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Bracket busted? There are still plenty of ways to play the NCAA tournament

So you didn’t pick Saint Peter’s through to the Sweet 16? You ripped your bracket up Sunday afternoon and put it in the trash? Join the club. What to do now with a busted bracket? Fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to have some action on the remainder of the tournament.

Do a little hunting. There are second-chance Sweet 16 bracket pools. That gives you the traditional bracket fix you’re used to. ESPN.com has one right here. It’s a lot easier with only 16 teams left!

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Didn’t get into a pre-tourney Calcutta, where you auction all the teams off in a pool? Well, now’s a good time to start anew. Throw the 16 remaining teams into an auction-style draft in which you buy teams with real money and pay out to the Final Four teams, finalists and national champion. It’s a different form of the standard bracket pool and can be a lot of fun.

Want a new spin on a bracket? Find 16 people to fill a capture bracket. Everyone gets one team, and winners advance based on the ATS result. Your team could lose but cover the spread and you “capture” the other team. With four rounds left, you might have three different teams to root for!

And then, of course, there’s this thing called wagering on a game. Imagine that! Find a money line or spread you like and just place a wager. And you can do it in-game, too! Did you miss a future before the tourney started? You can still bet any of the 16 teams right now to win the region or title.

Here are some nuggets to help you the rest of the way.

Complete your bracket by selecting the winner in each of the games in the NCAA tournament from the Sweet 16 to the championship. Tournament Challenge Second Chance

• This is Duke’s 26th Sweet 16 game under Mike Krzyzewski. It’s just the fourth time the Blue Devils have been an underdog. Duke lost all three previous Sweet 16 games under Coach K in which it was a dog. Only the loss to Oregon in 2016 was decided by more than six points.

• Since expansion, there have been 20 underdogs of at least 12 points in the Sweet 16. The only one to win outright was Indiana +13 over Duke in 2002. The only other two to even lose by single digits were Arkansas vs. North Carolina and George Washington vs. Michigan, both coming in 1993.

• There have been three 10-seed vs. 11-seed matchups in the Sweet 16. In all three instances, the underdog won outright and in two of the three instances reached the Final Four (VCU in 2011 and Syracuse in 2016).

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• There have been 22 previous No. 1 seeds to win their round-of-32 game by five points or fewer. Recently, those have struggled in the Sweet 16; since 2010, they are 1-4 ATS and the last two (Duke in 2019 and Kansas in 2018) won by two points and four points, respectively. Since 1985, 15 of the 22 wound up winning their Sweet 16 game (10 covered).

• There have been eight 1-seeds that were either an underdog or favored by two points or fewer in a Sweet 16 game. Five of the eight lost outright. Three of the eight games went to OT.

• Since 1985, there have been 21 8- or 9-seeds in the Sweet 16. Twelve won the game outright, and they went 13-8 ATS. The 17 that faced a 4- or 5-seed went 12-5 ATS (10-7 outright).

• At Kansas, Bill Self is 6-10 ATS (10-6 outright) as a favorite in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8. Since 2004, three other coaches have at least 15 such games: John Calipari (11-5), Roy Williams (11-2) and Coach K (9-6).

• Underdogs have won 14 of the 28 Elite Eight games over the past seven years and are 18-9-1 ATS.

Here’s to a great — and hopefully profitable — remainder of the tournament.

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