One of the biggest keys to winning a bracket pool can sometimes be knowing what everyone else thinks.
That allows you to go with the crowd on picks you're least confident in and make strategic upset selections when it's most advantageous.
Here's an early look at who Yahoo users like to pull early upsets, to reach the Final Four and to win the national championship in the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. I also offered my thoughts on where I agree and disagree with popular opinion because I'm craving public embarrassment.
Most popular Round of 64 upset pick by a double digit seed: No. 10 Stanford over No. 7 New Mexico (37.5 percent)
My take: New Mexico has a history of early NCAA tournament exits, bowing out in the opening round as a No. 3 seed last year and in the round of 32 as a No. 3 seed in 2010. Nonetheless, I disagree with this pick. The Lobos were underseeded as a No. 7 and enter the tournament with both momentum and motivation.
Most popular 11-6 Round of 64 upset pick: Iowa/Tennessee over UMass (32.1 percent)
My take: This pick makes far more sense if the Vols emerge from the play-in game than it does if the Hawkeyes do. Iowa limped into the NCAA tournament after dropping six of seven including an opening-round Big Ten tournament loss to Northwestern.
Most popular 12-5 Round of 64 upset pick: Harvard over Cincinnati (25.5 percent)
My take: Harvard is deeper and more talented a year ago when it toppled New Mexico in the opening round, but this is a tough matchup. Not only does Cincinnati boast a fierce defense that can overwhelm opponents, the Bearcats have an elite guard in Sean Kilpatrick and an athletic front line that gobbles up offensive boards.
Most popular 13-4 Round of 64 upset pick: New Mexico State over San Diego State (10.6 percent)
My take: To make San Diego State vulnerable, opponents have to take care of the ball, keep the Aztecs off the offensive boards and force them into relying too heavily on Xavier Thames. Not sure New Mexico State is disciplined enough to do that, though the Aggies do have as much size as any team in the nation.
Double-digit seed most likely to reach the Sweet 16: No. 11 Nebraska
My take: The surging Huskers closed the regular season with 11 wins in 14 games to unexpectedly reach the NCAA tournament, but their draw doesn't suggest that hot streak will continue. Baylor closed the season on a tear of its own. And even if Nebraska springs one upset, likely round of 32 opponent Creighton handled the Huskers rather easily during the regular season.
No. 1 seed most likely to lose before the Final Four: Wichita State
My take: Wichita State was still the sixth most popular Final Four pick with 20.8 percent of Yahoo users, but that put them well back of Florida and Arizona and just behind Virginia. Considering the Shockers' draw, that's completely reasonable. No other No. 1 seed has a more treacherous path.
Most popular Final Four picks: Florida (67.4 percent), Arizona (51.2 percent), Michigan State (43.3 percent), Louisville (36.7 percent)
My take: No arguments here. Best bets besides the favorites in each region? Kansas in the South if it can survive until Joel Embiid returns. Virginia in the East because the top-seeded Cavs have the best chance of ruining Michigan State's resurgence. Wichita State in the Midwest if the Shockers can avenge last year's Final Four loss to Louisville in the Sweet 16. And how about Oklahoma State in the West? The Cowboys have the best chance of anyone in that region to topple Arizona.
Five most popular national champions: Florida (35.7 percent), Michigan State (11.7 percent), Louisville (8.1 percent), Arizona (7.5 percent), Wichita State (6.4 percent)
My take: I'd have Arizona above Louisville or Michigan State, but this looks about right. Dark horse worth considering? Kansas. If they get to a regional final against Florida and they're healthy by then, the Jayhawks are a threat to win.
Wichita State will: lose in the round of 64 (5.5 percent), lose during the first weekend (35.2 percent), lose without reaching the Final Four (79.1 percent), win the national championship (6.4 percent)
My take: The 5.5 percent of you who think Wichita State will be the first No. 1 seed ever to lose to a No. 16 baffle me. Not only are No. 1 seeds 116-0 against No. 16 seeds in NCAA tournament history, Wichita State has a 29-0 record against teams with better RPIs than potential opponents Cal Poly and Texas Southern. Taking a risk is one thing but this is bracket suicide.
Kentucky will: lose in the round of 64 (27.1 percent), lose during the first weekend (73.4 percent), lose before the Final Four (97.4 percent), win the national championship (0.8 percent)
My take: The preseason No. 1 Wildcats remain polarizing to the end. I think Kentucky handles Kansas State in the opening round before falling in a close game to Wichita State two days later.
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