How to Pick a Winning NCAA Tournament Bracket: 2009 Edition

It is the ultimate activity for bragging rights: the NCAA Tourney.  Whether you are male or female, young or old, spend hours picking your brackets or chose your teams by who would win a fight between the mascots, anyone can fill out a bracket and have a chance to win.  In fact, a couple of years ago the winner who predicted George Mason to go to the Final Four did so because he thought they were George Washington.  So, here are 21 little tidbits of info for your bracket picking pleasure.   

1. Don’t trust Dick Vitale or Bob Knight for that matter.  They get paid to talk, not think.

2. Only once (last year) have all four number 1 seeds made the Final Four.  It is the exception that proves the rule: Don’t put all four no. 1 seeds in the Final Four.  It will not happen this year.  Best best this year not to make the Final Four: UCONN.  One of their best players, Jerome Dyson, got hurt, they struggled down the stretch, and they have the best 2 seed opposite them, Memphis.

3. A 16 has never beaten a 1.  There is a reason they are a 16 seed.

4. A 15 rarely beats a 2.  Don’t pick this unless you feel lucky or your alma-mater is playing.

5. A 14 or a 13 beats a 3 or a 4 seed practically ever year.  Take a shot with one of these, because if you get it right you are a genius or at least you can claim to be.  Possibly Cleveland St. this year.

6. A 12 will beat a 5, maybe 2 of them.  Pick one maybe two and feel good about your chances.  Lots of experts like Arizona over Utah and so does Vegas.  I think Western Kentucky, who beat Louisville earlier in the season has a great shot against Illinois.

7. I hate the 6-11 game, because 6 seeds can made a deep run, they have enough talent, but they are inconsistent or else they would be a higher seed.  At least one 6 seed will made it to the Sweet Sixteen.  At least one 6 seed will lose in the opening round.  Good luck.  VCU over UCLA.  Maybe WVU over KU.  Maybe ASU over Syracuse to the Sweet 16.

8. Both the 7-10 games and the 8-9 games are toss ups.  Never refer to a 9 beating an 8 an upset.  It isn’t an upset.  They are the same caliber of team.  The only people who call them an upsets are “experts” who are too chicken to pick an actual upset.  A 10 over a 7 just barely qualifies for an upset, you cannot brag about your 10 seed beating a 7 seed as your upset special. 

9. At least one 1 seed will not made it to the Elite Eight, yet all the reporters will be shocked when this happens, you should not be. 

10. At least one 2 seed will not make it to the Sweet Sixteen, yet again all the reporters will be shocked when this happens, you should not be.  Duke and OU are most likely to be upset.

11. In looking for an upset, never pick a lower seeded team that plays the same style as a higher seeded team.  What makes us think that a  full court press fast break team with marginal athletes beat one with stellar athletes.

12. Teams that play defense tend to win more games.   Especially look for defensive-minded teams playing not-so-defensive-minded teams.  It’s pretty simple but we forget about this.

13. Guard play wins in the tourney.  It is not that post players are not important, just that guards are more important.  Think Davidson last year.  We can remember their 2 guards: Stephen Curry and Jason Richards, but we can’t name anyone else, which is one reason why I think it is possible Oklahoma State to make a run in the tourney.

14. If you pick a team to go to the Final Four, they need to have at least one player who will go to the NBA.

15. At least 3 of the Final Four teams will be top 3 seeds in their regions, and a top 3 seed will win the National Championship.

16. Find yourself a Cinderella and dance with her to the Sweet 16, take a 10 seed or a 12 seed to win their first 2 games, it makes the tourney more fun.  Western Kentucky and Michigan are some possibilities. 

17. Location, location, location.  Is there a team that is playing 30 miles from home against a team that is playing 3000 miles from home.  Advantage closer team.  Especially pay attention to lower seeds that are significantly closer than their opponents.  Villanova is in Philly for the first 2 rounds.  Send them straight to the Sweet 16.

18. Experience matters.  Looking for an upset special?  Try going with a team that has been to the Big Dance recently or has an experienced ball club.  VCU beat Duke 2 years ago.

19. Balance your head and your heart in choosing winners.  I’m an Oklahoma St. fan, but that’s not enough reason to think that they are going to the Final Four.  However, you know more about the teams you watch, use that knowledge, and you will also enjoy watching the game more if you pick your favorite team to win. 

20. Pick a whole bracket on what you hope to have happen that way if everything works out, you can brag about your great bracket.  Or pick a bracket where you select stuff straight from your heart like my wife did in her blog, an excellent read.

21. Don’t let your bracket ruin March Madness for you.  If your bracket is busted, get over it.  It doesn’t mean you are dumb, it means that March Madness is well, madness.

If you need help keeping up with your bracket and you don’t have an Iphone, click here for some tips.


10 thoughts on “How to Pick a Winning NCAA Tournament Bracket: 2009 Edition

  1. i like this entry. i feel as though i have been a nervous old woman waiting for march since about may of last year….

  2. I found this link to the strategy of the ESPN Tourney Challenge Champion from last year. Talk about someone with a little time on his hands, but he won $10,000.

  3. So, I think I will fill out a bracket, as a sort of experimental control. I can honestly claim not having heard one item of College Hoops info since the start of the season. Should be fun. I’m also guessing KSU didn’t make the cut?

  4. Well the brackets are about to be unveiled, I guess early Monday morning for you, so KSU hasn’t been cut yet, but they will be shortly. They were on the bubble, yet didn’t quite get the big wins they needed down the stretch. As for one item of College hoops info: Oklahoma State has won 8 of their last 10.

  5. #10..take it back!!!! And to think I am taking OSU all the way to the Sweet Sixteen. I need a link!!!

  6. I just have to say thank you for this post. I took much of your advice and am killing in my office bracket. And I am one of only two women participating. Thanks!

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