It’s the biggest sports betting event in the calendar and this year it is more welcome than ever. After the forced cancellation of the 2020 edition, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament takes center stage once again.

March Madness 2021 starts on Thursday, March 18th with a tasty appetizer – the First Four. Then it’s time for the main course. The first and second rounds proper dominate a long weekend many regard as the highlight of the sporting year.

Like the millions of people who have filled out brackets, you’ve likely been pondering who might come out on top this year. The answer is of course unknown right now.

However, without the use of a crystal ball or an intimate knowledge of all teams involved your best bet, quite literally, might be to play the seed percentages.

Here’s what we’re talking about.

Forget the crystal ball and study the bracket seeds instead

Seeding History

The NCAA did not begin seeding teams until 1979. That was the year that Michigan State, led by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, beat Larry Bird’s Indiana State team. In 1985, the NCAA expanded the tournament to 64 teams giving us 16 teams in each of four regions.

Teams are seeded No. 1 through 16 in each region. Those seeds are important because they can help you pick the answer to the ultimate March Madness question. Who will take home the Championship?

Favorites in the Final Four

While people love picking the first and second round upsets, if you’re looking to win a bracket challenge you should really work backwards. Since the NCAA expanded the tourney in ’85, it is much more likely that a team seeded No. 1 through 6 makes the Final Four.

In fact, there are only 14 instances where a team seeded lower than No. 6 made it to a Final Four. If you remember 2018, Loyola-Chicago was the 11th-seeded Cinderella that made an improbably Final Four run. The Ramblers run was actually a rarity.


Each of the past three national champions was seeded No. 1 in their respective region. Over the past 20 tournaments, there have been 14 champions that were No. 1 seeds. More often than not, a team seeded No. 1 in a region wins the NCAA tournament.

No.1 Seeds have a consistently strong record in reaching the Final Four

The lowest seed to ever win a title was Villanova. That was back in 1985, the first tournament to have 64 teams. Each of the last four tournaments has had at least one No. 1 seed play for the national championship. In 2015 (Wisconsin-Duke) and 2017 (Gonzaga-North Carolina), both teams were No. 1 seeds.

To answer the question then, it’s likely that this year’s champion is a No. 1 seed. Now all you have to do is figure out which one.