Tournament time is fast approaching and there is going to be a lot of you out there who will be rushing to fill out brackets in the hopes of winning your office pool.  Of course, there is going to be a lot of luck factoring in to who wins and who loses, but we want to make sure you are as prepared as possible for the big dance and March Madness.  We have put together a solid list of tips and tricks that we use in order to put out a quality bracket and embarrass our friends by dominating them.

Rule #1 – 12 over 5

Everybody knows this one, so it almost goes without saying.  Just how good of a guideline is this to follow?  Well consider that since 1989 only 1 time has there been a tournament in which a five didn’t get upset by a 12 seed.  You should stick to the college basketball odds here and find your favorite matchup, then ride the 12.

Rule #2 – Advance the #1 seed

A 16 seed has never beaten a one, so don’t think that you are some great prophet who is going to see that this is the year.  Not only are you going to lose the first round, but you are going to keep losing since 85% of the time 1 seeds advance to the Sweet 16.  Don’t ruin your bracket before it begins, hop those four #1 seeds into the third round.

Rule #3 – Cinderella at Midnight 

Remember Cinderella, at midnight the princess turns into a dud.  Well think the same way about your upsets that you pick out in the early rounds.  Take them to the Sweet 16, but remember that the buck pretty much stops there.  The better teams succeed in the second weekend with a rare exception.

Rule #4 – Your two best teams make the Championship game

Think about recent history.  The best teams have been making the Championship game.  2005 it was Illinois and North Carolina, last year it was Florida and Ohio State.  As soon as you pick out the two teams that you think are the best in the nation, chalk them up in the Final Four.

Follow these four NCAA tournament bracket tips and you should be on your way to making it near the top of your pool.  With a little luck you’ll be bringing home the cash and bragging rights.