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What to and not to do when filling out the NCAA bracket

POSTED March 17, 2011
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia

(Good luck filling this out. You're going to need it.)

A florist worker at Stop & Shop. A graphic designer at The Register Citizen. My wife.

Those three people, all with minimal or no interest in college basketball, are among the many people who have crushed my dreams of winning a NCAA Tournament bracket over the years.

Yet, I keep coming back for more. And, even worse, I have the audacity to give you advice on what to do when filling one of these out.

First rule of thumb: Know your competition. Most of our readers here are located in Connecticut. The odds are pretty high that the UConn fans in your pool are on cloud nine and have the Huskies, at least, reaching the Final Four. For strategic purposes, it makes sense to pick the Huskies to lose early because if they do, you'll probably be among the select few with that pick and gain valuable points.

My next recommendation is not to get too upset happy. No, I’m not saying pick only favorites like some popular politician. A 12-seed win here, a No. 1 losing in the Sweet 16 there, is more than fine. Too often people get caught up in those CBS montages of historical upsets with epic celebrations. Just remember those highlight reels consist of five or six games over 30-plus years. They are the exception, not the norm.

And finally, leave your heart at home. If you are looking to make a penny or two off of this, pick with your brain, not who you want to win. While you make hate the Dukies or wish nothing but pain on Syracuse, just remember they can win you points and cash just like UConn can.

This all being said, here are my picks below. You may want to run. Far away.

Round 1 winners

East: Ohio State, Villanova, West Viginia, Kentucky, Marquette, Syracuse, Georgia, North Carolina.

West: Duke, Tennessee, Arizona, Texas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Penn St., San Diego St.

Southwest: Kansas, Illnois, Richmond, Louisville, Georgetown, St. Peter's, Texas A&M, Notre Dame.

Southeast: Pittsburgh, Old Dominion, Kansas St., Belmont, St. John's, BYU, Michigan St., Florida.

Round 2 winners

East: Ohio St., Kentucky, Marquette, North Carolina.

West: Duke, Arizona, Connecticut, San Diego St.

Southwest: Kansas, Louisville, Georgetown, Notre Dame.

Southeast: Pittsburgh, Kansas St., BYU, Florida.

Sweet 16 winners

East: Kentucky North Carolina

West: Arizona, San Diego St.

Southwest: Kansas, Notre Dame

Southeast: Pittsburgh, BYU

Elite Eight winners

East: Kentucky

West: Arizona

Southwest: Kansas

Southeast: Pittsburgh

Final Four winners: Kentucky, Pittsburgh

Championship Game result: Pittsburgh 79, Kentucky 61

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