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There’s “like” numbers everywhere | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

There’s “like” numbers everywhere

Image via diagram.com

Numbers everywhere

I’ve never been a huge basketball fan, I can’t even name a single college basketball player. About a month and a half ago I got so tired of seeing basketball on every channel I bought the NHL’s center ice package so I could watch hockey whenever I wanted. Until a couple days ago I thought a bracket was for punctuation. But since moving from Canada I’ve been involved in fantasy football and now I’m keeping track of every college basketball game for the National Championships.


The bracket as I’ve come to know it as, is something pretty addicting. You’re playing god. You get to decide who’s going all the way, and who will be eliminated. I have no emotional ties to any team so I don’t have to worry about getting distracted. In terms of odds you can read a lot about each team or nothing at all and have a pretty good chance. If you know anything about this tournament and brackets, you probably know all about CBS’s Bracket Manager. Me, as having no prior experience with the bracket manager is finding the whole data measurement thing pretty cool. It was easy to click on the teams I wanted. Of course before the tournament if you’re in an office competition (like me w/ Renegade) you can see who’s part of the pool but you can’t see their picks until the start of the tournament. But as soon as that first game starts you can check out who everyone else has picked. What I found so fascinating is one of the people I work a lot w/ has the same teams in the finals as me and we’ve never discussed it before. Weird.

my bracket

Everyone has a formula for picking teams, and here’s mine. What’s ironic is that another person I work with had a similar crazy method and he claims to be quite the expert. For me if I know a couple people that do have ties to schools I’ll throw them into the mix automatically. There’s a couple Duke people and one person from both Florida and Georgetown – so that seemed like a good place to start. I then picked a couple no brainer top picks. But after that I went for the upsets. I looked for the lower ranked teams that made a pretty good run in their last ten games and compared them with those that were higher ranked but didn’t do so well near the end of the college regular season. So far today I’m doing ok, but not great. However most of the big choices still have a chance.

This is where the bracket manager in an office works really well. You can keep tabs on how everyone else is doing and try to get an understanding of their method of madness. So I guess I’ll have to write a follow up post in early April to state the obviousness of my intuition or talk about the bad luck that I had…

and btw, the first image of this post came from http://thediagram.com/

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  • http://www.guardedlyoptimistic.com/ Justin

    From a shameless hoops junkie, I offer the following bracket-picking advice:

    1. The less you know, the more you know. The people who win office pools generally don’t know that much about the current climate in college basketball. Every year I know too much, and I never win.

    2. Two often overlooked things to consider when filling out your brackets: coach and conference. Certain coaches (Arizona’s Lute Olson is a perfect example) are famous for under achieving, while others (Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo) seem to always get the most out of their teams.

    Also, every year at least one team from the Big 10 or ACC (traditional power conferences) that had a decent record during the regular season goes on a good run in the tourney, simply from having been toughened up against a high caliber of competition earlier in the year.

    3. Pick upsets early, but not to go deep. This year’s tournament has produced a record lack of first-round upsets, but usually there are a few shockers early. Regardless, the double-digit seeds rarely make it deeper than th Sweet Sixteen.

    4. Alway pick at least one or two number 1 seeds to go to the final four. Every year there are at least a couple of number 1 seeds that walk through to the Final Four, often benefiting from the upsets of other high-ranked teams.