Pick your bracket by class, creed 'n' campus and cost   

Updated: March 18, 2008, 5:22 PM ET

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This might be the most subjective hodgepodge of picking possibilities, but we swear, there's a method to this madness. The C's come down hard on schools with high tuition prices (Duke, Vanderbilt, San Diego, St. Joe's) and show love to more economical choices like Memphis, Arizona and A&M.

Private schools powered by a higher power are well-respected in this system as are urban campuses with street cred.

State schools in disguise are banished (you can't fool us with those alias names, George Mason, Winthrop, Austin Peay, Purdue and Clemson) while universities that are proud to be public fare best (especially if they are the best.)


On Friday, we promised to help you win your NCAA pool. Here are our nine foolproof methods.
The 10th -- straight chalk -- will be figured into the Page 2 group bracket as a control variable.
Stay tuned to Page 2 throughout the NCAA tournament to see how our brackets stack up.

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Which school has the most star power?
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Which program graduates the fewest players?
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If each school was a beer, which one would you drink?
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Who has the right mix of street cred and religious clout?
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Non-hoops jocks
Which school produces the most successful non-basketball athletes?
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Easiest region to pick: Midwest. Campuses with legit cred (Georgetown and USC), three "States" (Portland, Kent and Fullerton), plus a Catholic crusade (Nova, Siena and Gonzaga) make the first round a breeze.

Toughest region to pick: West. Arizona vs. West Virginia is a toss-up, as is Mormons vs. Aggies. Jesuits over public school Dawgs is a roll of the dice.

Easiest pick (single game): Baylor (the world's largest Baptist university) over Purdue (looks like a locomotive on paper but is really just an undercover Indiana state school). Fess up, Boilermakers.

Toughest pick (single game): Love the humility of Mississippi Valley State, which isn't afraid to use two taboos ("State" and "Valley"), but the rural campus really hurts its case. There's no bling in Itta Bena.

Biggest upset (in entire bracket): The No. 15 Baptists of Belmont dispose of $36K/year Duke.

First-round flop: Clemson, a South Carolina state school, flops against Villanova right off the bat. Nova takes a hit to the more frugal Franciscans of Siena in the Sweet 16, though.

Sleeper school: Kent State

Final Four shocker: Mississippi State

Buy stock in: Anything that ends in "State" or is taught by men in brown robes.

Sell stock in: Purdue, Clemson, Winthrop and George Mason.

Obvious pick we still like anyway: UCLA and North Carolina -- public schools (with private character and clout) which aren't afraid to be forthright about their state-u-ality.

First Round
1 North Carolina def. 16 Mount St. Mary's
9 Arkansas def. 8 Indiana
5 Notre Dame def. 12 George Mason
4 Washington State def. 13 Winthrop
6 Oklahoma def. 11 Saint Joseph's
14 Boise State def. 3 Louisville
10 South Alabama def. 7 Butler
2 Tennessee def. 15 American

Second Round
1 North Carolina def. 9 Arkansas
4 Washington State def. 5 Notre Dame
6 Oklahoma def. 14 Boise State
10 South Alabama def. 2 Tennessee

Round of 16
1 North Carolina def. 4 Washington State
10 South Alabama def. 6 Oklahoma

Regional Final
1 North Carolina def. 6 Oklahoma

First Round
16 Portland State def. 1 Kansas
9 Kent State def. 8 UNLV
12 Villanova def. 5 Clemson
13 Siena def. 4 Vanderbilt
6 USC def. 11 Kansas State
14 Cal State Fullerton def. 3 Wisconsin
7 Gonzaga def. 10 Davidson
2 Georgetown def 15 UMBC

Second Round
9 Kent State def. 15 Portland State
13 Siena def. 12 Villanova
6 USC def. 14 Cal State Fullerton
2 Georgetown def. 7 Gonzaga

Round of 16
9 Kent State def. 13 Siena
6 USC def. 2 Georgetown

Regional Final
6 USC def. 9 Kent State

First Round
1 Memphis def. 16 Texas-Arlington
8 Mississippi State def. 9 Oregon
5 Michigan State def. 12 Temple
4 Pittsburgh def. 13 Oral Roberts
6 Marquette def. 11 Kentucky
3 Stanford def. 14 Cornell
7 Miami (Fla.) def. 10 Saint Mary's
2 Texas def. 15 Austin Peay

Second Round
8 Mississippi State def. 1 Memphis
5 Michigan State def. 4 Pittsburgh
6 Marquette def. 3 Stanford
7 Miami (Fla.) def. 2 Texas

Round of 16:
8 Mississippi State def. 5 Michigan State
7 Miami (Fla.) def. 6 Marquette

Regional Final
8 Mississippi State def. 7 Miami (Fla.)

First Round
1 UCLA def. 16 Mississippi Valley State
9 Texas A&M def. 8 BYU
12 Western Kentucky def. 5 Drake
4 Connecticut def. 13 San Diego
11 Baylor def 6 Purdue
3 Xavier def. 14 Georgia
10 Arizona def. 7 West Virginia
15 Belmont def. 2 Duke

Second Round
1 UCLA def. 9 Texas A&M
12 Western Kentucky def. 4 Connecticut
11 Baylor def. 3 Xavier
10 Arizona def. 15 Belmont

Round of 16
1 UCLA def. 12 Western Kentucky
11 Baylor def. 10 Arizona

Regional Final
1 UCLA def. 11 Baylor

1 North Carolina def. 6 USC
1 UCLA def. 8 Mississippi State

CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 UCLA def. 1 North Carolina

Mary Buckheit is a Page 2 columnist. She can be reached at marybuckheit@hotmail.com.


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