Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Final Four Betting Preview
We’re down to the Final Four teams of this maddeningly entertaining March meeting this weekend in Houston, Texas and I can safely say (almost) NO ONE saw these matchups coming. We passed the “your brackets are busted” narrative that feels like ages ago in this tournament, and now we’re left with four teams that are more reminiscent of a Thanksgiving weekend vacation tournament than a March Madness Final Four. We can always look back on the 2023 tournament as the year that the seeding got completely thrown out the window forever, and there was and will be no turning back from here. The crazy bracket your grandmother picks based on team mascots is now more informed and accurate than any college hoops fan’s picks ever were at an alarming rate this year. True madness with one more epic weekend to go. College hoops always delivers this time of year, and the madness remains undefeated.
Week two’s Cinderella stories were aplenty, just to heap on top of the pile of upsets from week one. While UConn is the one logical powerhouse to find their way back to another championship weekend in Houston, it’s the little guys that shined the brightest in the dance. The Owls of Florida Atlantic as a 9 seed – how? San Diego State and Miami battling through treacherous regions as 5 seeds and making it out as regional champions? We couldn’t have seen it coming on any planet, except for those 37 wizards who managed to have all four of these teams on their bracket’s final four. With that, let’s get to breaking down the two semifinals in H-Town:
#9 Florida Atlantic – vs #5 San Diego State (-2) – 6:09 pm ET
The Cinderella of all Cinderellas leads off the Final Four weekend, as the Owls (yes, the Owls) out of Florida Atlantic University find themselves in their first NCAA men’s tournament appearance, and first final four in the same year. Here they are out of Conference USA where they’ve just limped over .500 in recent seasons. Known previously as Lane Kiffin’s pit stop before Oxford, they’re now a basketball school and they play a very modernized game. The Owls are far from a standstill on the court, with a rapid uptempo pace and a constant rotation of players that have you checking the lineup card constantly. They’ll want to run up the score against a San Diego State team that is built for the challenge. The Aztecs are the first Final Four team EVER out of the Mountain West Conference, and they prefer to slow you down and impose their will on both sides. This is a classic case of “styles make fights” where contrasting gameplans butt heads on a huge stage. In this spot, I like the Aztecs and defense to win out by a basket – the final four dome setting doesn’t lend kindly to FAU’s shooting either.
Alex’s Plays: San Diego State -2, Under 131.5 points
#4 UConn vs #5 Miami – 8:49 pm ET
It’s been a test-free cakewalk for the UConn Huskies, who are the one team here that makes some sense in this extremely unpredictable March Madness. They’ve rolled to 15+ point wins in all four of their tournament games, and their mix of size down low and guards that can drain threes has been a bear to defend throughout the last two weeks. As a program, the Huskies have created that sustainability that many national powerhouses desire, and they always find their way to a final four every few years. They’re back again as the prohibitive betting favorite to win it all (-125) despite very little hype in recent months after mid-season struggles. They face a Miami program led by Coach Jim Larranaga, who famously led George Mason on a magical Final Four run of their own in 2006. The Canes are undersized on paper but play a bit more taller and fierce than your average guard-heavy roaster. Add in star players like Jordan Miller who had a PERFECT shooting game last weekend and you’ve got yourselves a problem. I like this to be a thrilling duel that definitely has baskets aplenty, and I’m keeping the Canes inside the number.
Alex’s Plays: Miami +5.5, Over 149 points
The winners Saturday face off Monday night at NRG Stadium for a 9:20 pm E.T. (8:20 pm CT local) tipoff for all the marbles. May your one shining moment be taking down the very last college hoops action of the season. Soak it all in!
When are brackets due for March Madness?
For March Madness Bracket pools, brackets typically are due before the start of the First Four games on March 15. However, on RunYourPool, commissioners have the ability to select their own due date for when brackets need to be submitted. Commissioners can access this setting by viewing their Commissioner Console and clicking on the Pool Settings.
How do I run a March Madness bracket for my office?
To run a March Madness Bracket Pool for your office, head over to RunYourPool.com! RunYourPool offers a plethora of different pool options to ensure the fun and competition amongst participants. Additionally, RunYourPool allows pool commissioners to customize and modify pools the way they see fit. It should take less than five minutes to set up your pool and start inviting colleagues!
How do you win your NCAA bracket?
To win a traditional March Madness Bracket pool, you will need to correctly select the winners of as many of the tournament's games as possible. In most March Madness contests, the point total of each correct selection increases with each ensuing round, culminating in the most important pick of all: the national championship game winner!
How do I fill out an NCAA bracket?
To fill out a March Madness Bracket, you will try to select the winner of every game of the tournament. The bracket begins with 68 teams and culminates in a championship between the final two remaining teams. You can fill out your bracket using RunYourPool and compete against friends, colleagues, family and more!
What is a March Madness Head-to-Head Pool?
A March Madness Head-to-Head Pool is a type of pool in which participants are randomly assigned one of the tournament's 64 teams. Participants advance if their team covers the spread, which allows every entry and team to have a chance of winning. If a team loses outright but covers the spread, the participant who's team covered will advance to the next round with the winning team.
What is the best way to play a March Madness Head-to-Head Pool?
The best way to play a March Madness Head-to-Head Pool is to set it up using RunYourPool and invite all of your friends! Setting up the pool and inviting participants is easy and should take less than five minutes. Next, you can randomize or assign the teams that participants will have.
Are March Madness brackets legal?
March Madness Brackets are completely legal to fill out and compete against fellow pool entries and users. Multiple softwares, including RunYourPool, will run sweepstakes and public contests for users to vie for a grand prize. Bracket pools must be in compliance with RunYourPools’s Terms and Conditions and must be for entertainment purposes only.
What is a March Madness Squares Pool?
A March Madness Squares Pools contains a 10x10 grid with each row and column being numbered 0-9. Prior to the tournament's start, pool members can login and select their squares. Next, when the tournament begins, the grid numbers are revealed. Members keep the same squares for each game and RunYourPool keeps track of the winners and other helpful statistics.
How does the NCAA select its teams?
32 of the 68 basketball teams that are selected for the NCAA tournament receive automatic entry into the competition as a result of winning their conference championship. The remaining teams get what's know as an "at-large bid," which extended by the NCAA selection committee based on the team's performance throughout the season.
What is a March Madness bracket pool?
A March Madness Bracket is a competition where players attempt to select the winning teams of each round of the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Tournament in March. Traditionally, players would fill out a paper bracket and hand it into a pool commissioner. In recent years, software like RunYourPool.com has digitized and streamlined the process for speed and ease.
How many teams are in March Madness?
March Madness begins with 68 teams that are announced on Selection Sunday, March 13, 2022. The First Four consists of four games and the winners advance to the Round of 64. The following rounds are the Round of 32, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, and finally, the National Championship game.
What is a March Madness Surivor Pool?
A March Madness Survivor Pool is a type of pool where participants select one team to win their game for every day of the tournament. Typically, entries are only allowed to select each team once and the last entry standing wins! Survivor pools are a really fun way for entries to compete and test their knowledge
What is the best way to play a March Madness Survivor Pool?
The best way to play a March Madness Survivor Pool is to make a pool or join one using RunYourPool. Participants find it helpful to try to map out their picks ahead of the start of the tournament, and save the higher seeded teams for the later round picks of the survivor pool.
How long is March Madness?
March Madness takes place over three weeks, starting the First Four, First Round and Second Round in one week. The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight take place during the second week, while the Final Four and National Championship are played on Saturday and Monday the following week.
What are the odds of a perfect March Madness bracket?
Experts say that the odds of you crafting a perfect bracket in March Madness run from 1 in 120 billion to 1 in 9.2 quintillion, depending on how much you know about the teams, and about basketball. To put that in perspective, your odds of winning the lottery are significantly better, at 1 in 292 million.
What is a March Madness Pick-X Pool?
March Madness Pick X is a pool format in which the pool commissioner specifies a specific amount of teams that every participant will select. For each win of a team selected, participants will be awarded the amount of points of that team's seed, generally encouraging entrants to pick upsets. At the end of the tournament, the entry with the most points is the champion.
What are Mid-Major teams?
Mid-Major Teams are universities and colleges that play Division I basketball, are not part of a major conference such as the SEC or Big Ten. Mid-Major Teams are a substantial part of March Madness, as they regularly win lots games from mid-tiered conferences. Some examples of Mid-Major conferences are the WCC, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, Mountain West, and Conference USA. Upsets usually occur from Mid-Major schools.
What is the lowest seed to win the NCAA Tournament?
In the March Madness Tournament, one of the higher seeds usually ends up winning it all. However, there have been a few occurrences where a lower seed fought their way to eternal glory. In 1985, Villanova won the Championship as a No. 8 seed and is the lowest seed to win in the tournament’s history.