The 2024 NCAA men’s and women’s tournament brackets are here, and now, you have a few days to put together the perfect bracket. Well, it’s pretty much impossible to craft the perfect bracket. You have a better chance of winning the lotto than making a perfect bracket. But, there are some ways that you can make your March Madness bracket as strong as possible.

The Best March Madness Bracket Tips

Carefully choose your upsets

If you just go with the highest seed to every match, you’ll probably do okay in your bracket pool, but you likely won’t win. That’s because each year, there are a bunch of upsets. So, pick upsets, but pick those carefully. For example, last year, No. 1 seed Purdue lost to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson. It was only the second time a No. 1 seed lost to a No. 16 seed, the other time being the year prior, when Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 in tournament history, falling to Maryland-Baltimore County.

So, be very careful with those upsets. Sure, it’s fun to give all the underdogs some love and have them going far in the tourney. But, that’s really a recipe for disaster for any brackets.

Know the stats when it comes to those upsets

According to the NCAA, 10-7 upsets are the most common in the tournament, followed by 11-6, 12-5 and it’s pretty standard through the 16-1 upset. Also, there are no upsets with 8-9 matchups, as they are super close. So, research those teams and do your best and picking those winners in your March Madness bracket.

Look at the size of your pool

The Washington Post notes that the size of your pool can help you decide how much risk to take. “If you are in a small pool — say, 25 people or less — you want to minimize your risk,” they say. In a larger pool of over 25, you might want to take more risk to stand out, because you kind of have nothing to lose. You know a bunch of people are going to go with the favorites, so you might as well get a little riskier.

No. 11 seeds are where it’s at

Who knew the No. 11 seeds were so special? According to the Washington Post, No. 11 seeds have a great history of upsets. “Since 2011, when the field expanded to 68 teams, No. 12 seeds have an 18-30 record against No. 5 seeds in the round of 64. The No. 11 seeds, by comparison, are 25-23 in their matchups against the No. 6 seeds — and often with a whole lot less hype,” they write.

Factor in conference tournaments

A lot of who wins in March Madness has to do with which teams are peaking in March. So, a higher seed team might have started out the season great, but if they’re losing in February and March and lost their conference tourney, you might want to think twice about picking them. Look at which teams did well in their conference tournaments. These are the teams that are peaking at the right time, in March. Those teams should definitely be on your radar.

Have fun with it

This isn’t really going to improve your March Madness bracket, but remember that brackets are really just for fun. So, have fun with it. This is such a fun time of year, getting to watch all these talented college teams in action and seeing who comes out on top. So, have fun with your bracket. Also, I always try to pick my favorite teams to win, even if they don’t have as good a chance as other teams. That’s because it feels so weird to root against my school for the sake of my bracket. Just, don’t take it too seriously. And, don’t bet the house on it. Here are some strong teams to watch for your bracket, by the way.