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If you haven’t filled out your bracket and you think you’re too late, you’re not.

Before you agonize and sweat and give yourself a migraine trying to figure out the right answers, just step back and take a deep breath. Whether you’re a youngster who knows every relevant sports site, or you’re old enough to remember the in-depth game capsules of the paper version in the "USA Today," we’ve all learned one thing through the years: March Madness is chaos. You can’t figure it out.

But for those of you want to at least sound intelligent when making your picks, here are some tricks of the trade. Remember, this won’t help you win the office pool. That’ll be done by some hippie in H.R. who hasn’t seen a basketball game since the last time she watched "Space Jam" with her nephew. But at least these tidbits will give you some talking points, so you can give people the impression that you have a clue.

#1. Don’t get sucked in by all of the blue bloods. What’s a blue blood, you ask? It’s a school with a long, storied history. One who's in the tourney every year. But just because they’re in the tourney every year doesn’t mean they’re good this year. Someone like, I don’t know, Michigan State, Kentucky, or even Indiana. None of these teams are very good in 2023. If you want to pick them to win once, have at it. If you’re picking them to go a long way, your friends and co-workers will thank you, because you just lost your pool.

#2. The 7-10 matchups are a toss-up. I know, it looks like a big gap. A #7 must be way better than a #10. They’re not. Just flip a coin.

#3. Don’t go crazy picking underdogs. There are always a couple upsets, and they’re great fun, but they don’t happen very much. If you were one of the people who picked Lehigh over Duke a few years back, you can tell that story for the rest of your life, but if you want to try to finish in the money, take the favorites.

Now, on to the more advanced stuff.

#4. Look where the games are being played. I know they’re “neutral,” but all neutral isn’t created equally. For example, Auburn is playing Iowa in Birmingham, Alabama. Auburn is in Alabama. Iowa is in…Iowa. How is this fair? It isn’t. Take Auburn.

#5. Look for coaches with real experience. Iona, for example, is the #13 playing Uconn, who is the #4. They have no shot, right? Wrong. Iona has this guy at coach named Rick Pitino. You might have heard of him. He’s won a few titles, he’s had a few scandals, but the guy can coach. If you want to pick an underdog and sound like you had a good reason for doing it, take Iona and say “I never pick against Pitino.”

#6. A #13 will beat a #4. It happens every year. It’ll happen this year. I'm not saying it'll be Iona, but...

#7. What they did last week doesn’t matter. Whatever your theory, you can find teams to support or destroy it. There have been teams who flourished in their conference tournament, only to bow out early in the Big Dance. There have been teams who played like garbage late in the season, who made deep runs to the Final Four.

Now, for the really in-depth stuff.

#8. Almost all teams play better at home than on the road. For some teams, it’s ridiculous. Iowa, for example, has insane scoring splits depending on where they play and, since no more of their games will be at home, they are a tough team to take. (When you couple that with #4, and you realize there are TWO major things working against Iowa, there’s no way you can take them. Which means, they almost assuredly will win. They shouldn’t. I’m not picking them. They should get rolled. But…)

#9. Be very wary of teams with major injuries. Houston, Miami and UCLA have big time players who are now big-time question marks. And good luck finding an honest medical report.

#10. When in doubt, taking teams without huge traditional fan bases is a good thing. To go far in the tourney, you need to be able to win when the majority of the crowd isn’t with you. For many of these early round games, the arenas are half-filled, and the crowd is made up of people who aren’t emotionally invested one way or the other. Miami would have been one of those team, except for the injury. Alabama is another. Tennessee, Creighton, even USC could fall into this realm. You don’t have to have a long history to make a long run.

Now hurry up and turn in your bracket, even though you're not going to win anyway. First game is at noon.

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