How to Score NCAA Brackets

By Christopher Michael

Picking an NCAA bracket makes every dribble, shot and defensive stand seem important, taking you to the edge of your seat. Some say it inspires madness. But even the most delirious college basketball fan can easily score a bracket. There's one common scoring system that most pools use.

Progressive Scoring System

Almost all NCAA bracket scoring systems involve progressively weighted rounds. Each correct first-round pick counts as 1 point and second-round picks count as 2; third-round picks double the value again to 4 points, then 8 points and so on. Some scoring systems use more points with the same scale, scoring 5, 10, 20, 40 and so on. This puts a lot of weight on later rounds, making it nearly impossible to win the bracket without successfully picking the champion. In the event of a tie, each player guesses the total number of points scored in the championship game, and the closest wins.

Other Scoring Options

Reduce the importance of late rounds to put an emphasis on total number of games picked correctly, scoring 1 point for the first round, then 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Now you can win the bracket without necessarily picking the champion. Or you can assign bonus points for upset picks, doubling the amount of points earned when a lower seed wins. Another popular option is to multiply the points earned by the seed of the team that wins, giving you more points for a correctly picked Cinderella team. Feel free to include rules that make picking brackets the most fun.

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