How to Fill Out Your Bracket Perfectly

The chances of picking a perfect bracket are one in 147,573,952,589,676,412,928.

If you’re a pessimist, then you’re thinking something like, I have a better chance of getting hit by lightning twice while holding Bigfoot’s hand and growing a beard with my mind! If you see the glass half-full, you’re thinking, I have a chance! Well, then I’ve got a free iPad for you after you fill out this completely anonymous, totally virus-free, online survey that I promise won’t mine your computer for social security and credit card numbers.

But anyway, while the odds say you won’t pick a perfect bracket, you realistically could win whatever office pool you are in. Whether you’ve memorized Ken Pomeroy’s rankings and know the shoe sizes of every equipment manager in the Big Sky conference or if you’re still not sure how many points a three-pointer is worth, you’re on equal footing with everyone else.

However, if you follow these seven steps, I promise that you will fill out your bracket perfectly:

  1. Do not use a pen: If you mistake a mistake, you will regret this. Ink is final. You cannot go back when you write down a team’s name in ink. And if you can’t go back and constantly change your picks, always doubting yourself, crippling any self-confidence you once had, ultimately causing yourself to become temporarily agoraphobic until April 4, then what’s the point of even doing this?
  2. Use a No. 2 pencil: A No. 3? Seriously?
  3. As you advance each team, don’t write down their seeds: This will waste time, and the constant half-circular motion of the number 3 will cause your hand to cramp before you get to the regional finals. If you must, take a shot of pickle juice before you begin.
  4. Abbreviations are your enemy: UC? Is that Connecticut or Cincinnati? Don’t confuse your bracket chief. Also, are you really going to pass up the opportunity to write out “Morehead State?”
  5. Go one game at a time: Do not pencil teams in for the Final Four before picking their first games. Fill out each round throughout the entire bracket, and then move on. You don’t want to have your “legendary” Hampton U Final Four pick be for naught after you also picked them to lose to Michigan in the second round.
  6. Do not spend more than three seconds thinking about the final score: It won’t come down to that, I promise. Put down 135 and move on.
  7. Write your full name somewhere on the paper: First name and last name. Sorry, Rick, but you’re probably not the only Dick in the pool. Also, no one knows your nickname—“Chaz”—so please just mark down your full name to avoid any confusion.


  1. Have a computer: Then, ignore the previous seven steps.

—Photo AP

About Ryan O'Hanlon

Ryan O'Hanlon is the managing editor of the Good Men Project. He used to play soccer and go to college. He's still trying to get over it. You can follow him on Twitter @rwohan.

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