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Let the Madness Begin: Mostly Helpful NCAA Bracket Pool Tips

Posted by Man Crates on


Just about everyone claims to have a system for picking the perfect March Madness bracket. Here’s our system: Take everything you’ve learned, open the nearest window and now throw it out that window. It’s all nonsense. At Man Crates, when we’re not assembling amazing gifts for men, we’re filling whiteboards with bracketology formulas. We went to night school for it and everything.

There’s really only one way to properly predict the Madness that is about to ensue over these next few weeks. And that is to get a little bit crazy yourself. Trying to forecast what a bunch of 18- to 22-year-old kids will do is inherently impossible. They can’t even clean their dorm rooms. So embrace the randomness. You don’t have to abandon all of your instincts, just most of them.

Here are a dozen PRO-TIPS to consider as you fill out your bracket:

1) When considering who is going to win a matchup, close your eyes and imagine yourself back in college. This won’t help you with your pick, but it’s still kind of nice and puts you in a good headspace.

2) Why not take a 16 seed to beat a 1 seed? Experts will tell you that a 16 seed has never beaten a 1. But, this means that the law of averages is way in your favor. When it does happen, you will look like a genius, which is totally worth the risk. Also, YOLO.

3)Teams that have good point guards and share the ball (Villanova, UCLA) often do well in the tournament. Teams that make their free throws (Notre Dame, Oklahoma St.) do really well, too. Teams that don’t show up lose 100% of the time. Make sure these teams have transportation to the game.

4) When in doubt, take the team that makes more 3-pointers. Most mathematicians agree that 3s are better than 2s.

5) If you still can’t decide on a pick, ask yourself what would Dick Vitale do? Then do the opposite.

6) If you find yourself picking a lot of ACC teams, it’s because the ACC contains about 42 teams, all of which are in the tournament.

7) Speaking of the ACC, don’t pick Duke to win it all. Just don’t do it. You don’t want to root for this guy, do you? Or this guy? Of course not.

8) We are contractually obligated to tell you that a 12 seed ALWAYS beats a 5 seed. Try Nevada over Iowa St. this year.

9) Winthrop University is located in Rock Hill, South Carolina. We were surprised, too. Impress your friends with this factoid.

10) We are now pleased to present the All-Name Tourney Team:

  • Syndarius Thornwell, South Carolina
  • Giddy Potts, Middle Tennessee St.
  • Cane Broome, Cincinnati
  • Melo Trimble, Maryland
  • Schuyler Rimmer, Florida
  • Deyshoney Much, Iona
  • Dunkarino Swishness, Seton Hall*
  • Honorable Mentions: Gorjok Gak, Florida; Basil Smotherman, Purdue; Anders Broman, Winthrop; Shake Milton, SMU; D’Mitrick Trice, Wisconsin; Killian Tillie, Gonzaga

Once you’ve decided your Final Four teams, write them each an email and ask them to try extra hard for you. Tell them you’ve got a lot riding on them. Please cc us on this email.

Always remember, no matter who you pick, the odds are you’re doomed no matter what you do. So just have fun out there!

*Ok, we made that name up.

Once your brackets are perfected, it’s time to get your watch party game going. You don’t want any upsets when you’re handing out frosty beverages to friends and fans who can’t take their eyes off the action on up to four networks at once.
College Gifts for Men
Just cracking open some beers? We’ve got several of the tourney team covered in our College Barware Crate.

If you’re looking to mix it up with a killer concoction or three, here are some that are ripe for an afternoon (and morning and evening) of roundball…

The Sweet Sixteener

  • 2 oz gold tequila
  • ½ oz apricot brandy
  • 1 ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 3 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • ¼ oz maraschino cherry juice (from a jar of cherries)
  • lime wedge


This one is dedicated to all the coaches out there that will go ballistic at some point this weekend (looking at you, Rick Pitino). Shake the liquid ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Squeeze the lime wedge over the drink and toss it in.

The Alley Oop

  • 1 ¼ oz of vodka
  • ¾ oz peach schnapps
  • 3 oz cranberry juice


Our sources tell us this Bill Raftery’s go-to drink, and Bill Raftery is a national treasure. Surprisingly, it doesn’t contain onions. Shake the ingredients vigorously with ice. Stir into an ice-filled highball glass.

The Fightin’ Irish

  • 1 ½ oz irish whiskey
  • ¾ oz Drambuie
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3-4 oz chilled ginger ale
  • Lemon twist


A fine drink for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Shake all liquid ingredients except the ginger ale vigorously with ice. Strain into ice-filled highball glass. Top with ginger ale and stir gently. Twist the lemon peel over the drink and slam dunk it in.

Our Tournament Predictions

First Round upset special: Florida Gulf Coast over Florida St.
Second Round upset special:
Michigan over Louisville
Final Four:
Gonzaga, Villanova, UCLA, Oregon (Can you tell our headquarters is out west?)
Championship:
Gonzaga over UCLA

Here’s to your team is cutting down the nets in April!