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How to Make Your NCAA Basketball Bracket Predictions - and more March Madness Tournament Fun!

Updated on May 11, 2015

Let's play ball!

The ball is tipped . . . .
The ball is tipped . . . . | Source

It's almost time for March Madness!

When you hear the term “March Madness,” what do you think of? Well, you should be thinking about the annual NCAA College Basketball Tournament. From mid-March to early April, college basketball or talk of college basketball takes over the airways. If you’re like most people, you tend to love or hate March Madness. If you’re apathetic, maybe it’s time to jump in and see what this annual madness is all about.

Do you like basketball?

First, you probably need to like basketball to really get into March Madness. Maybe you don’t know if you like the sport and need to check it out. Even if you don’t watch college or pro or even peewee basketball any other time of year, you might find that you enjoy the hectic pace—and madness, yes—of college basketball in March.

Being a life-long Arkansas Razorback fan, I always follow the tournament. The Hogs, as my team is also called, aren’t always good enough to get selected for the tourney, but, when they do make it, it’s a pretty exciting thing. I’m ready for another national title, one they haven’t been able to get very close to since their dramatic victory over Duke to win it all in 1994.

Since then, with real life often getting in the way, I don’t live or die by a Razorback win or loss. Try as I may, I can’t seem to keep up with the regular season that much anymore. Maybe if they became championship material again, I would, but for now I’ve been a sometimes fan—until the NCAA tourney comes around in the spring. With or without the Razorbacks in it, I look forward to following teams, teams I usually know little or nothing about. For years, I’ve even taken off a few days of work so I can park myself in front of the television. Why do I do this? Can you relate?

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What is your favorite thing about March Madness?

My favorite part of the NCAA tournament is the first week of basketball, Thursday through Sunday. In this first extended weekend, all 64 teams play. That’s 32 games in four days, with the first two days having four games at once.

With games being played on several different channels, the viewer can flip back and forth to see what’s happening with each game, landing on the most exciting one at the time. That first few days there are always exciting games, games that are sure to include devastating upsets for top-ranked teams. I love it!

A filled-out bracket
A filled-out bracket | Source

How to fill out NCAA brackets

I always fill out my predictions a few days before the games start. I pick all the games, from the first round to the final game. Now since I don’t often know much about most of the teams, picking the winners is tricky.

I look for the brackets that show each team’s seed (or rank) in the tournament, as well as the record for the season. That gives me some idea of who is decent, although the record itself isn’t all one should go by, as picking some upsets is a must, as they WILL happen.

So, how do I choose? Sometimes I go by the name or mascot that sounds good. Seriously, you ask? Yes, seriously. To prove that method as good as any, some years I have filled out two brackets—one with my true picks of who I thought would win, and one as a wish bracket, as to whom I hoped would win. With all the surprises over the course of the tournament, both brackets proved to be about the same in terms of total wins and losses.

More tips on filling out brackets

So, in summary, here are some tips I use to fill out my NCAA basketball brackets:

· Look over tournament seed and season record.

· Always pick a #13 seed to beat a #4 seed.

· Always pick a #12 seed to beat a #5 seed.

· Don’t pick a #16 seed to beat a #1. Although that would be exciting, it has never happened and will really mess up your bracket if you are wrong.

· When in doubt, pick some traditional powerhouses. Indiana is a traditional basketball town. Some consistently good teams are Duke, Kentucky, or North Carolina, to name a few.

· Choose names you like. Gonzaga comes to mind. Just say it. Gonzaga. I like George Washington, when they’re in there, too. Rooting for them makes me feel patriotic.

· Pick mascots you like, such as Razorbacks. Woo, pig, sooie!

· Pick colors you like.

· Heck, toss a coin. You’re likely to do just as well as the experts.

Have snacks ready!
Have snacks ready! | Source

Other preparations for the games: FOOD

You’ll definitely have to stock the house with easy-to-eat foods, because you won’t have much time to make real meals when the big game—and they’re all big—is on. Foods like pizza and corn dogs will be easy to stick in the oven and check on after a certain amount of time. Just make sure to set the timer so you don’t burn anything. Make sure you have snack foods, whatever your favorites are. Chips and dips, pretzels, peanuts—whatever your heart desires. Here are some popular party appetizers that I make for gatherings throughout the year.

Splurge if you want some fancy sports snack packs, especially if you want to impress your friends. Places like DiBruno will even ship you your heart’s desires. What about an assortment of olives, with specialty cheese, pepperoni, and crackers? Meat and cheese baskets are perfect for sports fans to munch on. You can even order cheese baskets with wine, for the more refined sports fans. While you’re shopping for delivery through DiBruno, check out Mr. Beer, too, if you would like to make your own! You can check out a few other food options as well with these cool coupons for food and beer.

1994 Arkansas Razorbacks NCAA Championship T-Shirt
1994 Arkansas Razorbacks NCAA Championship T-Shirt | Source

Fan Sports Clothing

Get your sports garb on to be a true fanatic—or fan, for short. I think it’s time to move on from my 1994 championship t-shirt. I’ve checked out FansEdge for sports gear. If you watched the 2013 Super Bowl and rooted for the Baltimore Ravens, this is the place to get your Super Bowl Champions t-shirt.

Of course, I’m more interested in updating my Arkansas Razorback wardrobe. Whatever your team in the NCAA tourney, FansEdge has all the teams that could be in the Big Dance—t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, and hats—more than affordable. So get ready to cheer on your favorite NCAA team.

Enjoy March Madness!

As you can see, I enjoy March Madness no matter who is playing and no matter who wins. And it takes some preparations to truly maximize the experience! Easily accessible foods, that special t-shirt, and, most importantly, filling out those tournament brackets.

As the games go on and teams are eliminated, there are fewer games to watch, so I often have withdrawals as I wait for the next game. As I get familiar with the teams, I often find myself rooting for the underdogs regardless of whom I have chosen to win on my brackets. It’s all about the exciting games, the upsets, the triumphs, and the overall madness.

I love the highlights and inspirational song, "One Shining Moment," at the very end of the tournament!


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