clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 NCAA Tournament: How to pick your bracket

There's more than one way to pick a bracket. What route will you take?

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Tonight, the First Round Fantastic Four First Four kicks off with 16-seeds Florida Gulf Coast and Fairleigh Dickinson squaring off at 6:40pm in the wordiest matchup, followed by 11-seeds Vanderbilt and Wichita State at 9:10pm. Wednesday night will see battles between 16-seeds Holy Cross and Southern in the early time slot, with 11-seeds Michigan and Tulsa finishing up in the late spot.

As you prepare for office pools and bracket challenges, you may have some concerns or trepidation in trying to fill out your brackets. Tired of losing to Janice down in payroll? Is Steve in HR always bragging about picking the right upsets? Well, let us try and help you with providing some ways to fill out your brackets, including a recommended pick using each method.

1. The Numbers

There are unlimited metrics you can reference. This is the most popular choice, but a little overrated if we're being honest. Just kidding. Metrics and the eye test and BPI and RPI are all legitimate ways to assess matchups. However, you'll still make mistakes because, for better or worse, the best team doesn't always win.

Recommended Pick: Virginia. The Hoos are 2nd in KenPom and BPI, 3rd in RPI, and 4th in the AP Top 25.

2. Uniforms/Team Colors

Classic method. Like questionable over-utilization of a state flag? There's a team for you! Want your team to look like a pack of highlighters? You're in luck. Do you prefer your team to go the more formal route with a colorful cummerbund? Suit up, my friends.

Honestly, this may be the easiest way to pick because it's based solely on your reaction to something visual. Anything with maroon is out, obviously. Adidas sure as heck won't be sniffing the Final Four. Pick away, you suave champions.

Recommended Pick: Virginia. Orange and blue is always a good, clean look. Can't go wrong.

3. Mascots

There are several ways to utilize mascots in the selection process. Who would win in a fight? Which one do you like better? Which one won't give you horriblehorrible nightmares?

Several felines (Wildcats, Bearcats, Panthers...oh my!), weapon-wielding folks (Spartans, Mountaineers, Lumberjacks), and even some weather phenomena (Cyclones, Hurricanes) make up the field. Bulldogs? Sure we've got a few. Then there's Otto the Orange. I think he's the only anthropomorphic fruit of the bunch, so choose the Fighting Boeheims as you see fit.

Recommended Pick: Virginia. The Cavalier is a sassily dressed fellow, and he can defend himself with the sword he carries. Slick mustache, too.

4. Handsome Coaches

What. Don't judge me. Actually, picking this way wouldn't be too crazy.

Recommended Pick: Virginia. They don't call Tony Bennett the "George Clooney of College Basketball" for nothing, folks.

5. Geography

Have you visited the school's home city before? Do you want to go? Get a speeding ticket going through Durham?

Recommended Pick: Virginia. Charlottesville has been named the Best College Town in America, one of the Top Five Destinations Every American Should Visit, America's Smartest City, and a great spot for working women. Not enough? there's vineyards everywhere and Monticello is the best.

6. Notable Alumni

Big Michael Jordan fan as a kid? Maybe go for UNC. Always had Bob Dole posters on your wall? Arizona is your team. Go with Purdue if Orville Redenbacher is your guy.

Recommended Pick: Virginia. You like former US Presidents? How about hysterical comediennes or young Jim Gordon? Crosswords your jam? Well good news. Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Tina Fey, Ben McKenzie, and Will Shortz...all Cavaliers.

7. Best Food/Drink

Barbecue. Cheese Curds. Bourbon. Whatever tickles your fancy.

Recommended Pick: Virginia. Bodo's. Dr. No's Pizza. Wayside Chicken. The White Spot. Spudnuts. Hold on, be right back. I'm starving.

8. Whatever the heck you want

Seriously. It's all a crapshoot. Have fun. Pick Virginia.