A week ago, a link was provided here to a dead-tree edition story on some dos and don’ts of filling out an NCAA tournament bracket.
Nearly all of them can be evaluated now rather than waiting much longer.
So how good was the advice? Let’s review:
DO sprinkle in a pair of victories by a No. 12 seed. In nine of the past 10 years, at least one of these two scenarios has unfolded: A No. 12 seed made it to the second weekend, or two No. 12 seeds sprung first-round “upsets.” One team to feel particularly good about is underseeded Atlantic 10 champ Richmond.
* CORRECT. Richmond accounted for two victories last weekend, defeating Vanderbilt and Morehead State to reach the round of 16.
DON’T pick a No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed.
* CORRECT. Though let’s be serious, being right about this is no great accomplishment. No. 1 seeds are now 108-0 all-time against No. 16s.
DO pick Mike Krzyzewski against any double-digit seed he comes across.
* CORRECT. Again, this didn’t happen to matter much. Coach K improved to 30-3 against double digit seeds after the Blue Devils beat Hampton. Barring a meeting with Marquette in the Final Four or a non-Kansas winner of the Southwest regional in the title game, this will hold up.
DON’T buy into Utah State as a trendy upset pick.
* CORRECT. The Aggies fell to Kansas State in their first game.
DO pencil Texas A&M into the second round.
* INCORRECT. Coach Mark Turgeon lost a round of 64 game for the first time as the Aggies fell to Florida State.
DON’T bet against North Carolina within its own borders.
* CORRECT. The Tar Heels improved to 29-1 in NCAA tournament games in the state of North Carolina with defeats of Long Island and Washington.
DO pick at least one Colonial Athletic Association team to win its first game.
* CORRECT. Both George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth won games, with VCU collecting three in a five-day span.
DON’T get too caught up in Temple coach Fran Dunphy’s 1-12 career record in the NCAA tournament.
* CORRECT. Sure enough, the Owls beat Penn State in their opening game, then extended second-seeded San Diego State to two overtimes in the round of 32.
DO take your chances on a Big 12 tournament champion — in this case, Kansas.
* TRENDING CORRECT. The Jayhawks are halfway to the Final Four, and won’t need to beat anyone seeded higher than No. 9 to get there. That’s not to say Kansas won’t lose this weekend in San Antonio, but on paper its path to Houston is less harrowing than just about anyone left in the bracket.
DON’T get overly excited about new blood.
* CORRECT. First-year coaches went 1-4 in the tournament, with Clemson’s Brad Brownell snagging the lone victory in a play-in defeat of UAB.
DO value Final Four experience.
* TRENDING CORRECT. Of the 16 teams left in the field, nine are led by coaches who have been to the Final Four before. There are six national title-winning coaches remaining: Steve Fisher (1989), Mike Krzyzewski (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010), Jim Calhoun (1999, 2004), Roy Williams (2005, 2009), Billy Donovan (2006, 2007) and Bill Self (2008). Only one regional —- the Southwest — doesn’t feature two coaches with Final Four experience.
DON’T even remotely consider advancing a No. 8 or No. 9 seed from a major conference to the round of 16. … If you must pick a No. 1 seed to get upended, go with the Butler-Old Dominion winner against Pittsburgh.
* CORRECT. Michigan and Illinois lost round of 32 games to No. 1 seeds, though Michigan did a fine job to rally and test Duke right down to final seconds.
DO keep your wits about you and pass on picking an Ivy League champ to make a run again.
* CORRECT. But certainly not emphatically. Princeton gave Kentucky a stern test in a round of 64 game.
DON’T fall in love with a Big East team coming off a miracle run in the conference tournament.
* TRENDING INCORRECT. This becomes bad advice if Connecticut upends San Diego State in the regional semifinals. If not, it’s really neither good nor bad.
—- Patrick Stevens