How I pick an NCAA Tournament bracket

It's Monday morning, and like many Americans, I am at a desk, looking up information on college basketball teams that I have only a passing familiarity with. I'm giving up the chance to get ahead on my work, being unproductive on my company's time, filling my brain with minutiae and trends, creating mental clutter...

It's March, it's NCAA Tournament time, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Some brackets to print, discussion of the Rumble's bracket Challenge and a large Bracket Challenge SB Nation has put together with Yahoo!, some lines of thinking for putting together brackets... below the fold.

Before we get started:

First, get your (printable) NCAA bracket. You'd be surprised how many brackets aren't designed for printing. If you want times and records, you may prefer 2012 ncaa bracket times + records. Click to embiggen.

2012ncaa_mensbracket_medium

Second, join a bracket. I have one on ESPN and a few on Yahoo!; SB Nation is helping cover costs on the Rumble and other SB Nation sites through the Wisdom of the Crowds bracket. So check that out.

And we here at the Rumble have a Bracket Challenge with no money involved, just pride. All are welcome, the password is garden2012.

Third, stop worrying. It's kind of like dating - if you put too much pressure on yourself, try to hard, the results aren't great. Be yourself. Follow your dislikes. Acknowledge your hates. Then insert some logic.

For example, say you hate the way Kentucky does business with their one-and-dones, their loud tradition, their slick Calipari. That's going to work into your feelings about picking UK, and you might have valid points about a lack of experience. You've acknowledged your hate.

Now, add the logic. Kentucky has lost two games - the second in the SEC title game after which Cal - and Cal wished the loss would have happened earlier so his team could rest more. So don't knock Kentucky out in the first round. But in the Elite Eight? Even the Sweet Sixteen? Run with it.

After that, I go to the stats sites (sports-reference.com, statsheet.com, or kenpom.com if you have a subscription), and I look for:

  • sitting ducks - those major conference teams that sleepwalk'd their way through much of the season (UConn, for example),
  • wildly flawed teams with poor defenses and great offenses (like Duke, Missouri) - Luke Winn agrees, those teams just don't win it all;
  • teams that find new and improved ways to lose strange games (like Florida - look at their last 3 weeks),
  • three-pointer dependent teams with no inside balance (Notre Dame),
  • teams with talented future pros who can play (which could be UConn... or better yet, UNC),
  • don't discount a great NCAA Tournament coach like Tom Izzo,
  • and of course, the classic 12/5 upset pick.

Mind you, some of these tips get me wins... but I haven't won a bracket in years, unfortunately. And that's because there's no science, really; you're safe going with no upsets, and some team will come out of nowhere and illogically win a number of games. Maybe it's the Colorado schools. Or Harvard.

How do you go about picking your brackets? Which team will emerge from the field of 68 and surprise?

Yahoo! Tourney Pick'em supports SBNation and the best college sports tournament of the year. Join the bracket pools of Drew Brees, Michael Phelps, and Lil Wayne-- all while competing in the $5 million Perfect Bracket and $10,000 Best Bracket Sweepstakes. Be part of the best and biggest Yahoo! Sports tourney game yet – sign up today!

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker