NCAA Bracket 2012: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Filling out Your Bracket

Matt OveringContributor IIIMarch 11, 2012

NCAA Bracket 2012: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Filling out Your Bracket

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    Tournament time is here. NCAA tournament brackets are set and fans are already pissed that their team didn't make the field or their team has a tough road. 

    When you fill out your bracket, remove personal bias. Your may love your LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, but don't pick them to beat Michigan State.

    With that being said, your opinion is what makes selecting brackets so unique. You dictate who wins and who loses. When you're right, brag about it. When you're wrong, blame someone else.

    The greatness of March is upon us. Here are seven mistakes to avoid when filling out your NCAA tournament bracket.

Don't Second-Guess Yourself

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    First things first: don't second-guess yourself.

    If you have that good feeling about Davidson over Louisville, take it. You'll be kicking yourself if the Cardinals lose, and even more so if Davidson makes a run like they did in 2008.

    You get to pick your bracket. Not your friends, not me, not any expert analyst. You. Go with your gut and hope for the best. 

Don't Guess

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    I may be preaching to the choir, but do your research. 

    Upsets will happen. Don't pick all the five seeds and all the six seeds to advance to the third round. The chances of that happening are slim to none. 

    Research what teams have a great chance of advancing. Look at advanced metrics like the Kenpom and Sagarin rankings to see which teams have the advantage.

Don't Make the Same Picks

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    If you're doing multiple brackets, which I highly encourage for maximum March bliss, diversify your picks.

    Don't pick the same upsets. 

    Don't pick the same team to win it all.

    Don't pick the same Cinderella to make the Final Four.

    Chances are you'll have that "good feeling" for multiple teams. Change it up when you make a new bracket.

Don't Pick All Favorites

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    If you pick the favorite to win every game, you won't do well.

    So don't.

    You can still pick your No. 1 seeds (Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and Michigan State for those of you who are living under a rock) to advance deep into the NCAA tournament, but don't go picking seeds 3-8 to have an easy win in the first round. 

    For those games that are tough to decide, don't pick based on seed. Use your superior intuition to find a reason behind your picks.

Don't Pick Based on Record

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    Steve Prohm and Murray State have the best record in college basketball. Does that make them the favorite to win it all?

    Absolutely not.

    Just because a team has a better record doesn't mean they have a better body of work compared to their opponent. It also doesn't mean that team will win.

    Records can serve as a gauge for who you think will win, but check the strength of schedule and quality wins before you pencil in Murray State as the NCAA tournament champion.

Don't Pick Based on Polls

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    If we were picking based on polls, Syracuse would have won the Big East tournament, Kentucky the SEC and North Carolina the ACC. 

    Rankings aren't the definitive answer to who is the better team, evident in Mick Cronin (pictured) and Cincinnati in their run through the Big East tournament.

    Like records, use polls and rankings as a gauge to a prediction, but you have the final say. 

Don't Pick a 16 Seed

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    As enticing as it may sound to pick UNC-Asheville over Syracuse, don't.

    There is a reason no 16-seed has made it past a play-in game. It doesn't happen and it won't.

    If it does, a head coach should get fired. It is unprecedented for something like that to happen, and even if you have a good feeling about a 16-seed, don't take it.

    The NCAA tournament will have its upsets. Top seeds will fall. Just not in the second round.