Bracket Tactics: How to Pick the National Champion

March 16th, 2010's Bracket Tactics will help you pick this year's national champion & finish at the top of your pool. These tips are based on previous NCAA Tournament results:


TIP #1: No team that lost the first game of its conference tournament has ever won the NCAA title the same year.

STRATEGY: Do not pick a champ who lost the first game of its conference tournament.

MEANING: Take a long, hard, look at Michigan St, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Villanova before penciling them is as your 2010 NCAA Champs.


TIP #2: 21 of the past 24 titles have been won by teams who score 77+ PPG and have a scoring margin of 10+ PPG (like UNC last year).

STRATEGY: Focus on teams that have high-octane offenses
MEANING: Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kansas St, Kentucky, Maryland, Syracuse, and Villanova have a leg up on the rest of the field. Be weary of Ohio St (74ppg), Georgetown (73), West Virginia (73), Purdue (71), Pittsburgh (68), Wisconsin (66)


TIP #3: 7 of the last 11 NCAA champs won their conference tournament before rolling off 6 straight wins in the NCAA Tournament.

STRATEGY: Pick a champ who also won its conference tournament last week.

MEANING: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio St, and West Virginia should be taken very seriously.


TIP #4: 2 teams in each Final Four since 2003 have been members of the same conference. (UCONN & Villanova last year)

STRATEGY: Pick 2 teams who play in the same conference to make the Final Four.

MEANING: Don't be afraid to go with multiple teams of the same conference in the Final Four (ie, 2 from the Big 12 or Big East this year)


TIP #5: Since 1979, the only national champion without a McDonald's All-American on the roster was Maryland in 2002.

STRATEGY: Focus on teams with big name players in the Final Four.

MEANING: Do not pick Marquette, Maryland, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, or West Virginia to win it all.


Sherron CollinsIN SUMMARY

The teams that pass all tests and look like the best contenders for the 2010 title are Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky. Syracuse & Villanova certainly have a shot, although Ohio St & West Virginia have multiple strikes against them. Team to avoid at all costs include Michigan St, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Wisconsin.