You see those guys up there? You see how peaceful they look laying on all that money?
That’s going to be me in three weeks. Completely at peace and getting all Scrooge McDuck with my hundred dollar bills.
This is all thanks to Warren Buffet. He recently announced that he would give $1,000,000,000 to any person who could provide him with the perfect March Madness bracket.
Last year, I began to create my formula for discovering the perfect bracket. I made a bracket of brackets, and set said brackets against each other until I had found the one true bracket that would lead me to victory.
You might be saying to yourself at this point, “Tyler, I was in your bracket pool last year, you didn’t win. In fact, I think you still owe me $10.”
To which I’d say, you’re probably right on both counts.
But we aren’t here to dig up the past. We are here to celebrate the future. Once again, with the help of my fellow bracketeer Ray Sheerin, I have compiled 16 different brackets ranging in levels of sanity. These brackets will then be placed against each other until only one remains: My Perfect Bracket.
After that the only thing left to do is collect my billion dollars and buy myself a tiger.
Meet the Brackets
The Random Chance Region
The Random Chance Region is meant to serve justice to the true chaos of March Madness.
- Scrabble Points: The team whose name would score more points in a standard game of Scrabble wins. Team’s were limited to seven letters (as per Scrabble rules) unless both teams hand names longer than seven characters. If any results don’t make sense, assume I hit a Triple Word score. Also, shout out to Kate Spanos for all her help.
- Names From A Hat: Ray and I made 32 slips of paper, 16 with the word “favorite”, the other half inscribed with “underdog”. For the #1-#16 matchups, 16 “favorite” slips were put in the hat with just 1 “underdog” slip, and then we mixed the hat and drew a pick. For the #7-#10 matchups, 10 “favorites” and 7 “underdogs”. You get the idea. We spent 20 minutes of our lives on those slips.
- Random Number Generator: Ray opened an online random number generator and asked for numbers ranging between 1-64. For every matchup, the higher seed got the first number, lower seed receiving the second. In order for the lower seed to beat a higher seed, it’s number had to beat the higher seed’s by 3x the seed differential. So #7 Oregon would need to beat #2 Wisconsin by 15 or more in order to move on to the Sweet Sixteen.
- Coin Toss: My buddy Ray tossed this one quarter approximately 122 times. In order to keep things somewhat realistic, since I am planning on using the winning bracket in my leagues, I created a few parameters to randomly simulate the disadvantage of underdogs. If the difference between the teams’ seeds was greater than 9 [ex. #14 W Michigan vs #3 Syracuse] the underdog needed to get three heads in a row. If the difference between the teams’ seeds was between 6-9 [ex. #12 NC State vs #5 St. Louis] the underdog needed to get two heads in a row. For a difference less than 6, heads went to the lower seed, tails to the higher seed.
The Ladies Region
The Ladies Region was established this year because I got tired of being wrong all the time. All of these ladies are smart, beautiful, independent women that I am lucky to keep the company of. But more importantly, (at least at this moment) they have no active knowledge of basketball. Their minds are not jaded by an innate hatred for all things Duke or a blind faith in their alma mater. I included each girl’s message that was included along with their bracket.
- Emily’s Bracket: “It was easy, I picked states that I like.”
- Mary’s Bracket: “YO TYLER, Here’s the bracket, as promised. I chose Gonzaga to take the BIG GOLD MEDAL (is that not funny?) because that’s a funny name. My brain hurts. Hope you’re well.”
- Leah’s Bracket: “As of right now- all i know of march madness were the shirts my team designed at Under Armour.” (She works for UA, designing dopeness.)
- Erin’s Bracket: “GO ERIN! TEAM ERIN! WOO WOO WOO!”
The Statistics Region
- Free Throw Percentage: The team with the better FT% advances. Because I hate it when college kids miss important free throws.
- Opponent’s PPG: The team with a lower Opp. PPG advances. Because defense wins championships.
- Three Point Percentage: The team with the better 3FG% advances. Because you either live by the three or die by the three. AND I CHOOSE LIFE.
- ShittyBanter Index (SBI): The team with the higher SBI advances. SBI is an statistic I invented for the purposes of evaluating college basketball teams. The formula is simple: [(PPG+APG+RPG)*FG%]. No, it does not account for weak opponents, and unfairly devalues teams that play great defense and thus don’t need to score that much like Virginia. But if BPI and TotalQBR can be talked about on SportsCenter, then SBI can be used to pick a bracket on my blog. And if you don’t believe that I did all that math, I invite you to click here and here and shut your stupid mouth because that took me like two hours.
The School Pride Region
The School Pride Region is meant to determine how NCAA schools compare to one another in every way except how well their basketball players play basketball.
- Mascots: Which mascot would win in a fight? Most credit was given to the actual mascot that appears at games, with special acknowledgment given to badass logos and adorable live animals. Decisions made arbitrarily by myself and Ray Sheerin.
- Hottest Cheerleaders: When googling “________ University Cheerleaders 2014”, which school was more attractive based on pictures available on the first three pages of the search. Decisions made arbitrarily by myself and Ray Sheerin.
- Average SAT Score: Which school had the highest average entrance SAT scores according to wherever Ray and I could find that information on the Internet. I’ll be honest, I forgot Harvard was in the bracket when I came up with this idea. Will probably adjust for that next year.
- Fight Song: A true test of school spirit. Whichever school’s fight song had more views on YouTube advances to the next round. Once this bracket reached the FInal Four, I began judging teams on how catchy, collegiate, and cool their fight song was.
Sixteen brackets. Within them is the perfect one. I just have to find them. In order to do that, I created a Prezi. Feel free to go full screen and look around a bit. It’s a fun hang.
Did you like what you see? Did none of that make sense? Did I pick the wrong bracket? Maybe. But please, let me try and explain first.
I’ll talk you through the first round and you can make the rest of the judgements for yourself.
I loved the idea of the Scrabble bracket. I thought it was clever and thought it would work because in my head Louisville (13) and Arizona (16) were worth more points. While I really dig New Mexico making the title game, a Final Four featuring Kentucky and Gonzaga this season is one of the worst bets this process of bracketing brackets produced. WINNER: Names From A Hat
On first glance, I thought the Coin Toss bracket was going to win this entire competition. But on second glance, it was just straight chalk. If there was ever a year to avoid picking all the higher seeds, it’s this year. Louisville and Michigan St. are both drastically mis-seeded and their placement throws off any feasible form of bracket equilibrium. In order to win a bracket this year, you’re going to have to get weird. WINNER: Random Number Generator
It was a mistake to put all of the girls in the same region. Partly because now I have to decide between the two, but more so because the ladies put together some impressive brackets that I would have liked to go further in the competition. Both Emily’s and Mary’s bracket was weird in the right ways. They both had Coastal Carolina over Virginia in the first round. They both have high seeds making deep runs. I am picking Emily’s bracket because I love the idea of ND State in the Final Four. Did you know that they lead the country in FG%? THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. They shoot the ball better than any other team that is in the tournament, and last time I checked, shooting the ball is one of the more important aspects of basketball. WINNER: Emily’s Bracket
Again, two stellar brackets. However, Erin has Syracuse winning it all. And while I don’t think that that is an impossibility, the thought of sweating through Syracuse running a soft zone on defense when down four points with two minutes left is just horrifying to me. ‘Cuse is weird in that they can win or lose most any game they play, depending on if their opponent’s jump shots are falling. I don’t want to have to ride that terror for three weeks straight. WINNER: Leah’s Bracket
Providence doesn’t win championships. Defense wins championships. WINNER: Opponent’s PPG
I worked too hard on the ShittyBanter Index (SBI) for it to go home in the first round. And Iowa State could totally make a run. WINNER: ShittyBanter Index (SBI)
I want to advance the Mascots bracket here, just so I can talk about it with more people. It is always the most fun bracket to make. Sun Devils v. Blue Devils in the Sweet 16?! How does that work? (Answer: Sun Devils defeat Blue Devils, but then lose to the Aztecs of San Diego State, as SDSt worships the Sun Gods.)
If Harvard wins the NCAA Title, I will drop out of school. That’ll show ’em. WINNER: Fight Song
The Perfect Bracket
In case you were skipping around, the bracket champion of the bracket of brackets was the Random Number Generator. I really dig a Kansas-Duke final, and W. Michigan was the long shot Sweet Sixteen team I wanted to end up with.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s bracket. I will be checking in after each week of games to analyze just how well (read: poorly) this process is going.
Many thanks to my partner in time-wasting and mascot-debating Ray Sheerin, Emily, Mary, Leah, and Erin for letting me bother them to make a bracket, Sean Clark for housing me and my insanity this week, and you, for making it through 1800 words of bracket talk.
Let’s win us a billion dollars.