The NCAA Tournament is an idiot-proof system for entertainment; you can’t screw it up. One and Done, the best team does not always win, and it’s a guaranteed year in and year out that you should expect the unexpected.
Here's a couple of rules that I think need to be followed by everyone participating in the festivities.
Only Have One Bracket of Record
I encourage everyone to participate in as many NCAA Tournament pools known to man, however there’s nothing worse than hearing a guy or girl in your office say, “Well in one pool, I have Kansas winning it all, and the other pool I have North Carolina.”
Nonsense! I understand, you may be decreasing your odds of winning a bracket pool, but it’s the principle of filling out a bracket. I can’t take someone seriously who says they picked the eighth seed to upset the top seed in one bracket, but in their other they have that number-one seed going to the Final Four. It’s hypocrisy at it’s finest.
Please, for the integrity of the event, pick one Final Four, one bracket and enter it in as many places as you’d like.
There’s nothing worse than looking at somebody’s bracket who has the top seed advancing all the way through. It’s boring, it’s no fun and quite frankly more often than not, you’ll be wrong.
I notice it every year, and I especially have noticed it with this year’s tournament bracket. Please take a chance on at least one or two 10/11/12 seeds to make a run in this year’s event.
I expect at least one 12 seed to beat a five. South Dakota State, New Mexico State and Davidson could all be live teams.
The same could be said for Loyola Chicago and the winners of the play-in games in UCLA, St. Bonnies, Syracuse and Arizona State.
The math is in your favor, and sometimes folks, you just have to roll the dice.
Pay Attention to the Coaches
In college basketball, coaching matters. There are certain coaches that have a knack for advancing deep into March. They include Tom Izzo, Roy Williams, John Calipari, Jim Boeheim and Coach K.
And there are other coaches that have had a knack for losing very early in the tournament, guys such as Rick Barnes and Bill Self.
If you reach any moment of indecision, always go with the more battle-tested head coach.
Pay Attention to the Point Spreads
I cannot stress this enough. I’ll always do a preliminary run-through of my bracket, before I even take a look at the spreads, but the spreads are a useful tool in predicting upsets, especially in the first round.
For example, this year Loyola Chicago is an 11 seed, but they are only a 1.5-point underdog against Miami out of the ACC?
A Miami team that beat North Carolina, what gives?
Sometimes, Vegas just knows.
Use the point spreads as a guide. If you see a line in a 5-12 matchup, that’s a lot lower than it should be, take the double-digit seed.
In Vegas, we trust.
Good luck to everyone, and enjoy four of the best days of the year! And in case you're curious, my Final Four is Gonzaga, Arizona, Michigan State and Villanova.