NCAA Tournament Bracket 2013: Smart Picks You Must Make

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 19, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 17: Traevon Jackson #12 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives against Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Big Ten Basketball Tournament Championship game at United Center on March 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As you fill out your brackets, there are a few things to consider if you’re planning on finally beating your mom in your family bracket.

Am I the only one that has that happen to them?  Oh, well nevermind then.

In all seriousness, when filling out your brackets, there are a few smart picks you can make in order to win your bracket pool. 


Don’t Count out Wisconsin

Sure, Wisconsin is only a No. 5 seed.  However, they are one of the best teams in the West region, and their path to the Elite Eight wouldn’t be that bad.

The Badgers will be playing Ole Miss in the second round, who has one of the better shooters in the country in Marshall Henderson.  However, the strong defense of the Badgers, who allow only 55.9 points per game, will be able to frustrate the Rebels, leading to a win.

In the third round, the Badgers will likely be playing Kansas State.  The Wildcats are a strong team, with players like Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez.  However, the Badgers are a patient team that play solid, fundamental basketball and can beat a team like Kansas State, who went 1-5 against Top 25 teams this season.

After that, the Badgers would likely play Gonzaga.  Even though the Zags are a No. 1 seed, they weren’t tested much during the season.  They lost their two biggest games against Butler and Illinois, their only two losses this season.  The Badgers defense can hold the Bulldogs to a low-scoring affair, and that is when the Badgers succeed.

Seriously, if you’re trying to make a bracket stand out, then don’t mark off the Badgers too early.


Don’t Buy into the Saint Louis Hype

The Billikens have become a popular pick for a Cinderella story this year, causing a lot of people to put them as far as a Final Four team.

However, you can’t give in to all of the hype.

Overall, their resume is still pretty impressive.  They went 27-6 on the year and 5-1 against Top 25 opponents.  They had wins against New Mexico, Butler three times and VCU twice. 

All of those wins are pretty impressive, but it is doubtful they will make it to the Final Four.  In the Sweet 16, they would probably be playing Louisville, who has the No. 1 overall seed and some of the most talented players in the country.

Even if they beat the Cardinals, they would be playing in the Elite Eight against a team like Michigan State or Duke.  Both of these teams are battle tested, with tough conference schedules and big wins against great teams.  They’re both acclimated to important games and would be able to beat the Billikens.

If there’s a Cinderella story, it will be one that a lot of people aren’t expecting.  Don’t get too carried away with Saint Louis in your bracket, or it could be doomed before the Elite Eight even starts.


Show Indiana Some Love

Other than Gonzaga, it seems that Indiana is one of the most criticized teams in the country.  The preseason No. 1 has had a tough stretch of games, but they earned a No. 1 seed for a reason.

The team is really good.

There’s a lot of star power on this team, including Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo and Christian Watford.  These players all can score in bunches, which is the reason they average 80 points per game.

This team has had one of the more challenging schedules in the country, and they’ve come into the tournament with a lot of really quality wins.  They’ve beaten Michigan twice, Michigan State twice and Ohio State once.  All of these wins led to the regular season Big Ten title. 

The Hoosiers can make a run to Atlanta out of the East region.  The only big names with them are Miami and Syracuse.  Both of these teams are good, but they aren’t as good as some of the teams that the Hoosiers have played before.

Don’t have the Hoosiers getting upset just because the critics are doubting them.  Tom Crean is a good coach, and this team has a real shot at bringing a sixth banner to Bloomington.

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