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Amna Subhan | | March 14, 2023

5 tips to filling out your NCAA women's basketball tournament bracket

2023 March Madness women's predictions: Autumn Johnson makes her bracket picks

It's that time of year again. March, when madness and busted brackets are in abundance. Whether you've been following teams all season or just along for the March Madness run, we curated these five key tips to aid success in your women's basketball bracket.

🔒: Get your March Madness women's picks in before brackets lock

Double up on No. 1 seeds

In the women’s NCAA tournament, staying with No. 1 seeds is your best bet. Yes, 1998 saw the first 16-over-1 upset in history when Harvard shocked Stanford — but it’s happened only once for a reason. 

Picking at least two first-seeded teams in the Final Four falls in line with the data. In 34 of the total 40 (85%) tournaments, two or more No. 1 seeds made the semifinals. 

Choosing a No. 1 seed to win it all is also a safe option. No. 1 seeds have won 31 of 40 (77.5%) of women’s national championships, including a 10-year streak going back to 2012. But that doesn’t mean it’s all about the No. 1 seeds. 

MORE: Here's how often No. 1 seeds make the Final Four

Focus on the Elite Eight 

Before picking your Final Fours, start with an Elite Eight mix of No. 1 seeds and second- or third-seeded teams. 

The most common quarterfinal matchup is a No. 1 vs. No. 2 seed, which has happened 50 times in history. The second-most common is No. 1 vs. No. 3 in 26 Elite Eights. 

There's a huge drop after that when it comes to most common combinations, with No. 3 vs. No. 4 (8 times), No. 1 vs. No. 6 (7 times) and No. 2 vs. No. 4 (7 times). So, create a little seed diversity in the quarterfinals. If you’re going to pick an upset run let it have its moment in the Elite Eight at the most.

ELITE: The most common quarterfinal matchups

Don’t get too Cinderella crazy 

The 2022 rendition of March Madness saw the most upsets of seven since the 64-team expansion, with a No. 10 making the Elite Eight. 

But the clock strikes midnight all too soon. 

No double-digit seed has ever made it past the Elite Eight, let alone complete the run with a championship. The lowest championship-winning seed was No. 3 in 1994 (North Carolina) and 1997 (Tennessee). The lowest seed to make the semifinals was No. 9 Arkansas in 1998. 

Cinderella’s moonlight dance typically ends at the Sweet 16. Since tournament expansion in 1994, the regional finals have been the stopping point more than half the time. 

Look to No. 11 or 12 seeds for upsets

The most likely upset will come from either a No. 11 or 12 seed. Those two seeds have won a total of 59 games in 40 tournaments. Only seven No. 13 seeds have won, though Wright State did top Arkansas in 2021.

If you’re mulling over picking a 12th-seeded or 11th-seeded team — go with No. 11. Those 11 seeds have 35 wins in the first round compared with 24 from the 12s.

RELATED: What the data says about NCAA women’s tournament upsets

No. 14 or 15 seeds have yet to pull out victories in the tournament’s history. While it’s fun to imagine the possibility, and the bragging rights of predicting the first-ever would be unparalleled, the data advises against it. 

Fill out multiple brackets 

While there’s some math involved, this, thankfully, is not your high school algebra quiz. And you have the opportunity to fill out as many brackets as your heart desires. Reimagine different upsets or different Final Fours — the possibilities are quite literally endless.

MARCH MADNESS: Scores | Bracket Schedule 

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