, and should be able to hang around over 40 minutes, potentially stealing a win late.

Select A 12 Or 13 Seed To Reach The Sweet 16

Last year’s 12-seed to make a significant run by surviving to the second weekend was Oregon State. The Beavers went from nowhere near the right side of the bubble to winning the Pac-12 Tournament before making noise in the NCAAs. There was no tournament in 2020, but Oregon was a No. 12 when it reached the Sweet 16 in 2019, and a pair of 11 seeds (Loyola-Chicago, Syracuse) made it through to the Sweet 16 in 2018.

Based on the draw, you’re going to want to pick on the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds that look most vulnerable, which means you may want to back No. 12 New Mexico State or No. 13 Vermont to make a run in the West, or No. 13 South Dakota State or No. 12 Richmond in the Midwest. No. 5 Iowa, which draws the Spiders, just won the Big Ten Tournament by surviving Indiana on a 3-point banked-in prayer in the semis and then pulling off an upset against Purdue in the final, but those runs often don’t carry over. Also, look for the Jackrabbits to emerge as a threat in challenging Providence in the first round and Iowa in the second.

Also read: March Madness sportsbook bonuses | March Madness odds | Women’s tourney odds

About the Author
Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia has been a national writer for nearly two decades and has covered NBA and college basketball as a columnist, analyst, handicapper, and bracketologist for CBS Sports, Pro Basketball News, and numerous other sites.

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