by DJ Gallo

Also Receiving Votes

  • Don't underestimate the mid-majors
  • But don't overestimate them either
  • I don't know … just guess and hope for the best

Oddities

  • Odds on how bracketologists spend the other 11 months of the year:
  • 5 to 1 Teaching bracketology at their local community college
  • 3 to 1 Locked away in an underground prison until they're needed again
  • 2 to 1 Enjoying all of the bracketology groupies

Not In This Issue

  • Hungover NCAA selection committee disgusted to roll over and see it put Arkansas in
  • Kansas worried about lack of scouting report on Play-In State
  • Everyone doubting George Mason's ability to reach the Final Four again
ESPN Conversations

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  • Steps To Take To Win Your NCAA Tournament Pool
  • 1 Fill Out Two Brackets

    It's always smart to fill out two brackets -- one picking your favorite team to win it all, and one in which you use your head and pick a team with a legitimate shot to cut down the nets. Because, let's be honest, your favorite team probably isn't going to win the national championship. (There, there. Don't cry. Wipe your tears with the worthless bracket you used to pick your favorite team.)

  • 2 Go With Teams That Finished Strong

    Momentum is huge going into the NCAA Tournament. A team that finished the season on a hot streak is likely to continue to play well once the tournament begins. That's why in my bracket I'm putting Syracuse through to the Sweet 16, their actual inclusion in the tournament be damned.

  • 3 Beware The 5-12 Games

    At least one No. 12 seed has upset a No. 5 seed in the last six NCAA Tournaments. This year's 5 vs. 12 pairings include Butler-Old Dominion, Virginia Tech-Illinois, USC-Arkansas and Tennessee-Long Beach State. Look for Tennessee to fall in a karma-related loss due to Bruce Pearl showing the world his orange-painted breasts.

  • 4 Avoid The Chalk

    All four No. 1 seeds are not going to reach the Final Four. But all four won't miss out either. The trick is correctly predicting which top seeds are which. So go do that now. Finished? OK, let's move on.

  • 5 Find The Paper Tigers

    Every year there is at least one wildly overrated high seed that built a gaudy record feasting on a schedule full of cupcakes. Find this team and put them down in your bracket for an "upset." Oh, and by the way, here is a completely unrelated footnote you may find interesting: the term "paper tiger" is gradually being replaced in the English language by the more easily understood "Memphis Tiger."

  • 6 Get Help From Someone Who Knows College Basketball

    Don't be ashamed to ask for assistance. And, if possible, hire a bracketologist to help you. But be sure to hire a licensed bracketologist. Don't make my mistake. I once hired a guy who turned out to be an unlicensed bracketologist and got stuck with a $1,000 bill and Duke as my national champion pick.

  • 7 Take It Seriously

    Don't just fill in your picks in a minute or two. There is money on the line and you should put some thought into it. Respect the process. For example, if you don't write out your bracket in a pen color that matches the color of your tie, you're not even trying.

  • 8 Just Run The Pool Yourself

    Somebody in your office has to collect all of your brackets and keep track of who is winning. It may as well be you. And for your efforts, you may as well fill out a new bracket after the first round is complete with 31 of the 32 games correct, thereby giving yourself a virtually insurmountable lead in your pool. (The incorrect pick is so no one gets suspicious, of course.)

Monday March 12

  • 1 Avengers at Predators: 7 pm, ESPN2

    In tonight's Arena League Football game, the Predators will strike first and inflict great damage, per their natural inclination. But mark my words, the Avengers will regroup, marshal their forces and even the score in the second half.

  • 2 NCAA Women's Basketball Selection Special: 8 pm, ESPN HD

    Hopefully the copier at your office isn't worn out from printing men's brackets because it will need to make more once the women's brackets come out. Possibly as many as two or three more.

  • 3 Rockets at Suns: 10 pm, NBA TV

    Steve's a peace-loving, tousle-haired Canadian. Yao's an injury-prone, crew-cut-wearing giant from China. Together they're the stars of NBA TV's new sitcom "Two And A Half Men."

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