Printable NCAA bracket 2017: Fill out your March Madness picks

Here’s a copy of the field of 68 to fill out by hand.

We’ve got our bracket. The NCAA tournament is now officially underway, but it’s never too late to fill out a bracket.

Three of the most exciting weeks in sports are upon us again, and that’s pretty cool. So here’s a printable tournament bracket, available for your free downloading and use. It’s updated through Saturday at the Final Four, with only the championship game left.

It’s easy nowadays to join a bracket contest online. Many of us will do that, myself probably included. But personally, I think it’s more fun to print out a bracket, write out all of my picks in black ink, and then post it on my bedroom door for a few weeks. Then I print a blank bracket and mark it up with highlighters as the tournament rolls on. And I’m not old-fashioned at all. It’s just a fun thing I like to do.

The tournament is always hard to pick. Millions of brackets yield no more than a handful of perfect ones every year. This year feels especially difficult to peg because college basketball hasn’t had a singular dominant team in 2016-17. It’s had some teams get close, though they haven’t been as consistently great as the best teams in certain recent years.

Gonzaga spent much of the year atop the polls, but the Bulldogs haven’t answered questions in some pickers’ minds about their strength of schedule. Kentucky and Duke, maybe the two most talented teams, haven’t been invincible. Duke’s been downright average at points, and got knocked off in the second round to South Carolina. They weren’t the only No. 1 seed to fall in the tournament’s first weekend, as top overall seed Villanova succumbed to Wisconsin in Round 2.

There were upsets because there are every year, but it’s hard to be all that surprised by most of these outcomes.

The Final Four starts April 1 in Glendale, Ariz., at University of Phoenix Stadium. The guesswork involved in figuring out which teams will be there is even more daunting than usual. That’s a shame for those of us filling out brackets, but the payoff will come in the form of a tournament where anything can happen.

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Here are the 14 best photos from the Final Four in Arizona

There were some incredible moments from the Final Four in Arizona where Gonzaga and North Carolina cemented their places in the national championship game. Sun streamed in through the roof of University of Phoenix Stadium, and both games came down to the wire.

Here are the best photos of the night that you probably missed.

South Carolina v GonzagaPhoto by Chris Steppig – Pool/Getty Images
South Carolina v GonzagaPhoto by Chris Steppig – Pool/Getty Images
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-South Carolina vs GonzagaBob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina v GonzagaPhoto by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
South Carolina v GonzagaPhoto by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Oregon vs North CarolinaMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Oregon vs North CarolinaMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Oregon vs North CarolinaRobert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Oregon vs North CarolinaRobert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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Here are the 14 best photos from the Final Four in Arizona

There were some incredible moments from the Final Four in Arizona where Gonzaga and North Carolina cemented their places in the national championship game. Sun streamed in through the roof of University of Phoenix Stadium, and both games came down to the wire.

Here are the best photos of the night that you probably missed.

South Carolina v GonzagaPhoto by Chris Steppig – Pool/Getty Images
South Carolina v GonzagaPhoto by Chris Steppig – Pool/Getty Images
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-South Carolina vs GonzagaBob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina v GonzagaPhoto by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
South Carolina v GonzagaPhoto by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Oregon vs North CarolinaMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Oregon v North CarolinaPhoto by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Oregon vs North CarolinaMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Oregon vs North CarolinaRobert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Oregon vs North CarolinaRobert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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North Carolina missed 4 free-throws in the final 5 seconds and is still going to the title game

With the game on the line, North Carolina put Oregon away by doing what it does best.

As gifted offensively and athletically as the North Carolina Tar Heels are, the team’s biggest strength all season long has been in an area of basketball that the kids would call, well, boring.

No team in college basketball averages more rebounds per game (43.7) than North Carolina, and no team in college basketball rebounds a higher percentage of its own missed shots (40.9 percent) than the Tar Heels. While those may not be statistics that wow the country like points per game or three-point shooting percentage, they represent a skill-set that may have just saved UNC’s national title hopes.

In the closing seconds of its win over Oregon in the Final Four Saturday night, North Carolina seemed determined to put themselves in a position where a buzzer-beater could break their hearts even more completely than Kris Jenkins did a year ago.

Clinging to a 77-76 lead with just five seconds to play, Kennedy Meeks missed two free-throws. Instead of Oregon racing down the court for a potential game-winner, Theo Pinson was able to tap the offensive rebound back to Joel Berry, who was then sent back to the line.

After Berry too missed a pair of freebies at the stripe, it was Meeks who came down with the offensive board to secure the victory and send North Carolina to its second consecutive national title game appearance.

For the game, North Carolina finished with 17 offensive rebounds. Never underestimate the importance of attacking the glass, kids.

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