We’ve all been there. The clock is ticking down on your chance to fill out your bracket, and you’ve done nothing. Heck, you haven’t even watched much basketball at all this year. You’re still stuck on Grayson Allen = Ted Cruz memes while we’ve all progressed to videos of him tripping people set to “Shooting Stars” by the Bag Raiders.
Now you’ve got only a few hours to put your bracket together, you don’t know where to start, and you already said that you were up for that $20 buy-in. You can’t mess this one up. Not after getting publicly and humiliatingly owned for picking Michigan State last season.
This article is for you.
Here are the tips, the tools of the trade, and the insider knowledge that you’ll need to eviscerate your bracket pool.
1. Pick your Sweet Sixteen games first
This is a staple of any successful bracket. Early round matchups are completely irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what teams you think have the quality to make it out of the first weekend. That team you like that starts a 6’8 center and is going up against a 7-foot behemoth in the first round? Don’t worry about it, they’ll be fine. You have to establish the Sweet Sixteen before you can work backwards to notching the first and second round results that will put you in the best possible position.
2. No coach born on the last Sunday of a month has won a title
Don’t take the time to look this up, but trust me it’s true. The best way to use analytics in your bracket is to find weird trivia facts like these and use it to predict future success. You don’t want to be the idiot who thought that, for the first time in history, a 2 seed who played a road game on Nov. 29 where more than 150 combined points were scored would win a championship.
3. Burn an offering to Ken Pomeroy
This should be common knowledge by now. As you worship at the altar of KenPom, make sure you bring a suitable offering to please his holiness. Lamb is suggested, though a spritely calf would work as well.
4. Pick every team you hate
The best way to heighten your enjoyment of March Madness is to make sure that your allegiances between your bracket and your heart are as split as possible. It isn’t March until you’re tweeting about how conflicted you are that your favorite 13 seed just took out one of your Final Four selections.
5. The Pac-12 is called the “Conference of Champions” for a reason
No slogan has ever lied ever, so make sure you pick UCLA and their swiss cheese defense to win the national title. The world is too pure to let the best part of this tournament, LaVar Ball takes, go home early.
6. Slow tempo teams always do awesome
The best way to assert your dominance is to shorten the game as much as possible, giving you fewer possessions to separate yourself from your opponent. Whoever you think is going to win the 36-34 game between Virginia and Wisconsin should be your national title selection.
7. Honestly just close your eyes and pick
Want to guarantee you can’t get made fun of for being extremely bad at picking brackets? Put no effort into it and then claim that you don’t care and are actually laughing when you lose your champion on day one. Own yourself before you can get owned.
8. Trust Dan Dakich
His choice of Michigan to win the national title is good and should be copied by you and everyone you know.
9. RPI is the best advanced stat metric to predict success
If it’s good enough for the committee, it should be good enough for you.
10. Don’t pick Duke
They’ve never won.