If you are like me, then you probably don't know how you're going to fill out your final NCAA Tournament brackets just yet. That's fine: The Alligator Army bracket challenge isn't up and running just yet, but it'll be at Yahoo!, just like the SB Nation "Wisdom of the Crowds" bracket page, which I encourage all of you to join, and it'll be something I end up doing at the last minute. Here are a few tips for making your picks matter.
One of the greatest things about the NCAA Tournament is that there will almost always be something surprising that happens on every day of the first week. Do you think Florida's headed to the Final Four? Why not pick it? Have a hunch that Florida State is going down to St. Bonaventure? Move the Bonnies forward. Think there's no way anyone beats the No. 1 seeds this year? There's no wrong way to fill out your bracket, so go ahead and put that through. But don't agonize over it; it's supposed to be fun.
Pick Exciting Teams
About 50 people who aren't Iona fans know who the Gaels start, or that they're the lesser Gaels (hi, Saint Mary's!) in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Here's the one-sentence preview: Iona shoots the crap out of the ball, ranking in the top 20 nationally in adjusted efficiency, effective field goal percentage, and two- and three-point field goal percentage, PLUS the Gaels try to get as many possessions as possible by running all the time. If you like run-and-gun basketball, you'll like Iona. Why not pick them? (If your answer is "Because BYU is just as fun," I love you.)
The Wildcats haven't looked like the nation's best team for the better part of three months for no reason, and their lethargic SEC Tournament shouldn't be reason to hop off the Big Blue bandwagon. We've seen them three times as Florida fans, and the Gators have given them some of the best shots they can. UK didn't flinch. Don't flinch on taking the Wildcats to go far because the South Region looks loaded; Kentucky is loaded. (Not like that, Billy Clyde.)
Fill Out As Many Brackets As You Feel Like
The "bracket of integrity" that gets traced back to ESPN's Mike Greenberg every year is a dumb concept for people who need ideological consistency more than they need fun. You don't draft the same fantasy football team if you play in multiple leagues, and you shouldn't play the same bracket in every NCAA Tournament pool you're in, either. VCariety is he spice of life.
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