How to Score NCAA Brackets

March Madness Businessman Hand Filling In Bracket From Above

Every year, millions of people fill out NCAA tournament brackets. In bracket challenges organized by some of the biggest companies in the world, or even just small groups with friends, it is important to know how to properly score brackets to determine a winner.

Progressive Scoring System

Almost all NCAA bracket scoring systems involve progressively weighted rounds.

  • Each correct first-round pick counts as 1 point and second-round picks count as 2; third-round picks double the value again to 4 points, then 8 points and so on
  • Some scoring systems use more points with the same scale, scoring 5, 10, 20, 40 and so on
  • In the event of a tie, each player guesses the total number of points scored in the championship game, and the closest wins

Using this scoring system, it is extremely difficult to win a bracket challenge without correctly picking the National Champion or runner-up.

Other Scoring Options

Other options for scoring NCAA brackets do not place as much of an emphasis on late rounds, and can look several different ways:

  • Score 1 point for the first round, then 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6; Now you can win the bracket without necessarily picking the champion
  • Assign bonus points for upset picks, doubling the amount of points earned when a lower seed wins
  • Multiply the points earned by the seed of the team that wins, giving you more points for a correctly picked Cinderella team