Do's and Don't's for filling out brackets
By Dan Shanoff
Special to Page 2

You've checked out the team pages. You've scanned Page 2's "What's Hot, What's Not" List. Before you strike Bic to bracket, be sure to check out the list of entry-sheet DO's and DON'T's - plus a few other relevant Tourney-related rules. You can pass it along to your friends if you want, 'cause the only thing you have on the line is your pride, right?

Bobby Knight
Don't think a new school will change Bobby Knight's luck.
1. DON'T pat yourself on the back for picking a 10 seed over a 7 -- it barely qualifies as a "technical upset."

2. DO remember that Bobby Knight hasn't done anything special in the Tourney in a decade.

3. DON'T overlook that Duke has no depth.

4. DO always pick at least one 12 seed over a 5.

5. DON'T you think Ashley Judd sightings make watching Kentucky games bearable?

6. DO lobby the NCAA for a permanent tournament subregional site in Boise, Idaho.

7. DON'T forget to prepare a nifty looking dummy spreadsheet.

8. DO practice "Alt-Tab" on your computer keyboard, a command that flips your computer screen from's NCAA Tournament scoreboard to that spreadsheet.

9. DON'T try to write off office-pool losses on your taxes.

10. DO expect crazy things to happen in the West Region.

Ashley Judd
It's hard to root against Kentucky's No. 1 fan, Ashley Judd (with husband Dario Franchitti).
11. DON'T waffle; go with your gut.

12. DO watch where a team is playing (see: Pitt @ Pitt)

13. DON'T fear the chalk; it's easier to laugh at the person who wrongly guesses Kansas will lose than to laud the person who correctly guesses the same.

14. DO be conservative in Final Four picks.

15. DON'T be timid about forecasting one-off early-round upsets.

16. DO pity the players who suffer from "Short-Stay Syndrome" -- losing the Tourney's opening game on Thursday.

17. DON'T be afraid to shamelessly hoist yourself onto new bandwagons, once your picks have busted.

18. DO learn the words to fight songs for at least four teams in your Sweet 16, so you can belt them out at work as if you've sung them all your life.

19. DO postulate that Gonzaga is peeved, but also distracted.

20. DON'T pick a school just because you went there.

Dan Dickau
Don't underestimate the power of Dan Dickau's hair.
21. DO pick a school just because your boss went there.

22. DON'T listen to your co-worker with the gambling problem.

23. DO listen surreptitiously to the Internet-audio game broadcasts in your work cubicle.

24. DON'T forget to mock NIT-bound Rick Pitino and John Calipari.

25. DO your homework.

26. DON'T overweight overall record.

27. DO consider strength of schedule.

28. DON'T psyche yourself out staring at seedings.

29. DO schedule an out-of-office "meeting" from noon to 5 p.m. ET this Thursday.

30. DON'T get caught at the bar next door to the office.

Rick Majerus
Do trust Rick Majerus when it comes to food advice.
31. DO understand that Maryland and Virginia are the only teams in the country that aren't intimidated by Duke. (And UVA's in the NIT.)

32. DON'T pick a team that is not sponsored by a major shoe company.

33. DO use fashionable hairstyles as an indicator of talent. (See Devin Davis in '97, Marvin O'Connor in '01, Dan Dickau in '02).

34. DON'T bother trying to figure out what a "Saluki" is.

35. DO ask Utah coach Rick Majerus for restaurant recommendations in Sacramento, Calif.

36. DON'T pick against a good team merely out of spite.

37. DO make at least one first-round pick using a variation of the Duane-from-"What's-Happening" Theory, selecting the team with the cooler uniform.

38. DON'T pick based on cool nickname, however.

39. DO go where they ain't. Fortune favors the bold. Avoid picking Duke, Maryland or Kansas all the way.

40. DON'T fill out your bracket in pencil. Erasers are for the weak. If you have to, scratch out your pen marks, so the whole world can see your indecision.

Dan Shanoff is a regular contributor to Page 2.



Dan Shanoff Archive

Shanoff: The NCAA Hot 'n' Not List

Email story
Most sent
Print story

espn Page 2 index