There’s no shortage of people out there who will tell you they’ve got a fail-safe system of selecting the winners. The only problem with that is that there are 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 different ways to fill this thing out. So, if you’ve got some sort of connection to St. Mary’s (you went to Catholic school, for instance), go ahead and take a flyer on them. Like the sound of Belmont? Pencil them in for an upset. The great part about March Madness is that it puts analysts and know-nothings on the same playing field. And, trust me, the more knowledgeable entrant doesn’t always win.
6. Guard-ian angels
The NCAA Tournament is all about guards, guards and more guards. This bodes well for Trey Burke of Michigan, Phil Pressey of Missouri and Peyton Siva of Louisville. In close games, and you know there will be plenty on neutral courts, do you really want to pick a team without a play-making ball-handler who can either create his own shot or create one for a teammate? Thought not.
7.Light ‘em up
Don’t be afraid to take a risk on a team with a player who can explode for a monster game. When Davidson made its surprise run to the Elite 8 a few years back, it was due large in part to the torrid shooting of Stephen Curry. This year’s parlor pick? Creighton, led by Doug McDermott. Need another? San Diego State and Nate Wolters.
8.Support the Big Ten
Expect the Big Ten to make a lot of noise this year, led by Indiana, who is well-rounded enough to win the whole thing. Ohio State, a No. 2 seed, and Michigan, a No. 3, are legitimate threats. Wisconsin plays an absolutely brutal brand of ball, but the results are there.
9. Mr. Obvious
With pool scoring awarding more points for later rounds, what really matters is nailing the Final Four and eventual national champion. And, as unsexy as it sounds, this is the time to make a logical, informed choice. It seems obvious, but it’s usually a team that is statistically dominant that wins it all. Twenty-two of the past 24 champions have averaged at least 77 points per game and a scoring margin of 10-plus points per game during the regular season. Additionally, since 1979, every national champion has had at least one McDonald’s All-American — except Maryland in 2002.