Which team will hold the NCAA championship trophy this year? Check out our 21 NCAA bracket tips and see.
1. As tempting as it might be, never pick a 16- or 15-seed to win in the first round. Since the field went to 64 teams in 1985, a 16 has never won and 15s are 4-104.
2. By the way, none of the four 15-seeds that pulled off first-round upsets won their second game, including Steve Nash’s Santa Clara in 1993.
3. Don’t pick hyphenated schools to go too far. No school with a hyphen has ever advanced to the Final Four. Sorry, UNC-Asheville and LIU-Brooklyn.
4. It's always good to take a 12-seed over a 5. New Mexico and Temple look most vulnerable at No. 5, so take Long Beach State and/or Cal (if they win Wednesday).
5. Speaking of No. 12 seeds, they astonishingly win their second game almost 50 percent (19-20) of the time. But, they are 1-18 in their third game.
6. Keep an eye on injuries and suspensions: Indiana, Syracuse and Michigan State have all lost key players. Notre Dame and Marquette lost pivotal players during the season.
7. Were Butler and VCU small-conference aberrations or part of a growing trend? Until we have further data, stick with the Bigs in your Final Four. Sorry, Belmont, Ohio and Murray State.
8. Don’t pick double-digit seeds into your Final Four. It’s only happened 3 times in 189 tries since 1985.
9. Oddly enough, all three of the double-digit seeds to make the Final Four were No. 11 seeds (VCU, George Mason, LSU).
10. If you’re looking for a good second-round upset, No. 10 seeds are a formidable 21-29 vs. No. 2s. Duke-Xavier, Missouri-Virginia, Ohio State-W. Virginia and Kansas-Purdue take note.
11. Don’t pick schools that start with “St.” Saints have never won the tournament and none have advanced to the Final Four since St. John’s in 1985. Sorry, St. Bonaventure and St. Mary’s.
12. Catholic schools have won the tournament seven times (Holy Cross, LaSalle, San Francisco, Loyola of Chicago, Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova) but are without a title since 'Nova in 1985 …
Notre Dame forward Jack Cooley
14. Don’t pick any schools from the state of Illinois. Oh, wait. Never mind, we don’t have any. (Loyola, by the way, is the state's only champion.)
15. Be careful about high-power offenses that can’t back it up with defense. Belmont, Creighton, New Mexico St., Davidson and possibly Duke fall into this category.
16. North Carolina (82 ppg) and Missouri (80) have high-octane offenses, but they hold their opponents to 66 and 65, respectively. Keep them.
17. Be careful about selecting Final Four schools that end in “State” and don’t start with Ohio or Michigan. Oklahoma State is the only one besides Sparty and the Buckeyes to make the Final Four in the last 15 years ….
18. Sorry, Iowa State, Wichita State, New Mexico State, South Dakota State, Long Beach State, Murray State, Colorado State, Norfolk State, Kansas State, Florida State, San Diego State, N.C. State.
19. That should leave you with Kentucky, Baylor, Michigan State, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, North Carolina and Kansas in your Elite Eight.
20. From here we apply the NBA-impact player theory. Ohio State, Baylor and Kansas each have one or two players who should excel at the next level. North Carolina has at least three that should carry them to the final. But …
21. Kentucky wins it all with four, possibly five, NBA first-round picks.