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March Madness Handicapping: The Play-In Game HangoverIn 2011, Clemson found its ways into the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers had been pretty good all season long, but they could not avoid the play-in game as a 12-seed. As that 12-seed, they had to play a decent UAB team in the opening round. That game took place on Tuesday night, very late, in Dayton. When they dispatched of UAB, they earned a trip to take on West Virginia in Florida 36 hours later. In that game, Clemson came out and dominated for 30 minutes before wilting away. They did not have the legs to make up for the travel and the tough playing schedule.

When you are making your March Madness picks you need to think about this hangover. Some teams have been affected by it. Others have not. VCU, for instance, went from the play-in game to the Final Four in 2011. The difference between those two teams was the overall time frame. Clemson had a much quicker turn-around, and it made a major difference in how things shook out for them.

When you make March Madness picks, it is important to always keep in mind how the schedule will toy with the teams that you are picking. Teams are, at the end of the day, made up of college kids who are still subject to the whims and the pressures of playing the game. Jet lag does happen, and tired legs can take a team out. This is especially true for the play-in winners, so think about this before you make your picks on their subsequent games.