iTunes Play Store YouTube

SportsGrid NCAA Tournament Bracket Buster

SportsGrid NCAA Tournament Bracket Buster
  • Tim McCullough

The All-Singing, All-Dancing Sportsgrid

2017-18 NCAA Tournament Bracket Buster

By Arturo Galletti

“I know I have plenty of enemies, but I’d rather be the most hated winning coach in the country than the most popular losing one.”

— Adolph Rupp, legendary Kentucky basketball coach

Welcome to my seventh annual all-signing, all-dancing NCAA men’s basketball tournament preview. For those of you who are joining us for the first time welcome! Here are the highlights by year if you’re interested:

Last year? Heh.

The point to be made is that if you want to win your bracket pool? Arturo is your hookup.

So how does the magic get made?

  • Take all the Major Ratings (SagarinKen PomeroySonny Moore)
  • Build your own Ratings by downloading all the games (Thanks to RealGM for having an awesome site!).
  • Build a comprehensive model to evaluate NCAA players (which is also a very good draft predictor).
  • Work out adjusted point margins (for injuries and schedule) for each team and each rating as well as a composite. Makes a really cool poster:

NCAA Tournament Bracket Buster 1

That’s every single NCAA division 1 school ranked and sorted (using my unadjusted ranking). A more relevant and friendly tournament version follows:

NCAA Tournament Bracket Buster 2

Pretty awesome no? It’s a lot of numbers. Let’s turn it into information, specifically odds.

NCAA Tournament Bracket Buster 4


The composite model is torn between Virginia and Villanova (with Duke lurking). It’s easier to see on this table:

NCAA Tournament Bracket Buster 3

Virginia has the softer path to the Championship so the model has them winning the tournament 32.4% of the time. Also, Virginia is so talented at the top that the injury to their very good sixth man actually helped them.

Now comes the payoff. Take all that, put it together, and make a customizable bracket-generating spreadsheet that you can download by clicking right here:  NCCA 2018 Tourney Super Cheat Sheet

The sheet has six tabs:

  • Instructions (with illustrations!)
  • The PlayIn tab (so you can pick the play in winners)
  • The Adjustable, Printable NCAA Bracket
  • All the Ratings for every Division 1 school
  • The Ratings just for teams in the Tournament (by region)
  • The Lookup Table

To build your bracket you need to:

  • Pick the PlayIn winners
  • Go to the Bracket tab
  • Select your Model (cell E3). The Sheet will adjust to pick the favorite based on the model chosen.
  • Disagree with a pick? For every matchup, you can select your winner (the cell that contains either Tm1 or Tm2- pick one)
  • Once you’re done, print your bracket.
  • Profit!

Because I’m nice, the Tm fields will change colors when you pick Team2, and the odds will change to red when you pick an upset.

So if I wanted to do a crazy bracket, it would look like so:

NCAA Tournament Bracket Buster 5

If you’d like to use a single-game outcome predictor for the 2017-18 NCAA Tournament, just click here.

Have fun and win some pools.