Don’t pick more than two No. 1 seeds to make the Final Four
Three No. 1 seeds advancing to the Final Four is rare. That’s happened four times in the 27-year history of the modern NCAA tournament. And forget about having all four No. 1s go that far; 2008 was the first and last time that feat was accomplished. The numbers say your best bet is to put two No. 1 seeds in the Final Four and fill out the other half with a No. 3 seed and Butler. And, yes, we’re aware Butler isn’t in the tournament this year. That only slightly hinders their chances of advancing to a third-straight Final Four.
Don’t pick crazy upsets, particularly late in the tournament
No NCAA pool was ever won on the first weekend, but plenty have been lost, mainly by people who thought it was a good idea to pick against a tourney favorite in the round of 32. Smaller pools tend to be won by those who play it relatively safe. Granted, defying the odds and successfully picking Creighton over North Carolina will be a bracket story you can tell your grandkids, who will then beat you in an NCAA tournament pool because you’re the kind of person who picks Creighton over North Carolina.
Ignore seeding in the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game
The lower seed is 57-51 overall in those matchups.
Beware of trendy picks
You know what happens when you go all-in on trends? You try to catch up and then — boom — suddenly you’re stuck with a closet full of trucker hats. Since everyone else is bound to hear the same “hot tips” that you do, try and go the other way. Don’t let Missouri or Long Beach State be your skinny jeans.
Defy conventional wisdom
This goes hand-in-hand with “beware of trendy picks.” Remember last year when everyone thought UConn wouldn’t have the legs for the tournament because of the team’s five wins in five nights at the Big East tournament? Or the year before when Duke was getting overlooked because of the team’s recent lack of March success? Treat your bracket like the stock market: Find undervalued teams and ride them to greatness. For this tournament, that means jumping on the stalled jalopy that is the Ohio State bandwagon.
Don’t “show me” the Irish
In Notre Dame’s past 10 tournament appearances, the Fighting Irish have advanced to the second weekend just once. That’s good news for fans of Xavier and Duke.
2012 The Dagger