It’s that time of year again. The air is getting warmer and the sun is staying out longer. It’s also time for March Madness…that time of the year when entire offices come together in a giant pick-em pool for office bragging rights. Everyone from your huge college basketball fan to your co-workers who don’t even own a television will get in on this game. You obviously don’t have to be an expert to win, but you also don’t want to just pick based off of colors and mascots. Unless they are really pretty colors and the mascot happens to be your favorite animal, if that’s the case then you have every right.

Without further ado, here are some tips that will help you win your brackets (but honestly you have just as good of a chance picking by colors).

  1. Every year it seems like a 5 seed will lose to a 12 seed in the first round. Try to pick one or two of these, but don’t go overboard and pick all 12 seeds to advance.
  2. A number 1 seed has never lost in the first round, so don’t go picking against them early.
  3. Only once since 1979 have all 4 number 1 seeds made it to the final four (2008). You should have 1 or 2 of them getting knocked out before that point.
  4. Cinderella stories are great, but usually don’t win the big game. Go with the schools you know in the late rounds.

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As someone who has hosted and ran the brackets for his office for many years, please take this one last final piece of advice. Do not take any of this too seriously. Upsets happen as do weird bounces and funny plays. In fact I finished dead last in my office bracket last year and I am the one that put it together.  I lost to some people who hadn’t watched a single basketball game all year and only knew about March Madness because I invited them to the brackets. March Madness is a time for offices to come together and root for the same teams. It’s a time to laugh because the office hotshot did terrible or the person who doesn’t know what a basketball looks like won the whole thing. So please don’t take it too seriously because you don’t want to be that person that ruins the experience for everyone else. Plus if you don’t win this year you always have next year.

So take these few tips back with you when you make your picks. And remember that nearly everyone is going to lose, so just sit back, hope you don’t finish last, and enjoy the camaraderie.

Jim_Korona.jpgJim Korona (@koronajim) is a staff accountant at Airfoil, a high-tech PR and marcomm firm with offices in Silicon Valley, Detroit and London.