NCAA Tournament 2012 Bracket: 10 Facts You Must Know to Ace Your Picks

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Detail of the NCAA logo under the United States flag during rehearsal for the national anthem before the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament between the Butler Bulldogs and the Connecticut Huskies at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With the 2012 NCAA tournament just hours away from tipping off, the excitement over March Madness is only quelled by the urge to fill out brackets.

Before you turn your final bracket in to the office-pool manager, it’s time to break down the keys to not coming in dead last. We can’t promise you success because it’s an absolute crapshoot, but we can help you get into position not to look like a buffoon.

All of the following are tips you can take to the bank—metaphorically at least.

Printable Bracket here.


10. Get Your Bracket In on Time

I know that this sounds simple and easy, but you would be surprised how many people procrastinate to the point that they miss the opening games. Factor in the new first-round play-in system, and the clock is already ticking on the selection process. Forget Selection Sunday, fans should have selection Monday.


9. Don’t Pick a 16th Seed

Just so you don’t lose your mind and take one of the 16th seeds to upset a No. 1, the No. 16 team is 0-for-108 since the tournament expanded to 64 teams. If that’s not a lead-pipe lock, nothing is!


8. The 5-12 Upset

OMAHA, NE - FEBRUARY 18: Larry Anderson #21 of the Long Beach State 49ers brings in a rebound over Ethan Wragge #34 of the Creighton Bluejays during their game at CenturyLink Center February 18, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. Creighton beat Long Beach State on
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Of all the places on the bracket to go with upsets, it always seems to fall on the shoulders of the No. 5 vs. No. 12 matchup. This year will be no different, as I could see Long Beach State, VCU, the winner of California vs. South Florida and Harvard all beating their respective No. 5 seeds.


7. Travel Factor

While the locations of these games are meant to be neutral, they are much closer to some schools than others. Look for teams like West Virginia, who will be playing 60 minutes from their home arena, to have the advantage over a team like Gonzaga that has to travel from the West Coast.


6. Dreaded 8-9 Matchups

While every season is spent sweating these picks more than any other, the outcome is just 57-51 in favor of the No. 8 seed. This is one of the times when allowing a chicken or an octopus to make your selections can be more effective than doing it yourself based on reason and game film.


5. Overrated Teams to Avoid

Michigan: With a solid year, the Wolverines have yet to prove themselves against stiff competition. Even if they move past the Ohio Bobcats, they will get squashed in the third round.

Georgetown: Upsets all over the board give Belmont a chance in the second round or the winner of NC State vs. San Diego State an easy third-round opponent.

Notre Dame: Stay clear of a fighting Irish team that has only averaged 56.2 points in last five games.


4. Underrated Teams to Ride

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 17:  Chris Smith #5 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball  while defended by Antonio Barton #2 and Adonis Thomas #35 of the Memphis Tigers during the game at KFC YUM! Center on December 17, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (P
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Memphis: The young Memphis Tigers come into this tournament on fire, but they will be tested early and often. If they get on a roll, watch out.

Florida State: The Seminoles proved to the tournament that they are the real deal by beating North Carolina and winning the ACC tournament.

Iona: The top-scoring team in the nation snuck into the NCAA tournament and now looks to put on a scoring display that most big-name schools never see. They could be very dangerous if shots start falling.


3. Elite Eight

Syracuse vs. Florida State

UNC vs. North Carolina State

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 11:  Michael Snaer #21 and the Florida State Seminoles celebrate after their 85-82 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Final Game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Philips Arena on March 11, 2012 in Atl
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Memphis vs. Missouri

Kentucky vs. Duke


2. Final Four

Florida State vs. North Carolina State

Kentucky vs. Missouri


1. 2012 National Champions: Florida State Seminoles

Florida State vs. Kentucky


Check back for more on NCAA Basketball as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s College Basketball Page to get your fill of college basketball.