Intern Tom Dierberger’s 5 tips on how to (or how not to) Fill out Your March Madness Bracket

A list that will help you finish (uhh…first?) in your office pool

As a college student who scheduled my spring classes around March 17th so I can watch the opening day of the NCAA college basketball tournament from sun up to sun down, I consider myself a pretty big college basketball fan.  You’d think all the research would pay off when March Madness pools come around. Well, it hasn’t; I’ve earned as much in March Madness pools as I have being an intern for 1390 the Fan. Anyway, below is a list of things you may or may not want keep in mind when filling out those brackets this week:

  1. Pick a team with your heart, not your head: I’ve picked Virginia to win the national championship for two years in a row, and as the biggest bandwagon Virginia fan in Stearns County, I can’t help but pick the Cavs again this year. I like Virginia because their style of play reminds me of myself on the basketball court: a solid defender that usually has some serious problems putting the ball in the hoop. They just get me.
  2. Superstar Players: don’t get too caught up in picking teams that have players in the “Top NBA Player Prospects” lists. There are some flashy names on rosters in this tournament: Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere, and Demetrius Jackson— all names that will deliver chills down your spine when Dick Vitale yells it loudly into a microphone after a big dunk.  Don’t let their futures fool you.  A run in this tournament takes a whole team. Just ask how that worked out for the highest rated NBA prospect, LSU’s Ben Simmons…
  3. The Spartan Rule: instead of trusting superstar players, trust the superstar coaches instead. Since 2007, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has led his Spartans to at least the Sweet Sixteen in every season except one. That one season was in 2011, when the 10th seeded Spartans fell behind by 23 points in the second half to UCLA, but came back and only lost by two points. The Spartan Rule when filling out a bracket is to place Michigan State where you think they will go, and then pencil them in to advance two rounds further.  Izzo’s squad always shows up, no matter which seed they’re given.
  4. Don’t Fill out a “Baracket”: our President has a pretty fun bit where he makes his picks in the Oval Office, but Mr. Obama doesn’t make his forefathers proud when he places all four #1 seeds in the Final Four. America was founded as an underdog. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would have placed Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet 16. Stony Brook in the Elite Eight. No matter your political views, don’t be Obama. Take a chance on a Cinderella team making it far in the tournament because, chances are, there will be one.
  5. Keep it to one bracket: Everyone knows that one person in the office that fills out hundreds of brackets. Have some confidence and stick with your guns. Watching the games is a lot more exciting when you only have one bracket on the line and know who you want to win in every game. Believe me, there is no better feeling when your one bracket is 2/2 and you’re in the 99th percentile for about twenty minutes.

And as you’re filling out your bracket, just remember: there’s always next year.