By Ben Krakow
March Madness has arrived once again, and many around the world are filling out online brackets in an effort to win prizes and bragging rights.
If you’ve come for advice, you’re in the right place- this bracket “expert” may have won just a little bit of money last year, due in part to a correct pick of the national championship game along with some stealthy upset picks. I decided to give everyone a little bit of advice on how to pick their brackets this year- and maybe just maybe win some money.
- Don’t second guess yourself – Picking brackets is a huge crapshoot. Go with your gut. You can analyze these match-ups in a million different ways, but anything can happen in one game (see Virginia vs. UMBC last year). Pick quickly and decisively and don’t change your picks unless a big injury or something else game changing is announced.
- Make your own picks – You may not think you know a lot about college basketball, but that doesn’t have to limit your ability to pick. Many bracket pools have surprise winners every year. Just because your parent, grandparent, uncle/aunt, sibling, significant other, best friend, etc. watches a ton of college basketball, they won’t be able to help you that much with bracket picks. You’re better off doing a little bit of research and going with your own picks. There are no bracket experts. Just don’t pick by coolest team colors or best school mascots.
- Be careful with your upset picks – People love cinderella stories like Loyola Chicago was on their run to the Final Four last year. Everyone is trying to find the next one with their picks of those classic 4-13 and 5-12 upset picks. While inevitably there will be at least a couple of those each year, it is often hard to determine which teams are going to be the ones that pull the upset. If you pick too many upsets, your bracket can really go sideways. You’re better off sticking with more chalk picks and hoping for the best. You can actually find more success often nailing smaller upsets in later rounds.
Bottom line? Picking a bracket is tough. You probably won’t win or even come close to winning. Have fun with it, but don’t overthink your choices, and enjoy the madness of those few precious days in March.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org