TAMPA, Fl. - It's that time of year again: You know, when the dude in the cubicle next to you starts bragging about how great he is at filling out his NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket in the office pool. Last year he actually called himself "Hoops Harry" and made himself a special paper hat.
First of all, please know that perfection is unattainable here. Your chances of filling out a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. You have a better chance at making a half-court basketball shot (1 in 100).
Or getting crushed by a vending machine (1 in 112 million).
Or winning the lottery...TWICE in your life (1 in 6.75 trillion).
So a perfect bracket likely isn't happening. But that doesn't mean you can't pull it off -- or at least win your office pool. Here are three paths to victory:
1) Everyone loves upsets. But don't get too fancy-dancy with the top four seeds in each region. Eighty-four percent of the teams that have made the Final Four have been seeded in the top four.
2) You still have to pick some upsets though. No. 12 seeds over No. 5 seeds are popular picks, mostly because IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. This year I like Princeton over Notre Dame.
3) North Carolina. Love 'em or loathe 'em, the UNC Tarheels -- a No. 1 seed this year and last year -- has the most final four appearances of all time at 19. Duke and Kentucky, both No. 2 seeds, are right behind them in Final Four tallies. Picking them to go far is neither obvious nor boring -- it's just smart money.
Now march right into Hoops Harry's office and show him who's boss!