I have never once missed on a NCAA Tournament pick.
Everyone audibly groans when I enter my bracket pool. They know they are about to lose their entry fee to me. I am the best who has ever done this.
And now, I’m sharing my secrets with you. Yes, I am willing to give away the tips and tools that I use to be so unfathomably successful for free*.
*I claim the right to 10% of your winnings.
Tip #1: Pick Syracuse
Syracuse has earned one of the last spots in the tournament for roughly the 500th consecutive year. Does a 20-13 team who didn’t go .500 in their conference deserve this spot? Is the fact that they’ve beaten precisely zero good teams evidence of them being a “bad team?”
You have to trust the selection committee, and they clearly see greatness in this team, that clearly deserves this spot over the likes of Saint Mary’s or Middle Tennessee State. Syracuse is ripe for a run.
Tip #2: The Big Ten is good
Every Big Ten team in the tournament is a 5 seed or better. Teams that have come out this conference have been forged by fire, toughened in the crucible of competition, and are built to last in March. Every one of these teams should get a long look from you when you fill out your bracket. From the über-athletic Boilermakers, to the consistent greatness of Michigan State, to the depth of Ohio State, all these teams have game.
Tip #3: Lipscomb is going to beat North Carolina
Lipscomb can run with North Carolina and can put up points in a hurry. Their first half against Florida Gulf Coast in the Atlantic Sun Championship was maybe the best offensive performance any team in the country has had all year. The Bisons are your best long shot bet this year.
Tip #4: Defense wins championships
If you think about it, Virginia is the perfect team for March. Their defense is maybe the best the sport has seen and now their offense can almost match it. And the key to the whole operation is their tempo.
If you are a dominant team, which on a per-possession level Virginia clearly is, the key is to make the game as short as possible. The fewer possessions the game has, the more likely it is that the best team will end up coming away with the win. Everyone knows this.
Tip #5: Predicting a bracket is a science and should be done solely for the pursuit of looking smart and not having fun
Something that’s really good and fun to do is to pick games without factoring in how it will effect your experience in watching the games. If you viscerally hate Duke, who sucks and is unlikeable, it’s really fun to pick the Blue Devils to win the entire tournament. It’s fun to root for teams you hate.
Likewise, if you’re a big fan of a team like Loyola-Chicago, it rules to pick them to get bounced in the First Round. The coolest thing you can say in March is “I really like this team, but I picked against them.” It’s fun to do that, and I highly recommend it.
After all, March is serious business, and the only thing that matters in watching sports, which is an entertainment product, is predicting the correct outcomes. Enjoy the madness!