The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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March 19, 2014

10 NCAA basketball tournament bracket strategies that will impress your colleagues

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3. Critical Hit!

You may not know what a Tar Heel is, but do you know a 20-sided die when you see one?

This method is easy. Start with a 16-team region. Roll the dice. If you hit a 17-20, re-roll, otherwise any dice roll that matches up with a team seed (1-through-16 per region) advances. Feel free to break out other game dice as the matcups dwindle. Keep rolling until you've filled the in the second round participants in all four regions.

There's no Dungeon Master here to re-seed the teams, so for the rest of the rounds, roll the dice once for each team per matchup. Higher number moves on to the next round.

4. All upsets

Everyone knows a No. 12 seed is going to beat a No. 5 seed in the first round. You didn't know that? Yup, every year.

Upsets are a huge part of the NCAA tournament bracket experience. They are the reason people take off work and why work Internet connections get a workout on the first Thursday and Friday of the tournament.

Embrace the upset. A No. 16 seed has to win the tournament some day.

Or, pick all upsets in one round of the tournament and follow the book for every other pick. With the way the tournament has gone in the last few years -- pure insanity -- you could probably do worse.

5. Double letter score

One of my co-workers, reporter Robert Stoneback, pulled off the Scrabble score method a few years back. He didn't win, but he lucked out early by picking a couple upsets with a K and a couple Js. Maybe a V.

The issue you run into is how far you go with the names. I mean, we call them BYU (8 points) and UCLA (6 points), but they're technically Brigham Young University (39 points) and University of California, Los Angeles (46 points). But if we do that we're practically giving this thing to Virginia Commonwealth University (51 points).

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