Start with Blue.

That’s your safest bet when filling out your NCAA Tournament bracket this year – and you know you will. Millions of us do it every year. This is the best month of sports in America, if not the universe (you think it’s an accident that Saturn looks like a round ball going through a hoop?).

It used to be that you could count on office TVs being on during work hours three times a year.

One was baseball’s Opening Day, but MLB canceled that one this year.

The other was during the World Series, but MLB, again, has gone to playing night games for TV ratings, ruining one of the great traditions of my childhood – talking a teacher into turning the TV on during class to watch the World Series (is it not America’s pastime?)

Three, and the only one that remains, is the NCAA Tournament. It tips off Thursday around 11 a.m. Central, and goes all day (and half the night), repeating on Friday. It’s been said that the first two weekends of the NCAA Tournament are the least productive days in American business (not counting what goes on in Washington, D.C., of course).

So, as a veteran of many years of busted brackets, I give you a key factor to consider in picking your eventual national champion: blue.

Kentucky Big Blue? Maybe. Duke Blue Devil blue? Possibly. UCLA or North Carolina or Arizona (Cardinal and Navy)? Certainly, Arizona is a good pick. Not only are the Wildcats a top seed and one of the best basketball teams in the country this year, but they include both blue and a shade of red, which are the two power colors when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.

According to my thorough research (Google, just a minute ago), since 1939, blue has been the dominant team color of schools who have gone to the Final Four (44%), the Final Two (55%) and won the championship (55%). Betting on blue gives you better odds than tossing a coin.

The problem is, there is an awful lot of blue in the NCAA Tournament. Not just those teams previously mentioned, but West No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 2 seed Duke; South No. 1 Arizona and No. 2 seed Villanova, East No. 2 seed Kentucky; and Midwest No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Auburn.

The only wildcard? East No. 1 seed and defending national champion Baylor, whose colors are Green and Gold. (UAB over Houston, anyone? After all, there have been only five years when a 12 seed did not beat a 5 seed. Why not UAB this year?)

But what are the odds of Baylor repeating as national champion? It hasn’t been done since Florida (another blue team) in 2006-07, Duke (blue) in 1991-92, and of course UCLA (blue and gold) winning nine out of 10 from 1964-1973.

I know what you basketball junkies are thinking: fill out my bracket based on team colors? What about analysis, key players, match-ups, experience, even mascot vs. mascot (a Tiger over a Gamecock for you Auburn fans; but who wins in a battle between Murray State Racers and San Francisco Dons?).

Analyze all you want, but the truth is there has never been a verified perfect NCAA Tournament bracket. And the odds of you being the first to do that are, according to several geek websites that turned up in my search, 1 in 9.2 quintillions.

And you thought the U.S. deficit was high.

Oh, another site said if you know something about basketball, your odds improve to 1 in 120.2 billion.

So technically, yes, it could happen. Read all the experts. Sign up for all the computer models. Run your scenarios until you are blue – see a pattern here? – in the face.

But according to the NCAA Bracket Challenge Game, you don’t have to be perfect to win; winners of the Challenge have averaged 49.9% correct picks in their brackets. Even in math-challenged Alabama, we know that’s a hair below being a 50-50-coin toss.

Without a doubt, when it’s all said and done, there will be a lot more of you feeling blue about your picks than celebrating blue with your wins.

But that’s what puts the madness in March.

Ray Melick is Editor-in-Chief of 1819 News. He has Arizona, Kansas, Gonzaga and Kentucky in the Final Four – all blue teams. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to