By Justin Curry

Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for, March Madness! A time were everyone will be putting all their attention into college basketball as the 1st round of the NCAA tournament kicks off Thursday March 21st. Not only does March Madness bring loads of excitement and fun for you and your favorite teams, but it brings excellent competition as we all create our ideal NCAA brackets. Many participate in the bracket challenge whether it is amongst friends, at work, online or with family. This season has been an exciting one. No one team has dominated team the NCAA, so brackets will be interesting to fill out.

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Since the season has been so inconsistent this year, anything is liable to happen in the tournament. Here are a few things that you need to be mindful of when filling out your bracket.

*) First, a 12 seed has defeated a 5 seed in the first round for the past 22 of 24 years. These are the sleeper teams that have great talent but compete in a tough conference. Do not sleep on these teams because they have just as much talent as the lower seeded teams.

*) At least two double-digit seeds have reached the sweet 16 in the past 13 of 16 years. These are seeds considered cinderella teams who you expect to be knocked out in the 1st round. A great example of this would be George Mason in 2008, their run, although cut short eventually was incredible.

*) No number 1 seed is a sure bet. Although a number 1 seed has won five of the past six championships, it is still not smart to put them all in the Final Four. This year’s number one overall seed is Louisville. They resume may seem good on paper but you have to remember they lost 3 games straight mid-season.

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*) Experience matters in the tournament. Although some teams look like sure choices for victory, their lack of experience could hinder them in crunch time. Teams like Miami, have excellent talent and proven skills during the season. But Miami has not been to the NCAA tournament in years. You must also take into account coaching. Experienced coaches such as coach K of Duke know how to handle tournament pressure.

*) Pay attention to teams that rebound well, especially on the offensive glass. Teams that rely on the jump shot may not have success in the tournament. Granted some teams can be hot shooting wise, but any team can be cold on any given night. Without second chances it is hard to make that comeback if you can’t make those shots.

*) Keep in mind the teams who have lingering injuries. A teams ranking in the tournament can be very deceiving. Make sure you know the entire team is healthy before you pick them to advance. One key player could be the difference in an elite eight appearance and a first round bust.

It’s tournament time ladies and gentleman, one of the most exciting and intense times of the year for sports fans. Brackets need to be completed by Thursday at 12:00 noon, which is when the action officially tips off. This is one of the most unpredictable seasons in college basketball. There are many teams eager to prove us wrong and make big runs in the tournament. Who will you pick to win it all? It’s win or go home so get ready because the Madness has arrived.

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