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A dummy’s guide to filling out your bracket

Mar 18, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

Screen shot 2013-03-17 at 6.40.00 PM

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:

source:

You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir

  1. prov1x - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Pretty good bracket until the end, you have the wrong team winning the last game. ;)

  2. klownboy - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I’ve made the fatal mistake in picking Duke to win the 2013 NCAA tourney. Something about Ryan Kelly…
    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-BA

  3. memphistigers311 - Mar 18, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Memphis will be in the round of 32 :)

  4. florida727 - Mar 18, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    As much as I’m a Gators fan, I just can’t pick this team to go far. In their wins, the smallest margin of victory was 10 points. Their losses are by 3, 4, 6, 3, 11, 6, and 1 points. They can’t seem to close out close games. And that’s a bad trend to have to overcome when tournament time rolls around. #3 seed? I don’t know. I do hope they play Georgetown though. That’s the regular season game that got whacked at halftime on the aircraft carrier because of condensation on the court and they couldn’t play the 2nd half. Gators were up 27-23 at recess. Unfinished business.

  5. jthammerstix - Mar 18, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    This example bracket was filled out by someone who has aspergers

  6. necr0philia - Mar 18, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    ==============U===============!!

    ==============M===============!!

    ============CANES============!!

    • jcmeyer10 - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Those pesky Buffaloes will beat them (I expect even more thumbs down than the OP, but I have a feeling, especially being a CU Grad, super objective).

  7. vcupats - Mar 18, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    VCU over Gonzaga in the championship. Finally a non-BCS school breaks through.

  8. adza21 - Mar 21, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Haha, you had Pitt winning, unlucky you ;( I have 100% so far :D

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