How to Fill Out Your 2022 March Madness Bracket

Predictions using optimal mathematical strategy.

David Glidden
5 min readMar 15, 2022


Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

2023 update: the 2023 bracket will be available no later than end of day Wednesday, March 15th, 2023. Follow me and subscribe to get the bracket delivered directly to your inbox once ready. Last year went pretty well, with my optimal bracket placing in the 84.6th percentile of all EPSN brackets. I personally placed first in a pool with a sizable payout where I used the alternate bracket of Kansas over Gonzaga suggested below.

March 16th, 2022 author’s note: I’ve re-run the calculations for the last time using the latest crowd data from ESPN. As of 10:30pm ET on Wednesday, March 16th, there are no changes needed to the original optimal bracket posted Monday. Best of luck in your pools this year! Come back and comment on the post or find me on Twitter @ dglid to let me know how you did!

A few years ago I shared the in-depth method I used to fill out my NCAA basketball tournament bracket using the optimal mathematical strategy to win a March Madness pool. It has worked out well for me recently:

  • In 2018, I correctly picked Villanova as the tournament winner and ranked in the 94th percentile among the 17.3 million brackets in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge pool.
  • In 2019, the same method correctly picked Virginia to win the tournament, placing in the 97th percentile among 17.2 million ESPN brackets.
  • In 2020, the tournament was canceled 😭 (I simulated it anyways).
  • Although I didn’t pick the winner last year, my 2021 bracket still fared quite well, placing in the 87th percentile of all EPSN brackets. I personally placed first in a three-bracket, $300 prize-winning pool using one of the alternate brackets I had recommended (Baylor winning it all over Gonzaga).

In this post, I’ve applied the same mathematical methodology to this year’s 2022 March Madness optimal bracket — download your own copy to use it verbatim or simply use it as a foundation to fill out your bracket.

The Mathematically Optimal 2022 Bracket



David Glidden

In the District of Columbia with @egbarnett. Ops at @TheoremOne.