Bracket Help: Strategy Advice For Winning NCAA Pools

Most of us here at TR started developing our own data-driven strategies to win NCAA bracket pools when we were just wee little tots. (Well, high school may be more accurate.)

But when we launched TeamRankings.com from a Stanford dorm room back in 2000, providing objective bracket help suddenly became our very public hobby. Popular interest in our number-crunching approach to bracket strategy began to grow, with results to match. In March 2001, well before the term "Moneyball" was invented, Sports Illustrated profiled us.

By 2004, providing bracket picks and advice to NCAA pool players had become our business. Applying sophisticated data analytics to bracket pool picks can generate a huge edge over your opponents, and people were willing to pay us for the help we provided in this area.

Since those early days, we've only continued to increase our research into optimal bracket strategy. In the past few years alone we've hired more staff and invested over 5,000 man-hours into refining our bracket pick analytics and related technology.

As funny as it may sound to our parents, bracket advice is now what we do for a living, and we are committed to being the best at it.

Today over 1,000,000 people visit TeamRankings.com every March, and our premium bracket pool picks and analysis have become incredibly complex behind the scenes. For the 2015 tournament we'll have a dedicated server farm over at Amazon running millions of computer simulations around the clock -- aggregating data from top college basketball ratings systems, projecting NCAA tournament outcomes, simulating the behavior of your bracket pool opponents, and identifying the best possible picks for thousands of different kinds of NCAA pools.

If someone else in the world is investing more time and money than we do into coming up with optimal bracket picks, we'd be very, very surprised. :-)

Still, there are some basic principles of bracket strategy that remain the foundation of what we do, and we thought it would be helpful to share them in case you're curious.

So if you're looking for bracket help or NCAA pool advice in 2015, consider our free Bracket Picking Guide as a high level roadmap for how to think like a pro. Enjoy!

Read the Bracket Picking Guide