Use code MADNESS20 at checkout to save $20 off your purchase of $100 or more!

NCAA basketball is finally underway, and everybody is looking forward to the March Madness Tournament and having their brackets busted on the first day, while the clueless intern down the hall blunders his way to success (we’re looking at you, Kyle).

Everybody has their own method to their madness when it comes to filling out brackets, but here are a few tips guaranteed to help you last until at least part way through the second round–before your cousin Jen runs away with the pot.

Do: Pick Higher Seeds as Often as You Can

Now the first rule of success is to pick the better team as often as possible. It’s pretty much a gimme that the number one seeds are going to drop the 16s–it’s only happened in reverse one time. The odds go down as the seeds get closer together, but let’s face it, the better teams are usually going to win.

Don’t: Pick Only Higher Seeds

Half of the fun of March Madness is watching the upsets. Number eight teams are going to pick off a few number nines, and you can be sure at least one of the 12 seeds will pop one of the fives. Don’t be afraid to throw a few wild cards on the ol’ bracket.

Do: Pick Based on Random Chance

You read that right. Flipping a coin on the matchups featuring five seeds and lower are going to give you roughly the same odds and actually thinking about it. Obviously don’t do this for the top seeds (that’s just silly) but feel free to toss that Sacagawea dollar when picking Villanova vs. Maryland or the like.

Shop March Madness Tickets

Don’t: Pick Based on Mascots

You may think it’s kind of fun to picture a real life bearcat taking on an actual Spartan, unless you have played Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, in which case you know how difficult it is to get those little monsters off your back. While mascot picking is silly-fun, it isn’t going to get you very far. Everybody knows that a ram can knock out a cardinal pretty easily, but if you pick Colorado State University over Louisville then you are asking for trouble.

Do: Pick Based on Jersey Color

This one is a little silly, but it’s true: jersey color is one of the most reliable ways to pick a winner. So yeah, don’t pick a team with a green color scheme, but if you go blue and white you are probably doing alright.

Don’t: Follow the Experts

Look, the experts are mostly full of it. They can pick and analyze and do whatever it is they do, but the fact is they are winging it just like the rest of us. The problem is that they think they are smarter and more well-informed than the average schmo. But their brackets usually bust much earlier than fan brackets on average, so ignore those chumps and just do your thing.

(Cropped image courtesy of Eric Wong via Flickr. | CC BY-ND 2.0)