Even though the Villanova Wildcats won't be partaking in this year's NCAA Tournament, March Madness is still one of the greatest times of the year, and I'm not about to let 'Nova's failures ruin that. I'm sure everyone is partaking in multiple pools, but please make sure that you head over to our SB Nation Wisdom of Crowds Bracket Challenge and fill out your bracket today!
So many questions arise each year now that the field has been finalized.
How will the top seeds fare? Who's overrated and who is underrated? Who are the potential Cinderellas this year? Despite my unhealthy obsession with college basketball, why does the guy who doesn't know a thing always win our bracket pool?
It's time to pick your bracket ladies and gents! After The Jump we'll take a look at some of the teams to keep an eye on and some general guidelines to use when filling out your bracket.
Fallacy #1 - Power Conference teams are going to dominate the tournament.
The biggest misconception of them all. Sure, the Big East is regularly now going to put 8-10 teams in the tournament every year, and those teams are going to be seriously battle-tested because of the schedule they played. But that can be a detriment as well. Teams that played a grueling regular season schedule will be worn down at this point this year.
Also, just because you belong to a good conference does not mean you are a good team.
Beware: UConn, Purdue, Kansas State, Alabama, Texas
Fallacy #2 - [Mid-Major X] did it before, they can do it again!
This one always makes me laugh. Listen, not everyone is the next Gonzaga. Most of these mid-majors are just that - a flash in the pan one year. In fact, most are so underrated in the minds of the experts that they can suddenly become overrated.
Beware: VCU, Murray State, Harvard, Belmont, Davidson
Fallacy #3 - Talent will win out.
I'll just say this - there is a reason that John Calipari's team haven't been able to win the big one. All the talent in the world cannot make up for experience and poise at this time of the year. And while Anthony Davis surely might not be human, he's still just a freshman, surrounded by many more underclassmen. There's a reason why Vanderbilt beat them yesterday, and it's the same reason they won't be cutting down the nets this year.
Beware: Kentucky, Duke, Baylor, Georgetown
Truth #1 - Coaching matters. A lot.
Coach K doesn't get to the Final 4 often because the refs love Duke (okay, maybe a little). It's because he prepares well for his opponents and usually has a solid game plan. Same thing with Roy Williams and Bill Self and on and on. And we're not just talking about future Hall of Famers, either. The coaches to prepare for every game and don't overlook their opponents (plus have disciplined teams) tend to do well at this time of year.
We Like: Marquette, Temple, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Florida State
Truth #2 - Location plays a factor.
Most high seeds are fortunate enough to play close to home, and in turn get a big home crowd factor in the opening rounds. As you get closer to the middle seeds, things can get dicey. Gonzaga has to travel to Pittsburgh to face 10th seeded West Virgina, for example. And it's not just the home-crowd factor, but the no-crowd factor. Florida-Virginia in Omaha? How will that play out?
Those are definitely things to keep an eye on when picking your bracket.
We Like: West Virginia, Ohio, Long Beach State
Truth #3 - When in doubt, go with your gut.
We're all going to agonize all day about who to pick and try to get cute with a few upsets. Keep it simple. There doesn't HAVE to be a 5-12 upset every year (even though this year looks ripe). There doesn't HAVE to be a mid-major that gets to the Elite 8. Instead of stressing out, just go with what you know and what you feel.
Because at the end of the day, somebody picking teams based on colors is going to win your pool anyways!
We Like: Teams with unusual mascots.
Happy bracketing everyone!
Yahoo! Tourney Pick'em supports SBNation and the best college sports tournament of the year. Join the bracket pools of Drew Brees, Michael Phelps, and Lil Wayne-- all while competing in the $5 million Perfect Bracket and $10,000 Best Bracket Sweepstakes. Be part of the best and biggest Yahoo! Sports tourney game yet – sign up today!