If you are a college basketball junkie like myself, there really isn't anything better than March Madness!

The brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament were announced last night, and the tourney gets underway this Thursday (March 16)

If you are a newbie to filling out your bracket, or just a little overwhelmed on who and who not to pick, here are a few tips.

Know your pool’s scoring system: Something to consider for sure. You have to know whether a pool’s scoring system weighs upset victories and whether correct pick values multiply with each successive round, which can help you determine how aggressively to play.

Leave that No. 16 seed alone: When was the last time a number 1 seed lost to a number 16 team? Can you say NEVER! 126-0 in match ups. It is bound to happen one day, but the odds are obviously in your favor to go with four #1's, at least in the first round.

Pick Upsets for the #1 seeds later in tournament: Since seeding began in 1979, only once has the Final Four been composed of nothing but 1-seeds. Kansas came out on top of that pile in San Antonio in 2008.

Pick some Upsets during the first round: As we stated above, not a wise idea to pick a 16 over a 1 (or even a 15 over 2) in the first round, but do a little research and look for match ups that might favor the underdog. I have had success the last few years picking a #12 seed over #4, or an #11 seed over a #6 seed. The NCAA tries to seed all four conferences as equally as they can, but there is no way all the favorites win in the first round.

Pick a Cinderella Team; Every year, it seems a team comes out of nowhere and has a good run, beating a few top tiered teams to make it to the sweet 16 or elite 8. Who will it be this year? Who knows, but if you are playing in a bracket, no guts; no glory. 

Have fun and don't stress if one of your teams in the final four gets knocked out early. There's a pretty good chance most everyone else had that team winning, too.

And don't forget to enter the Blue Collar Industries Million Dollar Challenge before Thursday. If your picks are perfect, you win a cool million bucks. If you get 60 or more games right, you win 10 thousand bucks. And if you have the best bracket in Central Maine, you'll win a 32" Samsung LED TV. Good luck!


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