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Take the Stress out of Brackets

With the tournament just days away people everywhere are printing out copies of brackets and reading everything they can get their hands on before Thursday. Experts, casual fans and those who hardly know what basketball is are all trying to pick the perfect bracket and hopefully win a pretty decent payout.

Why all the stress and worry? A lot of it comes down to luck in the end but a little research and planning can make the difference of being out of it after the first weekend and ending up in the top 10. Most pools do award second, third and even fourth place prizes.

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shoppinglist.gifMake A List

Stop all the scratching out and erasing. Before filling out the bracket for the last time take a step back and think of it like a trip to the grocery store. Are you someone who just goes without a game plan and throws stuff in your basket as you go? Odds are good that you also come home and forget something as simple as milk.

Picking your brackets is the same as grocery shopping. If you make a list of what you need then there is a much better chance that you get everything you went for and in the end that is what we all want.

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Pick Your Staples

A good grocery list will include all of the staples that we buy every week. Most of us do not even right them down because it seems so obvious that milk and bread are part of a grocery trip. Well this is the same in the NCAA tourney.

No matter if you are making a simple meal or a fancy recipe to impress people with, you need the staple items fully stocked.

Staple teams are the ones that need to be on your list to succeed even if it seems more interesting to try new schools or go for the upsets. Doing that is very high risk and high reward. How many of you try to make ribs for the first time without a recipe to follow? If you succeed in doing that, maybe you should be picking a 15 seed to beat a 2.

Just like milk, bread, potatoes and toilet paper, these teams are the ones that should make your list so you can bring home the proverbial bacon.

North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Texas, Memphis and Tennessee

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Hot New Products

We are all influenced by advertisements and marketing of new products. Everytime I go grocery shopping there always seems to be a new product in the cart that I am eager to try. This choice can either add a new staple to the list, you enjoy the product but don’t get it all the time or it is really bad and you never get it again.

Think of these teams as exactly that. A school with a lot of flashy upsets and good publicity but they don’t really have what it takes to go very far in the tourney.

Kansas State, Drake, George Mason, Oregon, USC

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Leave out of the Cart

When you get to the checkout and look in the cart how much of it is food you really don’t need. The bad stuff like sweets, frozen dinners and all that other crap is not very healthy.

If you don’t write them on your list that will improve the odds that you don’t pick it up. I guess it depends on how strict you are with sticking to a list. Regardless these are the teams that you should avoid if you want to do well in your pool.

Michigan State, Vanderbelt, Wisconsin (for Casey), Kentucky, Oklahoma

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Stick to your List

Once you make a list stick to it. The same goes for when you are filling out the brackets. If you have the right mix of staple teams, streaking teams and not too many schools that are bad for you, the odds are good you could have the perfect recipe for success.

As I mentioned it always comes down to luck. Experts are out of the running after four days, people who don’t watch the games cruise to the end and people like me try to figure out the best way to make picks every year without profit.

Take that grocery list you made and go out and cook up some amazing food to watch the games with and you will be a winner no matter what.

College hoops, your brackets in hand and plates of great food make March one of the best times of year.

Enjoy and don’t attack me if I influenced your picks and they did not turn out.


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