The best part of watching the NCAA Tournament is filling out your own bracket (or ten of them) and seeing how you are doing as the tournament advances Even if your favorite team didn’t make it to this year’s tournament (I am talking about you IU), you can quickly find somebody to cheer for that you have picked to go to the Final Four.

But for some of you, or maybe even all of you, your bracket is busted by Thursday night or Friday morning. So, as promised by Crossroads Sports, we are going to help make sure you win your NCAA bracket pool this year. Some of this stuff may be common sense, but other tips may open the eyes of big time basketball people. And for the first timers, this will help you avoid choosing teams based on colors and mascots.

So give this a quick look, and if you have to go fix your bracket real quick, we aren’t judging.

1. Forget the 16 seeds
The 16 seeds have never won a single game in the NCAA Tournament, and that will not change this year.

2. Just forget about the 15 seeds too
Although the 15 seeds have had a couple of memorable moments (Middle Tennessee last year), they have won just eight times in 128 tries in the first round. Don’t event think about picking one this year.

3. No. 1 seeds don’t always make it to the Final Four
Only once have all four No. 1 seeds made it to the Final Four, and that was in 2008. If you want to win your bracket challenge, take a serious look at teams seeded in the 3-5 range.

4. If you are looking for upsets, look at the 12 seeds
A 12 seed has defeated a 5 seed in 18 of the past 21 tournaments. This is where a lot of the upsets begin. Last year’s darling Middle Tennessee happens to be a 12 seed this year (and they are better than they were last year when they beat Michigan State).

5. Talent will prevail
When I talk about talent, I am talking NBA players. I call this my “stud list”. These are the guys who can carry a team on their back throughout a game or several games. There are a lot of players like this in this year’s tournament, and look to teams like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, and Arizona for this type of talent. P.S. my stud list is available to look at if you need help.

6. Be bold early
Upsets happen a lot in the NCAA tournament, but they don’t happen late. Be the person who picks Florida Gulf Coast to beat Florida State. But don’t be the person who picks Florida Gulf Coast to make it to the Final Four.

7. No. 2 Blues
At least one 2 seed has failed to make it out of the first weekend in each of the last seven tournaments and 19 of the last 20. If you don’t like a certain 2 seed, don’t choose them! Chances are they may not make it anyway.

8. Speaking of Blue…if you do pick teams based on colors, blue is the best choice

9. When it comes to the 8-9 toss-up
It really is a toss-up, there is no problem flipping a coin to pick the winner.

10. Don’t expect a repeat
Defending National Champions have only returned to the Final Four once in the last ten years.

And there you have it. A simple guide to help you completely dominate your work bracket challenge this year. This quick guide will make sure your bracket isn’t busted by Thursday night.

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