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Column: The best ways to bracket for March Madness

Photo: Hannah Guell

The National College Basketball Championship was on April 3, and I think everyone has been disappointed with their losing picks long enough for me to write about it. 

That being said, the March Madness tournament is never a disappointment—or maybe it is—and we had some of the most unpredictable upsets and biggest rivalry games ever. But after yet another year of true madness in March, it might be time to reconsider how you go about choosing what teams you think will win or lose in the annual tournament bracket. 

I decided to rank from best to worst several ways that you can try to predict the winners and losers of March Madness. Feel free to file away this article until you start to make your bracket next March. 

1. Let your dog pick

Far and away the best way to choose March Madness teams is by letting your dog pick. I suggest putting a treat on either side of your dog, each side representing one of the teams playing. Whichever side the dog goes to first is the team you pick to win. This is the best way because dogs have great instincts. You could also use another pet instead of a dog, but this wouldn’t be as effective.

2. Pick winners based on their mascot

A mascot represents a school’s values and culture. The mascot also has the power to hype up a crowd and energize a team. This is an underrated way to pick teams. Plus, mascots are cool, and you might see some college basketball mascots you’ve never seen before.  

3. Go with your gut

Dogs have better instincts than people, but there is something to be said about picking the teams yourself. As a sports fan, it’s personal. Whether you’ve been watching college basketball all season or you haven’t been keeping up this year, you can still pick with your instincts. Go with your gut. Trust yourself to make your picks.  

4. Pick by seeding 

This is near the bottom of the list for a reason. At the beginning of the tournament every year, the Selection Committee determines the rankings of each team. The best teams are ranked No. 1, and the worst are ranked No. 16. So, it makes sense to pick the teams with the lowest seeds. The problem with this is that it’s not cool. Picking based on team seeding requires no creativity or heart.  

5. Research and Analysis

Don’t waste your time. Last in my ranking is doing hours – or even minutes – of research. You can analyze how each team matches up all you want, but no matter what you decide there is always potential for an upset. You can always find an expert who will validate your guesses. But here’s a secret: the experts are guessing too. I rank this method the worst because it has never worked for me. And I know it hasn’t worked for you.