Betsy Orton

Betsy Orton | Emergenetics International Account Manager

March Madness is a pretty big deal here in the Emergenetics International Denver office. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that our free Associate March Madness Pool has become quite the tradition.

Emergenetics insights work for all situations in life- and March Madness is no different. Here’s a case study look into how each of the thinking and behavioral attributes would approach the NCAA Basketball Tournament and all of the hoopla that surrounds March Madness:

Analytical: The Stat Hound

March Madness from the blue brain is like a kid in a candy store!  So many stats to research, so much data to consider when making their decision.  If they don’t have time to research or haven’t been following college basketball this season, they’ll most likely rely on expert picks.  They’ve probably got a great bracket app too!

Structural: The Bracket Tracker

This attribute knows when the tournament begins, when brackets are due, and when the finals occur. They’re a great asset when setting up a March Madness pool as they can navigate how to set up brackets and run the pools.  Their selections are most likely informed by the seed rating or how the team has done in the past (either in tournament play or win/loss record for the season).  They’ll probably diagram out their bracket to track its status throughout the tournament.  And chances are they know the schedule for every game and have a plan for watching key games.

Social: The Cinderella Story

They will join a pool because their friends are in it or they may even be the instigator for the office pool.  Watching basketball with a group of friends usually beats watching it by themselves.  They may consult their friends when making bracket selections and share their top teams on social media.  Most likely, they’re going to pick their alma matter to go all the way, regardless if they’re a #16 seed. After all, stories of amazing comebacks and overcoming adversity fuel the interest of the social brain.

Conceptual: Mascots & Colors

Unique and different strategy to selecting your bracket?  You may have a preference in yellow!  This attribute doesn’t base their selections on stats or facts and figures. They’re usually more intrigued by the mascots and team colors.  They’re probably more excited by “March Madness” as a whole rather than just one game like “Gonzaga vs Arizona”. They enjoy the challenge of predicting a bracket, will rely on gut feelings and expect the underdog to win, but may forget to actually turn in their bracket on time!

But it’s not just all about how people THINK about March Madness. The great thing about Emergenetics is that people can see your behaviors, and that shines through very clearly in the case study of March Madness.


Those who are at the quiet end of the Expressiveness spectrum will quietly fill out their bracket, keeping their brackets close to the vest.  Even though they could be devastated when their team is knocked out of the tournament, they may not show it on the outside.  A simple smile or congratulatory email may suffice when their team wins.

The opposite end of the spectrum contains the people who will not only share their final four teams, but also their elite eight, their sweet sixteen and their bracket selection strategy!  They’ll tell you all about the status of their bracket.  Expect pure joy to radiate from them when their team wins and if their team loses, they’ll be ripe with melancholy.


Fans who fall in the competitive end of the spectrum may convince you their bracket picks are right and their bracket selection method is superior.  They can be the classic arm-chair quarterback and you should expect to hear from them if the ref misses a key foul.  While they may or may not be the instigator of trash-talking, they most likely will engage and certainly defend their team or strategy!

Those on the opposite end of the spectrum may be entertained by the trash talking, but will just observe the discussion and not engage.  Chances are they have a strong appreciation for the sportsmanship aspect of March Madness, and if the trash-talking gets really out of hand, they’re probably going to get uncomfortable.


Busted bracket?  Team knocked out in the first round?  Might not be a huge problem for those in the accommodating end of the spectrum.  They could find a new team to root for the remainder of the tournament.  Busted bracket for someone on the other side of the spectrum?  Devastated.  And if the ref’s don’t call a key play, it could ruin their night.


The site will ask you to set up a username for CBS Sports and ask you for the password to access the Emergenetics Group.  Type in the password: Emerge

And new this year, we’re entering 4 special brackets in the Emergenetics March Madness pool.  We’ve assigned a strategy and set of behavioral attributes to each color. Be sure to enter our March Madness pool and see which bracket reigns supreme.