We shared our five tips for filling out your bracket last night. But because you re you, and you no doubt have any number of superstitions that you simply must follow, any number of totally surefire methods for winning the pool, you re going to go your own way.
But, seriously, don t do these things:
1. Picking a 16-seed to upset a no. 1 seed. No 16 seed has ever won. There is a much better chance that ignoring the ones will break your bracket than the 16 seed will be a Cinderella. Saying, WEBER STATE IS THE TEAM WHO WILL DO IT! will end in disappointment.
2. Paying absolutely no mind to where games are being played. Are they playing in front of a hostile home crowd? Flying across the country? Does their conference require much travel, so they are used to playing in different time zones? Or are they an East Coast-only team playing on the West Coast? This all matters in how a team will acclimate to the tournament, and how they will do in your bracket. We pointed out previously that this element can be overrated; not every team playing close-ish to home will win. But you can t throw this out completely, particularly in the first two rounds. It matters.
3. Looking only at their overall record, and not paying attention to their streak. Look beyond their record. Have they stumbled late in the season, like Kentucky and Syracuse? Or have they corrected early problems and gone on a run in their conference tournament?
4. Taking a flyer because you like the team mascot, school name, or because your brother s college roommate dated a girl who went to the school. Cinderellas will emerge, but there is a pattern. The most recent Cinderella teams have been full of seniors who have played together for four years with a smart coach who knows how to get the best from his guys. It s smart to predict a few upsets, but don t just take a leap of faith. Yes, George Washington was a great president. It doesn t mean his namesake school will make it to the Final Four.
5. Being sentimental. Your alma mater making the tournament is a fun experience, but that has nothing to do with your bracket. A diploma from Arizona State is not a good enough reason to put them in the Final Four.