Rules to Abide By: Your March Madness Etiquette Guide

Jake LivinstonCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2009

It's that time of year, again. Yep, February has been ripped off our calendars and staring us in the face is the month of March.

To college basketball fans, March is the Promised Land. We have gone through four months of a long roller coaster ride that is the regular season, and March is the final destination.

When it comes to the NCAA tournament, we look over each game, we criticize the selections, we record every game, and, most importantly, we predict the entire tourney.

The bracket is a thing of beauty to sports fans. On it, we predict the entire tournament and who will win each game. Hours are spent contemplating and pondering which team to pick—Kansas or Villanova?

Because March Madness is such a big event, there have to be rules to follow. So, without further ado, here is your March Madness etiquette guide.

Rules for filling out your bracket:

  1. Only one bracket!—Nobody's going to be impressed when you go claiming that you had Davidson in the Elite Eight or the 14 seed winning on your FOURTEENTH bracket.
  2. Pick at least three total upsets—It's not cool to have all one, two, three, four, and five's in the Sweet Sixteen. Everyone else is taking chances and so should you. This doesn't include a nine seed over an eight or a five over a four. The upsets can be spread out over the entire tournament.
  3. No changing your bracket after the tournament starts—Just because Digger Phelps and Dick Vitale tell you that Purdue will beat Oklahoma and the game hasn't started yet doesn't mean that you can change it.
  4. No taking bribes to make stupid picks—If your buddy says he'll give you five bucks to pick two 15 seeds in the National Championship, don't accept. If you do this, the title of "fan" will be stripped from you.
  5. Don't copy another bracket—Yes, another bracket out there may look just like yours and a few winners can be taken from an expert's bracket, but if yours is the exact same as Barack Obama's or Jay Bilas's, that is 100 percent cheating. That should result in an automatic disqualification.
  6. Be able to back up your picks—If your co-worker or buddy asks you why you have a 13 seed over a 4 seed, you better have an explanation. Saying that you had a hunch won't cut it.
  7. Only show your bracket to five people—This is pretty self-explanatory. Your bracket may be shown to any person who submitted their picks already.
  8. Only take advice from five people—This, too, is pretty self-explanatory. Up to three pieces of advice may be applied to your bracket from each person or you can use 15 total.
  9. Have fun!—Don't stress out over your bracket. If stuck on one, just pick one.

Now that you have your guidelines for filling out your bracket, buckle up, and get set for the NCAA tournament.

Selection Sunday, here we come!