2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament

Printable NCAA Bracket 2014: Tips for Filling Out Your Own Bracket

Virginia players celebrate with the trophy after defeating Duke in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, March 16, 2014. Virginia won 72-63. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press
Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2014

Seemingly everything is available online now, including NCAA tournament brackets. While you can certainly fill out a bracket with your predictions using your computer alone, sometimes it’s better to print it out and have it right at your fingertips.

With that in mind, here is where you can find a printable bracket, as well as other NCAA tournament essentials.

 

All Your Bracket Essentials: 

 

Bleacher Report

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a few good tips when filling out your bracket. Nobody has a fool-proof method that will guarantee success in the office pool, but sometimes it’s best to play the odds. 

With that in mind, here are some rules to follow.

 

Pick at Least One No. 12 Seed to Beat a No. 5 Seed 

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Nothing can capture America’s heart faster in the month of March than a Cinderella story in the Big Dance.

Seemingly everyone across the country became a Florida Gulf Coast fan last year, and there are sure to be multiple surprises in the 2014 tournament as well. When filling out your bracket, look for the No. 12 seeds to spring an upset or two.

Here is a look at the No. 12 seeds that have upset No. 5 seeds since 2004:

No. 12 Seeds Upsetting No. 5 Seeds
YearNo. 12 SeedNo. 5 Seed
2013MississippiWisconsin
2013CaliforniaUNLV
2013OregonOklahoma State
2012South FloridaTemple
2012VCUWichita State
2011RichmondVanderbilt
2010CornellTemple
2009WisconsinFlorida State
2009ArizonaUtah
2009Western KentuckyIllinois
2008VillanovaClemson
2008Western KentuckyDrake
2006MontanaNevada
2006Texas A&MSyracuse
2005UW-MilwaukeeAlabama
2004ManhattanFlorida
2004PacificProvidence
espn.com

That is 17 No. 12 seeds to advance in the past 10 NCAA tournaments alone, and only in 2007 was there not a single No. 12 seed to win a game. 

Looking forward, Stephen F. Austin, North Dakota State, Harvard and the winner of the North Carolina State and Xavier First Four game will be the No. 12 seeds. The Crimson, Wolfpack and Musketeers in particular pose threats to the likes of No. 5 seed Cincinnati and No. 5 seed Saint Louis.

Xavier knocked off Tennessee, Cincinnati and Creighton this year, North Carolina State beat Tennessee and Syracuse and Harvard finished 26-4 and almost upset Connecticut when the Crimson were not at full strength. None of these squads will be intimidated by the No. 5 seed next to their opponents name on the bracket.

 

Pick a No. 1 or No. 2 Seed to Win it All 

Sporting News alerts fans of just how dominant the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have been when it comes to the national championship:

While it is certainly tempting to pick a Cinderella story to advance deep into the NCAA tournament, keep in mind that those teams are only going to get so far. Yes, there have been a number of unexpected teams to advance as far as the Final Four, but the safe bets for cutting down the nets still lie atop the bracket.

Steve Helber/Associated Press

Perhaps No. 1 seed Florida would be your pick if you listened to Kentucky coach John Calipari talk about the Gators, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:

"They're that good. And if you don't come and play, you're going to get smashed."

 

Don’t Expect a Perfect Bracket

Warren Buffett can dangle all the money he wants in front of you, but don’t expect a perfect bracket. 

In fact, ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie points out just how unlikely it is for someone to pick a perfect bracket, given the sheer amount of possibilities:

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try anyway, but don’t get your hopes up.

 

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