Strategies for your NCAA Tournament Survivor Pool
A new popular pool format is a spin-off of the NFL survivor pool. Pick a team to win. You get points based on seed and round, you can’t pick that team again in a future round. Person with the most points wins.
The key is to pick the right seed at the right time. This article is designed to help you determine that.
We have looked at (1) The performance of each seed in each round, (2) adjusted the points based on that performance, and (3) provided you with the safety factor based on how many seeds have multiple winners in any given round. Finally, we give you a road map to the Final 4 so you have the best chance to win. Of course, you will need to subscribe to www.bracketanalytics.com to see who we recommend to pick specifically.
Once you get to the Final 4, you will be constrained on who you can pick, and we will blog about it during the tournament. Just remember that the champion has been a one seed, 16 out of 26 years. Two seeds have won four times and three seeds have won three times.
In the first round, the 12 seed provides the best risk-reward profile, but take caution this year. The 68 team format could adversely impact selecting a winner. The fact that a 13 seed has such a high probability of winning, it’s hard to ignore that, especially since 13 seeds perform so poorly going forward.
If you submit multiple entries, you may want to consider getting a 13, a 12, and possibly another 12.
In round 2, you should be eyeing a 12 seed, especially if two of them won. The next best return on investment is the 10 seed, and given that 42% of the time 2 or more 6 seeds advance to the Sweet 16, it is hard to ignore that safety factor.
Recommendation: Go with a 12 seed if you can, but have a 10 seed and 6 seed ready to go.
After the first weekend, you should have a good idea where you stand in the rankings and who your competition is or isn’t eligible to pick. The 10 seed and 6 seed remain viable options, with the 3 seed standing out as a good alternative.
If a four seed has upset a one seed to get to the Elite 8, this may be a good opportunity to select them, especially if they have some intangibles going for them (playing in their home state, etc.). With that in mind, this is a good time to pick a two seed as well. You probably don’t want to dip your toe into the one seeds yet as you will likely need them for insurance in the Final 4.
Making your picks in a survival pool face several constraints. You have to be just as concerned about when your team will lose the further you get through the journey. The second round pick, when so many double digit seeds are still alive is probably the most important pick in the tournament. One thing to keep in mind as well is that the more upsets there are in the first round, the fewer there are in the second round. Also, be cautious of any team that is too dependent on the three point shot, as they tend to exit sooner. Lastly, make sure your first round pick was in the tournament last year as the winning percentage for these teams is significantly higher.
We will be monitoring all of this at www.bracketanalytics.com so join today so that you have all the tools at your disposal to make your best possible pick.