Posted by Doug on March 18, 2009
For those of you who don't get over to the basketball-reference.com blog regularly, you might want to head over there before filling out your brackets. Sports-reference.com's Sean (with help from Sagarin) and Neil (with help from Ken Pomeroy) both simulated the tournament a gazillion times and presented their results (Sean - Neil)
One caveat I'd add is that these simulations will tell you how to maximize the expected points you score in your pool. This does not always coincide, however, with maximizing your chances of winning. The bigger your pool is, and the more conservative/knowledgeable the people in it are, the more you need some longshots to maximize your chances of winning. I talked about this two Marches ago and was then convinced by a reader that #3 and #4 seeds are probably the key to maximizing your win chances in big pools. And it goes without saying, of course, that among the mind-bogglingly huge number of reasonable entries in any given pool, the differences we're talking about are very small. If you enter a pool with 50 or more participants every year, the rest of your life is not nearly enough time for you to perceive whether any particular strategy is working or not.
Good luck to all!