The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is officially underway with the First Four on Tuesday and Wednesday. Once those games wrap, we move on to the first round on Thursday. Anybody reading this article is likely submitting one or more brackets, but you are also potentially interested in another fun March Madness option; the Survivor Pool.
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a Survivor Pool in which you pick teams to win and cannot use a team more than once. Here’s how DK’s Survivor pool works:
You pick one team each day to win. The exception is in the Elite Eight where you pick one team across the four games in the round. For the Round of 64 through the Sweet 16, all picks lock at the start time of the first game each day. For the Elite 8 through the championship, all picks lock at the beginning of the round. If your pick wins, you advance.
You may only pick each team once per entry. If the team you pick loses (or you don’t make a pick at all, either because you forget or because you are no longer able to make a pick), you are eliminated. The winner is the last person standing or a tie for the last people standing.
We’ll be offering Survivor advice throughout the tournament. The rule of one use per team means you can’t use all your No. 1 seeds in the first weekend. It takes some strategy, and we’re here to offer some picks.
Not exactly sure how a team with 11 Quad 1 wins and zero Quad 1 losses ends up as a No. 3 seed in the tournament, but here we are. The Vols are really more of a strong No. 2 seed. They can shut down Longwood’s perimeter shooting, which is the Lancers’ strength.
If you’ve done your bracket research, you probably know about the Cougars’ main flaws. Yes, they have been without two of their best players for the bulk of the season and have just one victory over a Quadrant 1 team. So what? They are still incredibly efficient on both ends of the floor, rebound with zero abandon and are guided by one of the best tactical coaches in the sport. Forget the upset alerts here; the Cougars will roll past a UAB team that is a poor man’s version of Houston in many aspects.
Best value picks
The Tigers have gone 12-2 since mid-January, but that undersells the Tigers’ success. They haven’t just been hot; they have been one of the very best teams in college basketball according to some metrics over that stretch. And most of it has come with freshman star Emoni Bates sidelined due to injury. Frankly, the Tigers are a better, more connected team without him. Most people won’t pick this game in a survivor pool because of the seedings and because Boise State’s defense will almost assuredly turn this into a low-scoring affair. But ultimately, Memphis’ athleticism — most abundant in Jalen Duran and Josh Minott — should win the day. They are favored, rightly, by 2.5 points, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Tigers will probably be ignored by many who are wary of riding with a team that just fired its head coach a few days ago. Of course, the situation may fire up LSU and give its players an us-against-the-world mentality. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t ignore LSU, because they are playing an incredibly mediocre Iowa State squad. The Cyclones’ offense has gone ice cold for long stretches lately, and they hold an 8-12 overall record in 2022. They may not clear 50 points against LSU’s top-notch defense.
Vermont does a few of the things very well that you need from an upset-minded lower seed: The Catamounts hit a bunch of 3s, play good defense, and don’t turn the ball over. Arkansas won’t have an easy time with them, especially since the Razorbacks will likely have to deal with a partisan crowd in Buffalo.