It’s Bracket Time! Tips & Tricks to Win Your Tournament Office Pool

March is on! Are you ready for the madness that is the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament? Whether a diehard fanatic or casual spectator, we’ll all be glued to the television, computer and smartphone (thanks technology!) to witness incredible performances, heartbreaking moments and of course everyone’s favorite, buzzer beaters.

But let’s be honest here, tourney time would not be the same without one key piece: a bracket sheet. From a distance, it’s just another piece of paper, but look closer and each line reveals intelligence, insight, integrity and some luck. Over the next several weeks, you’ll come to know and depend on your bracket sheet, as much as you would rely on your phone for directions. There will be open roads and some speed bumps, and we cannot forget about those darn potholes along the way. We are all heading for the same destination, but the question is: Who will be crowned champion of the office pool?

We’re here to help you master the tournament and have bragging rights for the next year. This is our sure-fire guide (You’ll see with North Carolina) to filling out the best bracket with tips and tricks to get your teams to the final court in San Antonio, Texas.

There’s No “I” in Team, But There Is One in Champion

Coaches with “I” in their last name have won the national title 22 times since 1989, including Roy Williams with North Carolina last season. Make sure to double-check those last names.

What’s Your Favorite Color?

Picking a school based on team colors isn’t the best strategy, but it’s not the worst move to make. Keep this in mind as you fill out your bracket. Since 1985, there have been 21 teams with blue as their primary color to win the tourney, including last season’s champs, North Carolina. (NC again!) Need a comparison? Red is second with just seven victories. Go with blue!

It’s All About Location, Location, Location

Are you a hustle and bustle city slicker (Loyola-Chicago) or prefer the relaxed beach lifestyle (Miami)? Go with geographic preference and pick the school whose location brings back good memories.

Go with History

No 16-seed has ever beaten a one seed. Never. There have been some close calls over the years with games decided by ten points or less, but close does not cut it, unless we’re playing a fierce game of horseshoes.

Mascot Madness!

You can never go wrong with picking a team having an awesome mascot such as Brutus Buckeye, Will D. Cat, Blue Blob and Murray State’s Dunker.

The Coin Flip

Your odds to perfectly predict each game are 1 in 128 BILLION. Play the lottery! When in doubt, trust Honest Abe. Flip a coin. You’ll always have a 50-50 shot.

Does the Shoe Fit?

Cinderella will make a deep run in the tournament, but who will it be. Remember 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast from a few years ago? Or, how about Steph Curry and those Davidson Wildcats? Discovering “the one” involves doing a lot of homework and stat searching.

Mandatory Upsets

Upsets will happen; it’s successfully predicting them that result in us throwing our brackets in the trash. Proceed with caution and choose wisely. Last year we saw 12-seed Middle Tennessee and 11-seed Rhode Island shock the college basketball world.

Home Sweet Home

Is there a particular matchup that you are at a complete loss? Select the school closet to you, whether that’s in your hometown, state or region. Chances are there are several teams near your location that are in The Big Dance.

Go with Your Gut

Keep those erase marks to a minimum. Trust your first instinct and never doubt yourself!

Now you’re ready to crush the madness and conquer March!