March Madness Bracket 2021 – Printable Bracket, Tips

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Updated: February 25, 2021

It’s almost bracket time. That wonderful time of year when hardcore college basketball junkies, casual sports fans, and even Mike from accounting all submit a bracket in hopes of winning big cash prizes (or just to earn office bragging rights).  

With March Madness just around the corner, it’s not too early to start thinking about which teams you’ll have making a deep run in your bracket pools. Check back on Selection Sunday for our printable bracket, but for now, consider our expert tips when thinking about how your masterpiece will look.  

Printable 2021 March Madness bracket

Selection Sunday is March 14, 2021, with the show airing live on CBS from 6-7 p.m. ET. Check back here shortly after for our free, printable March Madness bracket.  

For now, enjoy our blank printable bracket so you can make your own March Madness projections! 

Covers 2021 March Madness Blank Bracket

Expert tips for filling out your bracket

Let’s face it: there are a lot of tips and strategies out there on how to fill in a March Madness bracket. That’s why we took a unique approach by sourcing professional bettors from Covers Experts to give their advice. 

Top seeds go far

“Many office pool players work too much on picking the early round upsets and not enough on their Final Four teams. The vast majority of Final Four teams are top-seeded teams; No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3 seeds. I generally pick at least two No. 1 seeds to make the Final Four. They earned those top seeds because they’ve been the best teams in college basketball all season, which is why I rarely call for a No. 1 seed to get upset before the Sweet 16 round at the earliest in my own brackets.
 
“Additionally, remember the bigger pool that you are in, the more chances you’ll need to take and the more upsets you should pick, particularly upsets that build big points on the second weekend of the tournament, as we go from the Sweet 16 to the Elite Eight, then the Final Four. For smaller pools, a more conservative strategy is the superior choice.  You don’t have as much competition to worry about, and there’s much less of a need to pick a bunch of upsets to surpass your opposition.” – Teddy Covers

“My one tip would be to remember this before filling out your bracket: Beyond the top three seeds, teams, for the most part, do not have a shot at the National Title. Whatsoever. In fact, only one title has been won by a No. 4, 6, and 8 respectively. No other seed in the history of the event has won the tournament.” – AAA Sports

Mind the early upsets

“Avoid picking a ton of upsets in the First Round. It’s tempting, but there simply have been fewer and fewer in the last few years because the mid-majors have gotten progressively weaker. When going for an upset, try and focus on teams from better conferences.” – Power Sports

“My advice would be to focus on upsets in the 2nd Round or Sweet 16 as opposed to the 1st Round. I find that is often the difference between a winning and losing bracket!” – Will Rogers

“I believe the secret to filling out a bracket (or even handicapping games during the tournament), is to be realistic about upsets. We all know that there will be some big surprises, but you don’t want to overdo it. When a smaller school upsets one of the top-ranked teams, everyone talks about it. That tends to overshadow the fact that for every big favorite that loses, several others go on to win. I think you need to be careful not to fall in love with the dogs. “ – Jesse Schule

Experience matters

“One of the things I look to do is seek out deeply experienced teams with five returning starters back from last year’s squad. These teams play with the calmness of a ‘been there, don’t that’ mentality.” – Marc Lawrence

“Look for experienced teams to advance. Teams heavy with senior leadership flourish in these types of tournaments. That is also true of experienced coaches.” – Larry Ness

Focus on the matchups

“Ignore the seeding. I believe a lot of bettors get hung up about what seed a team is. For example, some start worrying about how No. 4 teams have done against No. 13 seeds historically. Every matchup is unique though, so the fact that some No. 13 seed upset a No. 4 seed previously has no relevance to me. If you like the favorite, lay the points. If you like the underdog, take them. Likewise, when filling out your bracket. If you feel that underdog is going to win, don’t let its seeding prevent you from taking it to advance.” – Ben Burns

Consider being contrarian

“For pools that are local, rather than national, my No. 1 Bracket Tip is to consider the team or teams that other entrants might pick for their Final Four (and eventual champion), and then avoid picking such teams. That is because it’s difficult to win a Tournament pool if your entry is vastly similar to other entries. You have to separate yourself from the herd. So, if you live in ACC Country, avoid picking teams like North Carolina and Louisville. If you’re in the heartland, steer clear of Kansas and if you’re on the West Coast, select teams other than Gonzaga and UCLA.” – Al McMordie

The perfect March Madness bracket

A question we often get is whether there has ever been a perfect March Madness bracket. The answer is simple: No. And there likely never will be.

That’s because the odds of successfully predicting a perfect March Madness bracket are 1 in 120.2 billion — and that’s assuming you know a little bit about college basketball! If you’re just flipping a coin? Those odds become 1 in 9.2 quintillion, per NCAA.com. 

No wonder Warren Buffett offered $1 billion to anyone who could fill out a perfect bracket.

Blank March Madness bracket

Looking to make your own bracket projections? Download our blank March Madness bracket and start your path to becoming a bracketologist!

March Madness Bracket FAQs


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