The expert’s tips to pick a winning bracket

For sports, it’s the greatest time of the year. March Madness is upon us, and it’s truly a time where all sports fans, no matter how big or small, can rejoice. The NCAA tournament gives us a chance to be part of something that’s bigger than us. That’s what makes picking brackets so exciting. If your Final Four teams go far, it’s one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. Like me, I assume you will all be racking your brains when you decide which teams will win each matchup. Being a college basketball expert and bracketologist, I’m here to give you some tips for how to pick your bracket.

Snell leads the Lobos to a Mountain West title. (AP Photo)

• Look at conference champs

Recently in sports, we’ve seen the hottest teams come out and win titles. In college basketball, it’s no different. It seems that every team that either makes it to the finals of their respective conference tournament or wins the whole thing has success in March. For example, the past three Big East champions have all made it to the Final Four. Louisville seems to follow the trend. Also, keep an eye out for Oregon, New Mexico and Ohio State. All three have won their conference tournaments and are on a true roll right now.

Visit kenpom.com

One of the best statistical predicting sites on the internet, kenpom.com gives you the adjusted offensive and defensive ratings for every team, good ways to predict how teams will fare on both sides of the ball. If you love scoring, pick Michigan, Creighton or Iowa State. If defense is more of your thing, Louisville, Florida and Wisconsin are the top teams in the country. Whatever you need, kenpom.com has you covered.

Coaching wins titles

Good coaches win a lot of games in March. They know how to prepare their teams and what to do to get the most out of each individual player. Tom Izzo of Michigan State is the perfect example. Izzo is the guy who always has the Spartans ready for the NCAA tournament and manages to squeeze as much out of his teams as he can. Other coaches who have had some great success are Rick Pitino of Louisville, Shaka Smart of VCU and Brad Stevens of Butler.

Don’t be afraid to pick upsets

Every year, the NCAA tournament has some crazy surprises and this year could be the most wild one yet. If you go the safe route and pick all of the high-seeded teams, you’re going to get burned. Your best chance is to pick a few upsets and check out the matchups. Cinderellas are synonymous with March Madness. Some popular sleepers are South Dakota State, Davidson and Montana.