Filling out a March Madness bracket this year? These tips could help you! I stumbled upon these on USA Today and thought they were genius!
Check these out:
1. Don't pick a team that hasn't been better than .500 in its past 10 games. Ahem, Texas, Ohio State and Michigan (5-5 in last 10 games) or Marquette (4-6 in the last 10). A winning bracket takes a little research. Assess a team's play in late February and early March, because as much as the tournament is about matchups, a team that's playing poorly shouldn't be ignored.
2. Don't put too much stock in recent streaks. Don't be the person who says, "Oh, they won their conference tournament, they're a good Elite Eight dark horse." That's lazy. Virginia Tech is a good example. A team's streak should be a factor, but don't let that motivate you to completely ignore a bad matchup. The Hokies will be mismatched in a variety of ways if they reach the second round vs. Purdue.
3. Don't assume a team that did well last year, or even historically, will win this year. There's a ton of turnover in college basketball, especially with the new transfer rules. Yes, blue-bloods and historically strong teams are a good starting point, but make sure to do a little investigating. Reigning national champion Baylor, for instance, is not as Final Four capable as last year despite having a No. 1 seed.
4. Don't pick a team because it's your favorite. Fandom could drive your bracket into the ground if you're not careful. Don't overlook Davidson's first-round advantage over Michigan State just because you want to see the Spartans in the Sweet 16.
5. Don't pick a No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1. It won't happen again. While UMBC's 2018 upset of top overall seed Virginia busted brackets everywhere, it took 136 tries for it to happen. It's unlikely the same fate would occur to one of the four No. 1s this year. A No. 15 seed, similar to Oral Roberts shocking Ohio State last year, is definitely possible. Same goes for a No. 14 seed (like, say, Colgate). Plus, if you make that 16-over-1 pick, what's the payoff? You get one first-round pick right on the good end. Is it for bragging rights? Pick wrong and you lose a potential Sweet 16, Elite Eight or Final Four finisher.