March Madness – Tips For Winning Your Survivor Pool

Mar 18, 2024 | Featured, Strategy, Uncategorized

By Miles Hanssen
It’s March and that means college basketball and from conference tournaments to The Big
Dance, it’s wall-to-wall hoops from now until the early part of April.
Whether you’re watching the games on a secret browser tab at work or taking the day off to
lounge at your favorite sportsbook, there are plenty of ways to get in on the action.
A lot of people participate in their office pool, and a large part of the country can wager directly
on games through legal sports betting, but a growing number of fans have jumped in on the
growing trend of survivor pools.
Survive and Advance
Survivor pools, much like their football counterpart, offer fans a chance to “survive and advance”
much like the teams themselves. There are a few different versions of survivor pools, each with
their own rules, but they’re all built around the concept of picking a team and being eliminated
from the contest if you lose. If you want to win, you have to stay perfect until everyone else is
gone.
Some contests involve one pick per round, and others require one pick each day. Because the
opening rounds of the NCAA tournament are spread over two days, this increases the
opportunities for you (and your opponents) to lose. Some pools require multiple picks in each
round, or the rules for picks might vary from round to round, but they all require you to keep
winning until everyone else loses.
Tips for Winning Your Survivor Pool
If you want to win your survivor pool, you’re probably going to have to last deep into the
tournament — likely to the final four. Pools generally prevent you from picking a team more than
once, so choosing a heavy favorite in the early rounds will prevent you from using them later.
It’s important to be well-researched when you prepare your strategy. You will want to have
knowledge of the big picture, and you will need to know the teams that have a good chance of
advancing far in the tournament. Analyzing matchups throughout the bracket are important for
making an educated guess about who may be playing one another in later rounds. You are
bound to be wrong because March Madness is full of upsets, but you can find good picks when
you are right.
You will also want to consider the likely choices of other teams. Popular picks will draw a lot of
pool players, which may lead to a large amount of eliminations if they are wrong. If you can
anticipate the other players in the pool and what they are most likely to pick, you can find
opportunities to choose a different team and avoid being part of those large eliminations.
The popular picks will be those that offer a good spread and are seen by the public as likely title
contenders. Favorites can be great picks, but you have to play them strategically so you don’t
get eliminated by an upset.
Underdogs are Risky, but There’s a Big Reward
Underdog teams are a popular bet throughout March, and their odds can lead to a big payoff.
They can be a tough pick in the early rounds of a survivor pool, but they can be very useful in
the later rounds. It’s more than likely you will have to pick one at some point, but you will want to
do so when the other pool players are picking the other side. This will give you maximum benefit
if that team pulls off the upset.
Never forget to take into account your entire path to the end. It’s ideal that the teams you
choose in the early rounds lose soon after, so you can keep your pool of available teams as
large as possible at all times. Once you get through the first two chaotic rounds, have a clear
idea of how you will win.
Title Contenders to Keep an Eye On
There are a lot of ways to approach your strategy with the best teams. They play against the
lowest seeds in the opening rounds and they’re an effective choice to get through the chaos, but
they are susceptible to an upset just like everyone else. You don’t want to get caught flat-footed,
and you also want to determine which teams will be in the Final Four in case you need to use
them.
Here are some teams to keep an eye on at the top of the seeds:
Connecticut
Connecticut has won a lot of their late season games by big margins, and they should carry that
dominance into the Big East Tournament. The reigning champions are just as good, if not better
than they were last year, and players like Tristen Newton are ready for the big time. Newton was
a breakout star in last year’s tournament and it’s his team now. Newton has handled high
turnover from the championship squad and they’re in a good position for the rare NCAA repeat.
Purdue
Purdue is one of the top teams in the country this year and the seven-foot-four Zach Edey leads
a great supporting cast into the tournament. The team is smarting after last year’s opening
round upset to 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson and the improvement of players like Sophomore
Braden Smith should make a big difference.
Houston
Jamal Shead is one of the best players in the country and he is leading a Houston team that has
dominated its opponents all season long. They will likely be a top seed in their first season as a
Big 12 team. Houston lost in the Sweet Sixteen last year to the five-seeded Miami and they will
be playing with a chip on their shoulder this year.
Sneaky Teams to Keep an Eye On
When you get beyond the title contenders, you still have a great crop of teams to choose from,
but a lot of these choices will be matchup dependent. Keep an eye on teams that played well in
the conference tournaments, and those without too many injury issues. The Final Four can be a
mix of all seeds, like last year when a four, two fives, and a nine-seed represented the field at
the end. Identifying the middle seeds can be a big key to your success in a survivor pool.
Here are a few sneaky teams to keep an eye on:
Kentucky
Austin Reeves leads a talented team that includes Croatian Zvonimir Ivisic and Lexington’s own
Reed Sheppard. It’s a deep squad that spreads the scoring around, which can be helpful in a
tournament with so much variance. Look for squads like Kentucky that can score with a lot of
players — it creates matchup problems and they don’t rely on one player for most of the
production.
Marquette
The Milwaukee school has had a few tough losses this year that may impact their seeding, but
they are still a crew that can contend for a Final Four. Tyler Kolek is another player on the list of
those who might be considered the best in the country, but he’s suffered some injury problems
that might limit him in the postseason. They will need him to compete against the top teams. If
Marquette shows strength and stays healthy in the early rounds, they’re a great choice down the
stretch.
Creighton
The Nebraska school fell short of last year’s Final Four by one point and Baylor Scheierman is
having the type of season that shows they can make up the difference. He is one of the best
players in the Big East and he played well down the stretch against the tougher teams in the
conference. Creighton will be a great team to have available when you get into the later rounds.

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