By//Creighton Hart (Special Contributor)
Every year college basketball fans look forward to the event that is the NCAA tournament, better known as “March Madness.” Everything from upsets to buzzer beaters will be on full national display, adding to the excitement. Then there’s the bracket, the 64-team spread of teams which fans and experts must narrow down to one to predict who will be the national champion. Here are some JET-powered tips that will help you fill yours out and have office bragging rights, at least until next spring.
1. Never doubt a No. 1 seed in the first round
There is a reason why teams want to be a No. 1 seed in the tournament. No. 1 seeds are 112-0 in the tournament’s 73-year history in the first round. It’s safe to say the trend will continue.
2. Forget regular season records and rankings
It now means nothing. Momentum from late in the regular season and conference tournaments can carry over to the NCAA tournament. Look at teams who are getting hot at the right time and chances are they can make a run. Take Connecticut in 2011, which overcame a disappointing regular season with a Big East tournament championship and rode that momentum all the way to the national title.
3. Be aware of Cinderella
Almost always, the glass slipper fits a little-known team that makes a run in the tournament who usually sends a favorite home early. In recent years Butler, George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth have all played the role of Cinderella, advancing to the Final Four with Butler being national runner-up back-to-back years in 2010 and 2011.
4. Trust your gut
Only fill out one bracket. Even if you are entering different pools enter the same bracket. Filling out multiple brackets will make you second guess every decision you’ve made.
5. Throw emotions and loyalty out the window
This notion may not work in everyday relationships but when it comes to filling out a bracket it applies.
You can still sing your Alma mater’s fight song in your heart, but if they aren’t playing well down the stretch don’t feel bad for not picking them to advance in your bracket.