Five things you should know about March Madness

    The UConn Huskies celebrate with the trophy after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 in the 2014 NCAA Men's Championship.

    (CNN)It's that time of year when the sports nuts and the sports novices are put on an equal playing field. The NCAA college basketball tournament is here and with it comes the excitement of the upset and the heartbreak of the busted bracket.

    Yes, the winner of your office pool may very well be the person who doesn't know the difference between the Blue Man Group and the Duke Blue Devils -- March Madness can truly be that unpredictable.
    But whether you're one of those nuts or novices, this truly is one of the most exciting years if you're at all into sports.
      With that in mind, here are five things you should keep in mind for your bracket and the tournament at large.

        1. Picking a 5, 6 or 7 seed to be upset is not a bad bet

        Most bracket competitions require you to pick the winner of every game, once the field slims to 64 teams. The upsets, where the lower seed beats the higher seed, are most likely to happen in the first round with each round historically having about half as many upsets as the round preceding it.
        Put another way, the average number of upsets -- excluding games where there is just one rank difference in seeding -- in the round of 64 is 6.2 games, 3.7 in the round of 32, 1.7 in the Sweet 16, etc.
          But you gotta be smart with picking an upset. The chance of a No. 1 seed going down to defeat in the round of 64 is minimal. That situation happened just once since 1985: when the 16th-seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers beat the No. 1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers by an astounding 20 points, 74-54, in 2018.
          The No. 1-seeded Virginia Cavaliers lost to the No. 16-seeded  UMBC Retrievers in 2018, becoming the only No. 1-ranked team in NCAA tournament history to lose in the first round to a No. 16 seed.
          The chance of a No. 7 seed going down in the round of 64 is 39.5%, which is quite high. That basically holds for a sixth seed (37.5%) and a fifth seed (35.4%). Then it quickly declines to 21.5% for a fourth seed and 15.3% for a third seed.
          Remember though, even an excellent bracket is very unlikely to be perfect. The chance of filling out a perfect bracket? About one in two billion.

          2. You're not alone if you don't know what you're doing filling out a bracket

          There's no reputable poll I know of that asks people "are you going to fill out a bracket, even though you don't know anything about college basketball?"
          Yet college basketball is unique among the major sports events and leagues -- beside the NFL -- in how people search for it on Google. While more people will often search for a given sport during its playoffs, they especially do so during the NCAA tournament.
          Don't know much about March Madness? Don't worry -- most people wouldn't know this is Gonzaga's Brandon Clarke against Texas Tech in the 2019 NCAA tourney.
          Consider this: 13% of all searches for college basketball in 2021 happened in the one week leading up to the Final Four and the championship game. The one week peak in searches for other sports as a percentage of their total searches was significantly lower for college football (7%), professional baseball (5%) and professional basketball (5%).