Filling out a NCAA Tournament bracket is a time-honored tradition shared by those familiar and those new to college basketball.
Everybody fills out a bracket, from President Barack Obama to the paper delivery boy, everybody does it. But the act of filling out a bracket that accurately predicts the winners of each game is task that most novice bracketeers are incapable of completing to perfection.
That’s why College Basketball Talk has decided to let you in on the secret.
We have decided to share our industry secrets with you, providing the most precise and logical advice towards picking the correct winners of all 67 games.
(CLICK HERE: To browse through the rest of our 2013 NCAA Tournament Previews)
1. Always, ALWAYS print out multiple brackets. If you enter multiple pools, it is not necessary to submit the exact same bracket. Hedge your bets.
2. Always, ALWAYS fill out your final bracket in pencil first.
3. Do the right thing and make sure to have at least one double-digit seed in the Sweet Sixteen.
4. There is nothing worse than the guy who picks winners based on history and prestige. Don’t put UNC, UCLA and Arizona in the Elite Eight because it’s UNC, UCLA and Arizona. DON’T BE THAT GUY.
5. A No. 16-seed has never beaten a No. 1-seed. This is not the year it’s going to happen.
6. Use simple abbreviations instead of full school names. This will make it easier to doctor your bracket when Oklahoma (OU) beats your Final Four pick of Georgetown (GU) in the third round. Trust me.
7. Kansas will either lose to a mid-major in the third round/Sweet-16 or will make the Final Four. The Choice is yours.
8. A No. 12-seed almost always upsets a No. 5-seed.
9. If you own a pet, you can ask it to select a winner by placing treats at opposite ends of the room. But if your pet eats both treats, you still have to pick a winner.
10. Do not pick a No. 8-seed or No. 9-seed to upset a No. 1-seed if they are from a power conference. They are just 3-35 against No.1-seeds since 1997.
11. Every difficult decision has an easy resolution: Which team’s mascot would win in a fight? The winning mascot advances.
12. Wisconsin always goes further than you expect.
13. 17 of the 28 NCAA champions since 1985 have been No. 1 seeds. Lower seeds make the Final Four, but they rarely win the whole thing.
14. If you’ve reached your wit’s end and cannot make a decision, don’t fret. Simply grab two beers and drink them as quickly as you possibly can. This won’t help you fill out your bracket, but it will make your work day a lot more interesting.
15. Be reckless early, but sensible late. Montana could beat Syracuse in the second round, but the Griz are not advancing to the Final Four. You want to be the guy who picked the Lehigh and Norfolk State second round upsets. You don’t want to be the guy who picked Lehigh and Norfolk State to make the Final Four.
16. Never EVER bet against Tom Izzo in March.
If you’ve followed these 16 sure-fire tips, your bracket should closely resemble the following image:
You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir