Like anyone who has entered a friendly bracket contest for men's college basketball, I looked for any advantage other than throwing darts. In 2006, I happened upon an article referencing Pat Forde at ESPN stating that you should ignore the rankings, EXCEPT for the second week of February AP poll. It turns out that in the previous 17 years since 2006, only three teams that were unranked by the AP in this poll made it to the Final Four (4.4%). Even better, only three teams ranked lower than #17 made it to the Final Four in that span. I've kept close tabs on that phenomenon for the last 6 years and there has only been one more team that was below #17 to make it to the Final Four since 2006; that would be George Mason's magical run in, of all years, 2006. Long story short, when the bracket comes out, I take the second week of February AP poll and I pick the top 17 teams to win every game they play, until they meet another one ranked higher than 17, in which case I pick the one ranked higher. The Final Four is a crap shoot from there, but you can take the first place team all the way if you want. Full disclaimer: there are no guarantees to this method, and I have not won every bracket I have entered; far from it. However, I feel comfortable knowing I have a system, is somewhat effective and does not take long to implement. Here is the poll for 2013.