- Do not pick a 16-seed over a 1-seed. Ever.
It has never happened, and it probably won’t for a long time. And if you think Kentucky is losing early, you must be crazy. However, a 15-seed over a 2-seed has happened a few times recently.
- Don’t be biased.
Most years, your favorite team won’t win every game. Just because you watched your favorite team all year long, you probably don’t know how good other teams are. Pick with your head, not your heart.
- Always include one or two 1-seeds in the Final Four.
Only once (2008) have all four 1-seeds made the Final Four. Yet, at the same time, at least one 1-seed has reached the Final Four almost every year since 1979. No. 2 seeds have reached 31 of those 36 years.
- Flip a coin for the 8/9 games.
No. 9 seeds have won 50.8% of the games, so you may want to let chance take over. However, the Pomeroy College Basketball Rankings have been correct about these games the last two years.
- Pick a couple 12-seeds to win a game or two.
Watch out, 5-seeds! 28 No. 12 seeds have won in the Round of 64 since 1999.
- Also, pick a few 11-seeds to win.
This has happened every season for the last 10 years. Maybe a talented Texas team or BYU can make some noise this year.
- All 1-seeds will advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Since 1997, 1-seeds are 41-5 against 8/9-seeds. They are the four best teams in the country for a reason.
- When in doubt, pick the better coach.
Tom Izzo (Michigan State) is currently the best coach in March. Other coaches include Coach K (Duke), Calipari (Kentucky), Roy Williams (UNC), Rick Pitino (Louisville), Bill Self (Kansas), Shaka Smart (VCU), and Bo Ryan (Wisconsin).
- Risky early, sensible later.
As we all know, big seeds can lose early. However, here are the seeds that have never reached the Final Four: 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Do not pick those teams to go far.
- The team with better guards usually wins.
Like John Calipari says, a good tournament team needs three solid guards. His team has exactly that this year. Teams that can run the floor, handle the ball well, and hit free throws are the ones with the best success rate in March.
- Pick a high seed to win the whole tournament.
Eleven of the last 16 national champions were 1-seeds. Four of the other five were 2 or 3 seeds. According to ESPN, more than half of the brackets have Kentucky winning it all. Be different!
- When in doubt, pick a team with blue jerseys.
Ten of the last 11 champions (Louisville as the exception) have had some shade of blue on their jersey. Sorry Wisconsin fans.
- Pick one 13-seed to beat a 4-seed.
This upset has occurred in 6 of the last 7 seasons. Harvard has been known to make little runs in the tournament. Also, Georgetown usually melts in March, so an Eastern Washington victory is not far-fetched.
- Say good-bye to one of your 2-seeds early.
Only once since 1996 have all 2-seeds advanced to the Sweet 16. Teams like Michigan State, VCU, and Wichita State might be able to help you out in this department.
- Listen to the experts.
People like Nate Silver and Ken Pomeroy are my personal favorites because they break down games by the numbers. And when in doubt, go with your gut. However, never forget the madness of March.