Helpful Tips to Fill Out a Winning NCAA Tournament Bracket

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If you live/work in a normal, everyday American environment, someone has asked you to fill out a Men’s NCAA Tournament bracket. Chances are, they’ve even asked you for money to accompany the bracket. If you’re in this situation, but feel a little clueless– use these tips.

Top Left // Midwest

  • Kentucky is currently 34-0 right now. They are huge and they can shoot from the outside. This is a solid $10 bet to make.
  • Normally, I’d say, don’t ever take Kansas too far. But, this year there’s not much standing in their way to get fairly deep into the tournament.
  • At one point this season Wichita State was ranked pretty high. They made it to the Final 4 last year. If you don’t want to pick Kansas to carry the state very far, Wichita State is your best bet. Plus, Pizza Hut was founded on the WSU campus. And well, Pizza Hut is pretty successful.

Easy Upset Pick: Texas over Butler, but not really an upset if you get all technical.

If you’re picking based on mascots: Shockers, all the way! Yes, Wichita State is known as the Shockers.

If you’re picking based on color combos: Maryland– the red and yellow always stand out in a crowd.

If you’re picking based on famous fans: Ashley Judd (Kentucky);Matthew McConaughey (Texas)

Bottom Left // West

  • Wisconsin is pretty good. Don’t judge them based on the goofy looks of their best player, Frank Kaminsky. The Badgers made the Final 4 last year.
  • Arkansas is back in the tournament for the first time since 2008 and have one of the nation’s best dunkers in Michael Qualls. They play fast and love defense.

Easy Upset Pick: Harvard, because they’ve done it before.

If you’re picking based on mascots: Xavier, because they have two mascots and one is just called the Blue Blob.

If you’re picking based on color combos: They don’t call it Carolina blue for nothing.

If you’re picking based on famous fans: Justin Moore (Arkansas); Bill Clinton (Arkansas); Garth Brooks (Oklahoma State); Chase Rice (North Carolina)


Top Right // East

  • Virginia was one of the best teams in the country all season long– a few late season losses could’ve re-focused them or left them defeated. Odds are they are re-focused.
  • It’s March and you shouldn’t ever bet too much against Tom Izzo and his Michigan State Spartans.
  • Rumor on the street is that Villanova is the “weakest” No. 1 seed, but isn’t the weakest No. 1 still one of the best teams?

Easy Upset Pick: I wouldn’t do it, but Georgia could easily pull off a few wins.

If you’re picking based on mascots: UC Irvine and Peter the Anteater, obviously. The next best choice is the Providence Friar.

If you’re picking based on color combos: There’s a lot of purple and gold in this region, surely one of those teams will come through for you.

If you’re picking based on famous fans: Toby Keith (Oklahoma); Jason Aldean (Georgia)

Bottom Right // South


  • Iowa State is better than you think and hasn’t met a lead that scares them yet. Three straight come back wins in the Big 12 Tournament helped them become champions.
  • SMU is coached by Larry Brown and the last time he was in the NCAA Tournament in 1988, he coached Kansas to a title. Pony up.
  • They say it every year, but this really could be Gonzaga’s year.

Easy Upset Pick: Stephen F. Austin is a scrappy bunch.

If you’re picking based on mascots: UAB, only because they call this gator-dragon-unicorn thing a blazer.

If you’re picking based on color combos: UCLA’s light blue and gold always look pretty from afar.

If you’re picking based on famous fans: Sam Hunt (UAB); Laura Bush (SMU);


Image Source: UAB.Edu, @ChaseRice, J. Rosenfield, @GarethPatt