Who should I pick?

At this time of year, that’s a question that’s on every college basketball fan’s mind.

Who should I pick …

… for a first-round upset?

… to make the Final Four?

… to win it all?

Everyone has different ways of selecting teams for the NCAA tournament contests.

Some go with the teams they like. I imagine a lot of brackets in this area will have Purdue, Notre Dame, Butler, or all three, making deep tournament runs.

Some stick with teams they’ve heard of and ditch the ones they haven’t. (Sorry, Iona, you’re out.)

The even more casual fans might go with mascots or team colors (just FYI, blue tends to be a winner).

There’s no right or wrong way to fill out a bracket. Literally anyone can win.

We’ve all been part of a contest in which the entrant least interested in college basketball takes about 30 seconds to fill out their form and walks away the winner while the dedicated fan who was glued to the couch last week watching every moment of the conference tournaments fails to even select a single Final Four Team.

That all being said, there are a handful of tips that can be helpful in NCAA bracket contest success.

Here are some simple ones:

•Pick all of the No. 1, 2 and 3 seeds to win their opening game. Not a single No. 1 seed has ever lost in the first round. It’s going to happen someday, but trying to guess when is a fool’s errand. (No. 2 and 3 seeds have lost tournament games, but only 6.3 and 16.4 percent of the time, respectively.) The key to the early rounds is to keep your bracket intact. Stick with the safe picks here.

•Choose a handful of No. 10, 11 and 12 seeds to win. If you’re going to pick upsets — you should, because it’s part of what makes the tournament contests fun — this is where you should do it. No. 10 seeds win first-round games 39 percent of the time, and over the last five years No. 12 seeds have an even split in their games against the No. 5 seeds.

•For the Final Four, go with the chalk. Now, that doesn’t mean you should pick all of the No. 1 seeds. That would be awfully boring. But it’s probably smart to pick a couple of top seeds to make it to the final four. Beyond that, stick with No. 2, 3 and 4 seeds — in theory, the top 16 teams in the country — to make it to Phoenix. Every once in a while a team comes out of nowhere, but usually it’s those that have proven to be the best throughout the season that rise to the top.

Those are some basic tips. But how do you choose a champion?

•Look for a team that can score. That might seem obvious, but it’s also accurate. If the team you’re thinking about picking to win it all doesn’t average 80 points per game, look somewhere else.

•Defense, defense, defense. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t want to go into the basket. But defense is about effort, and effort is something that can be controlled. If a team doesn’t rank in the top 35 in the nation in terms of defensive efficiency, don’t waste your time with it.

•Ignore 3-point shooting. This is a new one to me, but the stats bear it out. Teams that advance to the Final Four and win the tournament tend to shoot 3-pointers at a fairly low rate. I’m not saying that 3-point shooting is a bad thing, but the familiar adage — live by the three, die by the three — seems to come true more often than not.

All of that advice aside, if you really want to have fun of the next few weeks, fill out your bracket however you want using whatever method you choose. Your bracket is your bracket.

Part of the fun of this time of year is the uniqueness of each and everyone’s picks. Don’t let anyone’s statistics or tips effect that.

Make your picks. Watch the games. Enjoy the madness.