The title of this post is mislead because, as many of you know, there is no sure-fire way to put together the perfect bracket. But we're here to help with a few handy tips and ideas to help you defy the odds and nail each and every game this year. You feeling lucky? Good because you're going to need it.
As you know, we're big fans of Ken Pomeroy's rankings here. His rankings may not be perfect, but they do give us a better idea of which teams are under-seeded and which teams are over-seeded. Using that information, it becomes easier to look at the bracket and pick out a few of the possible upsets or bracket busters.
Your starting point is Pomeroy's website, complete with rankings and his own predictions. Remember, his rankings are completely predictive. They're not meant to pick the good teams or bad teams. They're meant to tell us how a team would play in a vacuum, for the most part.
With that in mind, we'll take a look at some of the teams his system loves, a few underdogs that could bite someone and the teams ripe for an upset. Follow along after the jump.
Top-half teams his system loves.
Texas: The Longhorns jump out right away as a team the committee ranked way too low. Texas is at No. 4 in Pomeroy's rankings, which would theoretically make them the fourth No. 1 seed.
Washington: Pomeroy's rankings have loved the Huskies all year, but the seeding committee did not. Washington is at No. 15 in the rankings, but a seven seed in the tournament.
UNLV and Illinois: Eight and nine seeds in the tournament, UNLV and Illinois come in at No. 20 and No. 22 respectively.
*side note: Virginia Tech, ranked No. 30, should be incredibly mad at being left out.
Now, a few of the double-digit teams that could sneak up and bite someone.
Belmont: A No. 13 seed in the tournament, but ranked No. 18 by Pomeroy. Belmont draws Wisconsin and could make some noise in the tournament. One thing's for sure: The Bruins got no love from the committee.
Utah State: I struggled with the Aggies while putting together my bracket predictions. Yes, they're a 12 seed, but Pomeroy has them at No. 16 in his rankings. I moved them through to the Sweet Sixteen because of this and because of the "winning team, losing team" chant.
Clemson: The Tigers are in the First Four, but surely do not belong there if Pomeroy is to be believed. A 12 seed in the tournament, Clemson is ranked No. 24 by Pomeroy. Like Utah State, I have Clemson in the Sweet Sixteen.
Finally, the over-seeded teams.
Florida: The Gators are way over-seeded as a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament if we're following Pomeroy's system. Florida checks in as the lowest of the two seeds at No. 19, meaning it would be the last of the four seeds.
The No. 5 seeds: West Virginia and Arizona are just about right, but Kansas State and Vanderbilt are ripe for the picking, it seems. Kansas State is No. 29 in Pomeroy's rankings and Vanderbilt is at No. 32. So this is why they say watching out for the 5-12 games.
I highly suggest perusing Pomeroy's rankings as you fill out your brackets. It's an easy way to get to know a wide array of teams in a short amount of time while figuring out which teams may have been over- or under-rated.
Then again, it'll be the weird system that works. Give the bracket to the lady in your life and have her choose. The mascot or color method always works, too.
Ever wish that more things worked like college brackets? That you could seed everything that way? Top 64 pre-game foods. Top 64 college players. Well, now you can do just that with your friends, with the Allstate BFF Brackets, which takes your 64 top Facebook friends (an algorithm seeds them based on interaction) and seeds them in four regions, exactly like the real tourney. Once the tourney starts, your friends advance with the corresponding seeds – till one is left standing. Check it out here.