NCAA Bracket 2012: 8 Last-Minute March Madness Bracket Changes You Must Make

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2012

NCAA Bracket 2012: 8 Last-Minute March Madness Bracket Changes You Must Make

0 of 8

    After the four play-in games are finished, the "real" first-round NCAA tournament games begin on Thursday.

    You still have time to make some changes to your bracket.

    Second-guessing is not always a good habit, but making some small adjustments may be what makes the difference between winning and losing the pool(s) that you are in this year.

    Here are eight last-minute March Madness changes you must make.

    For your printable bracket for the 2012 NCAA tournament, click here.

Re-Evaluate All Syracuse Games

1 of 8

    After the news yesterday of Syracuse's center Fab Melo being ineligible for the NCAA tournament, you pretty much have to look at any game involving the Orange and re-evaluate.

    You don't lose the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and just go on with a "business as usual" approach.

    If you had the Orange making a deep run in March Madness, look at the matchups with a fresh set of eyes and see what you think now.

Do Not Predict That a 16-Seed Will Finally Beat a 1-Seed

2 of 8

    I know that if this ever happens and you pick a No. 16 to beat a No. 1, you can call "Scoreboard" on all the rest of us forever.

    You can talk more trash than Gary Payton and Kevin Garnett combined.

    However...Wait for it...It's not happening!

    Since the tournament went to a 64-team tournament in 1985, 108 times a one-seed has played a 16-seed.

    And 108 times the same result.

    I know.

    Princeton almost beat Georgetown back in the day (1989).

    East Tennessee State almost upset Oklahoma in the same year.

    Western Carolina only lost to Purdue by 2 in 1996.

    But, if you try to get cute here, you may screw up a big chunk of your bracket.

I Don't Even Suggest Picking a No. 15 Upset over a No. 2

3 of 8

    Well, at least this one has actually happened four times.

    But that's four out of 108 times.

    Not exactly the kind of odds for which I want to put my paycheck on the line.

    Sorry, Lehigh, Norfolk State, Loyola (MD) and Detroit.

    Go ahead. Lock Duke, Missouri, Ohio State and Kansas in for W's in the first round.

Don't Pick All Four No. 1 Seeds to Make It to the Big Easy

4 of 8

    Having all four No. 1 seeds make it to the Final Four would set up a really nice selection of games.

    We would see Kentucky vs. Michigan State and Syracuse vs. North Carolina.

    I, for one, would be ecstatic because the quality of those contests would be second-to-none.

    However, I wouldn't pick your bracket this way.

    The "Four No. 1s" Final Four has only happened one time.

    In 2008, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA and Memphis all competed to cut down the nets in San Antonio.

    My guess is that we will see a combination of a couple of these teams make it to the Big Easy, but not all four.

Pick at Least One No. 1 Seed for Your Final Four

5 of 8

    On the other hand, if you have created a bracket that doesn't include a No. 1 seed in the Final Four, you may want to rethink that choice.

    It has only happened three times in tournament history:

    • 1980: Louisville (2, champion), Iowa (5), Purdue (6), UCLA (8)
    • 2006: UCLA (2), Florida (3, champion), LSU (4), George Mason (11)
    • 2011: Connecticut (3, champion), Kentucky (4), Butler (8), Virginia Commonwealth (11)

    Just because Kemba Walker and the Huskies made it happen last year, doesn't mean that we will see another Final Four without a No. 1 in New Orleans.

What About Two No. 1's Facing off in the Finals?

6 of 8

    It's real tempting to put two No. 1's in the finals.

    It was so tempting for me that I selected Kentucky and North Carolina to play for all the marbles on April 2nd.

    This has happened six times in tournament history.

    The most recent time was when Kansas took down a Calipari-coached Memphis Tigers' team.

    It's not taking a huge risk to put top-seeded teams in the championship game.

    Even if you don't go with the Wildcats and Tar Heels, it's definitely worth considering.

Who Is Your out-of-the-Box Final Four Pick?

7 of 8

    Who do you have in your Final Four that is an outsider?

    Whether they are a Cinderella story or just an unlikely power conference program, there is usually one team in the national semi-finals that "doesn't belong."

    Butler amazingly made it to the championship game the last two years.

    Shaka Smart got the VCU Rams to last year's Final Four.

    Do you remember when George Mason made their crazy run in 2006?

    When it all shakes down, it may be four expected teams battling in New Orleans.

    I think at least one of the teams will be an "intruder."

    Even though they play in the SEC....maybe Vanderbilt this year?

If Last Year Was Any Indication, Don't Copy the President's Bracket

8 of 8

    Last year, President Obama went chalk with his bracket.

    He predicted that all four No. 1 Seeds would make it to the Final Four.

    He thought that we would all be watching a Ohio State vs. Kansas championship game.

    Not one of these teams made it to Houston. Zero for the Final Four.

    Not hating. Just saying.

    Eric Ostermeier says that the President has "played it safe through his first three brackets as president - picking nine #1 one seeds and three #2 seeds thus far, with a #1 seed as the tourney champion each year."

    If you watch Barack and Andy Katz breaking it down, and your picks line up with the Prez...Beware!