Bracket broken? There are still many ways to play the NCAA Tournament

So you didn’t choose Saint Peter’s until Sweet 16? You tore your support Sunday afternoon and put it in the trash? Join the club. What to do now with a broken bracket? Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to get action on the rest of the tournament.

Do some hunting. There are second chance Sweet 16 bracket pools. This gives you the traditional support solution you are used to. ESPN.com has one here. It’s much easier with only 16 teams remaining!

Didn’t you participate in a pre-tournament Calcutta, where you auction off all the teams in a pool? Well, it’s a good time to start over. Pit the remaining 16 teams in an auction-style draft where you buy teams with real money and pay for Final Four teams, runners-up, and the national champion. It’s different from the standard support pool and can be a lot of fun.

Want a ride on a rack? Find 16 people to complete a capture slot. Everyone gets a team and the winners advance based on the ATS result. Your team could lose but cover the spread and you “capture” the other team. With four rounds remaining, you could have three different teams to cheer on!

And then of course there’s this thing called betting on a game! Imagine that. Find a money line or split you like and simply place a bet. And you can do it in the game too! Did you miss a future before the tournament started? Can still bet on any of the 16 teams right now to win the region or the title.

Here are some nuggets to help you the rest of the way.

• This is Duke’s 26th Sweet 16 game under Coach K. It’s only the fourth time the Blue Devils have been underdogs. Duke has lost the previous three Sweet 16 games under Coach K in which it was a “dog”. Only the loss to Oregon in 2016 was decided by more than six points.

• Since the expansion, there have been 20 underdogs by at least 12 points in the Sweet 16. The only one to win it was Indiana +13 over Duke in 2002. The only other two to even lose by single digits were Arkansas against North Carolina and George Washington against Michigan, both in 1993.

• There have been three 10-seeded vs. 11-seeded matchups in the Sweet 16. In all three cases the underdog won and in two of the three cases reached the Final Four (VCU in 2011 and Syracuse in 2016 ).

• There have been 22 previous No. 1 seeds who have won their Round of 16 match with five points or less. Recently, they struggled in the Sweet 16; since 2010 they are 1-4 ATS and the bottom two (Duke in 2019 and Kansas in 2018) have won by two and four runs respectively. Since 1985, 15 of the 22 have won their Sweet 16 game (only 10 covered).

• There have been eight unique seeds that were either underdogs or favored by two points or less in a Sweet 16 match. Five of the eight lost outright. Three of the eight games went to overtime.

• Since 1985, there have been 21 seeds 8 or 9 in the Sweet 16. Twelve have won the match and they have gone 13-8 ATS. The 17s that faced a 4 or 5 seed went 12-5 ATS (10-7 outright).

• At Kansas, Bill Self is 6-10 ATS (10-6 outright) as a favorite in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8. Since 2004, three other coaches have at least 15 such games: John Calipari (11-5), Roy Williams (11-2) and Coach K (9-6).

• In Elite Eight games over the past seven years, the underdogs have won exactly half of 28 games and are 18-9-1 ATS.

Here’s a great – and hopefully profitable – rest of the tournament.

About Ernest Decker

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