Brad Wachtel – The Best NCAA Bracketologist You’ve Never Heard of

Listen to The Upside podcast episode 13 with NCAA basketball tournament bracketologist Brad Wachtel


Brad Wachtel has been described as the best bracketologist you’ve never heard of. While he may not yet have the national popularity of others that project the NCAA tournament field, his history of being able to predict the bracket is unmatched. In fact, from 2008 to 2010 he was the most accurate of the 170+ people in the country who attempt to do so according to

From 2010-2016, Wachtel took a hiatus from his bracketology calculus as he joined the men’s basketball staff at Rutgers University. He returned to the field in 2017 and now posts his projections on his own free site at as well as interacting with fans on Twitter at @bwachtel23.

Also in this episode, host Adam Finkelstein goes to the mailbag to answer questions about Creighton, Boston College, and the potential impact on prep school basketball if the NBA should change their one-and-done rule.

How he determines who gets into the NCAA tournament

“The biggest thing I’ve come across is, A) you gotta take the time to analyze all the numbers. What you’re doing is – you’re comparing team, to team, to team.  It’s not like there’s a magic formula that you just type in and say OK it’s just going to spew out results… you have to have a reason for everything.”

Teams on the bubble going into tournament play

“Teams that are on the bubble right now… Baylor, Alabama, Texas.  I can give you a ton of teams.  It’s probably about 15 teams.”

What he thinks of URI chances to get into the tournament

“Rhode Island is definitely getting in.”

How he responds to coaches upset about not getting in based on strength of schedule

“Get into a better conference or figure it out.  Figure out how to schedule better.  I don’t know what to tell you.  It’s not going to change.”  Wachtel goes on to say, “If I were some of these other conferences that don’t mandate your non-conference schedule and not scheduling teams that are going to be in the RPI 300’s… I would definitely recommend doing that.”

Which conference improved the most since last year

“Right now I have 8 teams from the SEC in the field and there’s actually about 10 teams that are still in the mix as a whole.  So they have really figured it out.”

How he views the Big East and Providence for this year’s NCAA tournament

“Right now I have 6 teams in from the Big East with Villanova, Xavier, Seton Hall, Creighton, Butler, and Providence… Providence I have as an #11 seed.”

Who are his four #1 seeds

“My four #1 seeds are Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, and Kansas.  Virginia locked up, they are probably going to be the #1 overall seed regardless of what happens… the only other team that has a chance to get a #1 seed would be Duke.”

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