So you’ve probably heard about the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, right?  Well, if you haven’t, let me explain. Quicken Loans, along with Yahoo! Sports, will give you a billion (yes, billion with a “B”) dollars if you pick a perfect bracket during the men’s college basketball tournament this year. Now, in case you don’t have experience filling out brackets or aren’t even sure what a bracket is, the Quicken Loans Zing Blog is we’re here to give you a quick lesson in “bracketology”.

What Is a Bracket?

This is what a bracket looks like.

Bracket 101 - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Click to enlarge.











All 64 teams in the tournament receive a ranking between one and 16. This number delegates each team’s “seed”. There are five rounds, and after a team wins a game, they advance to the next round of the tournament or section of the bracket. After all the games from both sides of the brackets have been played, the two teams that emerge victorious will advance to the national championship game.

What Do I Do with It?

The goal is to pick the correct winner for every game. Easy, right? Do this and you could be America’s next billionaire!

There’s no exact right way to go about filling out the bracket and picking the winners of each game. Here are a few ways you can fill out your bracket:

  • Do research: Look up the participating teams online and take a look at their records this year. How did they play against good teams? Bad teams? There are a bunch of fancy statistics you can judge each team by like strength of schedule, rating percentage index (RPI), etc. See what college basketball experts have to say since they know what they’re talking about. This choice is obvious for those who have a strong interest in college basketball and a lot of time on their hands.
  • Pick all chalk: The absolute safest way to fill out your bracket is by picking all chalk, which simply means choosing all of the higher seeds to defeat all of the lower seeds (one seed over 16 seed, 8 seed over 9 seed, etc.). In this case, the last four teams left in your bracket will consist of all number one seeds. But a few upsets are bound to happen, so we’d suggest picking at least a few.
  • Team name/mascot/color: There are many ways to go about this choice. What team has a cooler name? An even simpler way to choose is to pick your favorite colors or mascots. This way of filling out your bracket is definitely pretty elementary, but it’s a good option for those who don’t want to spend too much time on their brackets.
  • Let someone else do it for you: If you have a friend or family member who knows a lot about college basketball, just hand them the bracket and they’ll know exactly what to do. This is the lazy way out though – have some fun and give it your best shot!

We hope that this blog helped clarify any confusion you had about college basketball brackets. However you decide to fill out your bracket, we here at Quicken Loans wish you the best of luck! Visit to enter the challenge!

Do you have any other creative ways to fill out a bracket? Share in the comments section below!


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This Post Has 5 Comments

    1. Hi Thomas:

      This post is several years old. Unfortunately, as fun as it was, we aren’t doing a college basketball bracket contest this year. I do wish you luck in whatever brackets you enter. May the rims be kind.

      Kevin Graham

  1. I have submitted my picks. what do I click on to see my bracket and see standings as tournament developes

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