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7 Tips For Picking Your Bracket If You Know Nothing About Basketball

Go ahead and pick teams by mascots or colors, but put a little science behind it. A BuzzFeed original analysis of the last 15 NCAA tournaments.

Posted on March 20, 2013, at 6:41 p.m. ET

1. Evil mascots beat good ones.

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

We broke down school mascots into 8 categories: birds, reptiles, mammals, insects, colors, nature-related, evil beings, and people which included local culture related stuff. The evil beings beat the people category 71% of the time. So if an evil-mascot team is matched up against a person-mascot team, you know what to do.

2. Reptiles are also a good bet.

Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Reptiles also beat up on the people 75% of the time. And they came up victorious against mammals 70% of the time. Other mascot trends that occurred about 60% of the time include birds bombing nature; colors over mammals; evil consuming mammals and reptiles; mammals, insects and nature trouncing people; and mammals eating insects.

3. Don't bet on the Ivy League.

Elise Amendola, File / AP

Some conferences, like the Ivy League, have a somewhat dismal history. Check the charts below to see which conferences have stalled out, and where, over the last 15 years.

So, in the last 15 years...

4. Instead, go East.

Frank Franklin II / AP

There's always someone chirping about how good their conference is, and a lot of those someone's are talking about the Big East. Louisville helped back it up this year with a number one overall seed and legit shot at the title. If you do wanna follow the crowd, go all the way. Big East teams have won all four championship games that they've made it to in the last 15 years, plus with massive realignment coming next year, this may be your last chance.

5. Avoid Delaware.


We looked at how far schools in each state have gotten recently. The states listed below have all had at least two attempts to break these trends without success.

So, in the last 15 years...

6. But do bet on Maryland.


Schools from these states may not always make it this far, but they take advantage when they do. All of them have been there at least twice in the last 15 years so it can't be a complete fluke.

7. Just pick the blue team.

Dave Kaup / Reuters

The numbers have spoken. Schools with blue as their primary color beat schools with black 64% of the time. The blues also beat green schools 59% of the time.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.