March Madness 2012: 4 Mistakes You Must Avoid When Making Your Bracket

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IMarch 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  The Syracuse Orange bench reacts after a three pointer late in the game against the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

As you are filling out your brackets for March Madness, there are several mistakes you must avoid to ensure you make the best possible selections.

Loyalties to favorite players, teams and coaches must be put aside. Pick your bracket based on this year's results and this year's only. Don't be sentimental because it could cost you in the end.

Let's look at four mistakes people commonly make while filling out their bracket, and be sure not to make them yourself.

Picking All No. 1 Seeds to Make the Final Four

Although the No. 1 seeds all look like championship-caliber teams, they almost never all make the Final Four. The only time all the top seeds made the Final Four was in 2008 when UCLA, North Carolina, Memphis and Kansas won their regional tournaments.

It will be tempting to pick all No. 1 seeds to reach the Final Four, but based on past history, it's such a rare occurrence. Don't give into the temptation; find a No. 2 seed that has an easy road to the Final Four.

A No. 16 has Never Defeated a No. 1 Seed

This is another scenario you cannot afford to misjudge. A No. 16 has never upset a No. 1 seed in the history of the NCAA tournament.

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Several No. 2 seeds have been defeated by No. 15 seeds over the years, but top seeds are undefeated in the first round.

Don't try to gain an extra advantage in your bracket pool by picking an enormous effort that simply won't happen.

Don't Pick too Many Upsets

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  Shabazz Napier #13 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts after a non call against the Syracuse Orange during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New York City.  (
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Although picking upsets is fun and it can help you win your pool over people who always pick the favorites, you cannot pick too many upsets.

Do some research to see which underdogs have played well against better competition, and teams that have one player capable of winning a game by himself.

In an age where the gap of talent between powerhouse conferences and mid-majors is as small as ever, it's tempting to pick a lot of upsets—but you cannot afford to have too many of them.

Don't Pick Teams who've Helped you Before but aren't Championship-Caliber

Don't fall into the trap of picking a team to go far because they helped you win last year or a few seasons ago.

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 08:  Thomas Robinson #0, Kevin Young #40 and Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks react in the second half against the Texas A&M Aggies during the quarterfinals of the 2012 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on Ma
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

You have to make your bracket selections based on this season. A lot changes from year to year in college basketball, and teams can go from title contenders to bubble teams in just one season.

Just because UConn won you a bunch of money last season, doesn't mean you owe anything to them this year, and it doesn't mean they will return to the Final Four this season with an inferior squad.

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