There are 56 teams still standing in the NCAA Tournament, and almost as many strategies for how to choose a winning bracket. There’s the high fashion approach (“Which team has the coolest uniforms?”), the alma mater angle (“This is our year!”), or the Cinderella story (“Florida Gulf Coast FTW”).
Andrew Clark ’09 has a different method – and his results speak for themselves.
Clark, who studied English and economics at UMass Boston, is something of a March Madness wunderkind. The Brockton native began picking NCAA Tournament winners in 2005, while still in high school.
“That year I went like 27-5 in Round One and picked the champs for the first time,” Clark said. “So then I thought I may have something there. I started doing this year after year with a good amount of success.”
Again and again, Clark picked the winners of the Big Dance – five times in eight years. In 2010, he outlined his strategy in a book called “Bracketeering: The Layman’s Guide to Picking the Madness in March,” published by Chicago-based ACTA Sports.
“Bracketeering” was Clark’s second attempt at a book. In high school, he approached ACTA with a manuscript analyzing the NBA.
“I gave them my manuscript to look at and they were very kind and told me there was promise there,” he said. “After my good run of NCAA picks, I pitched them again on a book and they liked the idea.”
Clark’s formula is built on statistics, but his conclusions are easy for any office-pool amateur to understand: Pick teams that win their games by large margins, stay away from squads who rely on three-pointers, and ignore regular-season records.
In recent years, Clark has also dispensed bracket advice on Boston.com. (Find this year’s entry here.) He’s also written on other topics for Sports Illustrated and The Atlantic. He says Associate Professor of English Scott Maisano “was a huge influence on a lot of things that I've done.”
“He is an otherworldly professor who taught me how to think outside of the box,” Clark said.
And which teams did Clark pick in this year’s tournament?
“I have a Final Four of Indiana, Gonzaga, Louisville, and Florida, with Indiana over Gonzaga in the finals,” Clark said. With Clark’s impressive history of March Madness kingmaking, the Hoosiers seem like a pretty good bet.