Progressive Scoring Explained
The first scoring method I have discovered for March Madness brackets is called progressive or incremental scoring. Since your NCAA bracket is organized in rounds that are increasingly diminishing based on the winners of the previous rounds. So in the opening round when each of the 64 teams play one other team, each game can only have one winner which reduces the potential pool of winners by half or down to 32 college basketball teams. This opening round really helps to pick out the teams to watch. Most pools rank these picks at one point a piece or a total of 32 points max (since there can only be one winner). Even if you are a horrible team picker, you can do pretty well in this round.
The point values gradually increase in the second round to two points per team once again for a maximum of 32 points, 2 points for each winner of the 32 games. If your first round went poorly, this is the round where you can make back some of those points. With the increase in point value though, bad picks on your bracket hurt more as well. For the Sweet 16, the point value increases to 3 points per team.
The first jump in points comes for the elite 8 teams. Scoring for this round jumps to 5 points per team. If you are already trailing behind your pool mates, hopefully you still have picks in the game. Since most March Madness pools require all picks to be in before the tip-off of the first game, the more first and second round teams that are eliminated from your bracket, the less chance you have for having viable teams in higher point rounds. Think of your bracket as a tree, each time a team is eliminated, that branch is cut off. Ultimately you want to end up with two branches reaching the top although this rarely happens.
Each of the final four teams are worth 7 points each, another jump of two points in the scoring system. Each of those winners, 10 points each (20 max) If you are still in it now, this is your chance to pull away from the competition.
The final winner of NCAA March Madness is worth 15 points. Many players will be out of the game by now unless their are some strong favorites in that season. If you did well in some earlier rounds but lost your teams in the final rounds, all hope is not lost. You still may have enough points to be a contender.