Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook! Shoots to Explain How March Madness Works

        | HSW

Did you know that a No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed?

Site offers tips to give your bracket an edge

ATLANTA - March 10, 2010 - Each spring, college basketball enthusiasts are drawn to the TV, brackets in hand, hoping to catch every upset, blow-out and buzzer-beater that March Madness has to offer. While these avid sports fans are counting down the days until the first tip-off, some Americans are dreading the impending weeks they will spend watching and discussing college basketball.

In an effort to both prevent sports un-enthusiasts from succumbing to their own "madness" this March, and also teach even the biggest college hoops fan something new,, the award-winning, unbiased online source for thousands of topics, is sharing information on How March Madness Works.

1. The tournament itself has many names. Most refer to March Madness as "the Tournament," but announcers or fans in basements and bars across the country might also call it "the Big Dance" or "the Road to the Final Four."

2. You don't need a green thumb to keep up. Avid gardeners might get confused over all the conversations about pods and seeds. The 64 teams are divided into four regions. Each region has teams that are assigned a "seed" number 1 through 16, with the best team in the region awarded the 1 seed. Pods refer to the method of grouping seeds. One pod includes seeds 1, 16, 8 and 9. A second pod includes seeds 4, 13, 5 and 12. The third pod includes seeds 2, 15, 7 and 10. The fourth pod includes seeds 3, 14, 6 and 11.

3. Even a non-sports fan can win the pool. Filling out your own bracket and entering an office or friend-created pool is a great way for non-sports fans to get in on the "hoopla," earn some bragging rights and maybe even make a few bucks. While there isn't an exact science to guarantee a win, the following are additional things to consider if you want a leg up on your competition.

  • A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 (yet)!
  • Half of the No. 3 seeds are typically eliminated in the second round.
  • There's a good chance that one No. 1 seed will lose in the third round.
  • You could probably expect at least one or two No. 1 seeds to make it through the fourth round.

More information about the science of bracketology can be found here.

4. Your significant other is not obsessed with Disney Princesses. The lower seeds represent potential "Cinderellas." A Cinderella team unexpectedly achieves success by beating a higher-seeded team. Unfortunately, Cinderella teams' chariots typically turn back into a pumpkin before getting to the Final Four.

5. Remember and repeat: Sweet, Elite and Final Four. In the first two days of the tournament, the field of 64 is pared to 32, and then to 16 -- the Sweet 16, that is. During the second week, the field is trimmed from 16 to the Elite 8 and eventually the Final four. Sweet, elite and final: use them, embrace them. Your friends will be impressed.

For everything else you need to know about March Madness or thousands of other topics, visit Think you know your stuff when it comes to basketball? Take the quiz.