Fun With Bracket-O-Matic

March 19, 2008 – 3:38 am by Hickey

Last week, Rumors and Rants received an unlikely e-mail. As it turns out, one of our regular readers actually has a full-time job.

That reader, Laurie, is in the business of promoting Coke Zero. And I’ll take her word for its goodness, because at 175 pounds I don’t have any interest in consuming anything without calories. But the point here is Coke Zero is sponsoring something called the “Bracket-O-Matic” on its website. The idea is to give help to those who don’t have any clue about filling out their NCAA brackets.

And as a bit of a challenge, she wants me to test my bracket against the “Bracket-O-Matic.”Pfft. I say bring it on, just like the President once said to the terrorists. The Bracket-O-Matic makes its picks using “algorithms” (it’s a term I remember from math class. I guess Mrs. Fahey wasn’t lying when she said that would come in handy some day). I make my picks using the same roundball genius that came up with the Skyhook 3-pointer.

There are eight categories from which you can adjust a meter on the Bracket-O-Matic: Dynasty vs. Cinderella, Offensive vs. Defensive, Wild Mascot vs. Tame Mascot, Senior vs. Frosh, Star Power vs. Deep Bench, Hi Seed vs. Lo Seed, East Coast vs. West Coast, and Vet Coach vs. New Coach. After dialing all of this up, it then punches out a bracket for you to steal and use in your pool if you’re a lame copycat.

Anyway, it is interesting to see what this thing has to tell us about what we might expect to see in this year’s tourney. So I punched up a bunch of algorithms, and this is what came out.

FIRST TRY
For the trial run, I made the Bracket-O-Matic look for some of the same things I value when filling out my sheet — teams with senior leadership, a veteran coach, and strong defense. I also gave a slight boost towards Dynasty over Cinderella. And what came out was far from what I expected. (Because I’m doing a ton of these things, I’m just skipping straight to the Elite Eight. I have some semblance of a life.)

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Arkansas

Midwest Regional Final
Kent St. beats Wisconsin

South Regional Final
Michigan St. beats Miami

West Regional Final
San Diego beats Xavier

Final Four
St. Joseph beats Kent St.
Michigan St. beats San Diego

National Championship
Michigan St. beats St. Joseph

Needless to say, those weren’t the results I was expecting. But I dare you to use that as your Elite 8.

ALL THINGS EQUAL
Without anything being tweaked on the Bracket-O-Matic, here is what shoots out.

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Arkansas

Midwest Regional Final
Kent St. beats Wisconsin

South Regional Final
Marquette beats Oral Roberts

West Regional Final
BYU beats West Virginia

Final Four
St. Joseph beats Kent St.
BYU beats Marquette

National Championship

BYU beats St. Joseph

Wow. I’m starting to really like my odds of outsmarting the Bracket-O-Matic. Or I need to put a ton of money on St. Joe’s.

PRO-DYNASTY

We jack up the Dynasty meter and keep everything else even. The only change? Marquette beats St. Joseph in the national championship game, continuing the dynasty started with their recent 1977 national title. Poor Phil Martelli and the Hawks, never getting over the hump.

PRO-CINDERELLA
Now that we’ve seen the big boys in the Final Four — Marquette, St. Joe’s, BYU and Kent St. — let’s see the little guys have a chance.

East Regional Final
South Alabama beats Arkansas

Midwest Regional Final
Kent St. beats Gonzaga

South Regional Final
St. Mary’s beats Oral Roberts

West Regional Final
Georgia beats BYU

Final Four
Kent St. beats South Alabama
St. Mary’s beats Georgia

National Championship
St. Mary’s beats Kent St.

No matter what, you can’t stop the Golden Flashes from coming out of the Midwest! Bill Self better be pissing himself as we speak.

PRO-OFFENSE
If you’re into scoring — and who isn’t? — this is what the Bracket-O-Matic thinks will happen.

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Notre Dame

Midwest Regional Final
Clemson beats Kansas St.

South Regional Final
Marquette beats Oral Roberts

West Regional Final
Baylor beats Western Kentucky

Final Four
Clemson beats St. Joe’s
Marquette beats Baylor

National Championship
Clemson beats Marquette

PRO-DEFENSE
East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Washington St.

Midwest Regional Final
Wisconsin beats Kent St.

South Regional Final
Michigan St. beats Miami

West Regional Final
Purdue beats BYU

Final Four
Wisconsin beats St. Joe’s
Michigan St. beats Purdue

National Championship
Wisconsin beats Michigan St.

That’ll show all you jerks for hating on the Big Ten! A throwback to 2000 when three Big Ten teams made it to the Final Four. And St. Joseph, of course. At this point they’re like the kid on the escalator in Mallrats.

WILD MASCOT
Who has the craziest mascot of them all? Let’s take a look.

East Regional Final
St. Joseph Hawks beat Arkansas Razorbacks

Midwest Regional Final
Gonzaga Bulldogs beat Kent St. Golden Flashes

South Regional Final
Pitt Panthers beat Stanford Cardinal

West Regional Final
BYU Cougars beat Xavier Musketeers

Final Four
Bulldogs beat Hawks
Cougars beat Panthers

National Championship
Cougars beat Bulldogs

Well folks, when I think of a crazy, wild mascot, the first thing that comes into my mind is a bunch of Mormons. And Bulldogs, I’ve never heard that nickname. It’s pretty wild.

TAME MASCOT
Tell me that you’ll at least give the Hoosiers a chance here Coke Zero. Wait, you still have them losing in the first round. How is a Hoosier less tame than a Razorback? Damn you.

East Regional Final
Boise St. Broncos beat George Mason Patriots

Midwest Regional Final
Clemson Tigers beat Wisconsin Badgers

South Regional Final
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles beat Texas Longhorns

West Regional Final
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers beat Baylor Bears

Final Four
Tigers beat Broncos
Hilltoppers beat Golden Eagles

National Championship
Hilltoppers beat Tigers

I think it is easy for anyone to see that the UMBC Retrievers got screwed over pretty hard in this bracket.

SENIOR-DOMINATED
Well, I think by this point I can guess St. Joe’s will make an apperance. Let’s see what else happens if you’re looking for the best teams of veteran players.

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Arkansas (IU still has never won a game in this simulation)

Midwest Regional Final
Kent St. beats Wisconsin

South Regional Final
St. Mary’s beats Oral Roberts

West Regional Final
BYU beats Georgia

Final Four
Kent St. beats St. Joe’s
St. Mary’s beats BYU

National Championship

St. Mary’s beats Kent St.

So there you have it. Even though they lost to the Golden Flashes on their home floor, the Gaels exact revenge for the national title.

FRESHMAN STARS RULE
I swear, if IU doesn’t beat Arkansas in the first round in this algorithm, I’m going to punch every math teacher I meet for the rest of my life.

East Regional Final
South Alabama beats Notre Dame (IU did finally win, but lost to ND in the Sweet 16 after knocking off North Carolina)

Midwest Regional Final
Vandy beats Wisconsin

South Regional Final
Texas beats Michigan St.

West Regional Final
West Virginia beats BYU (which beat UCLA since that Kevin Love guy is no good)

Final Four
Vandy beats South Alabama
Texas beats West Virginia

National Championship
Vanderbilt beats Texas

How awesome would it be if a school with no athletic department actually beat one of the hugest athletic machines in college sports?

STAR POWER
Which teams out there rely the most on a few star players?

East Regional Final
South Alabama beats Notre Dame

Midwest Regional Final
Kansas St. beats Kent St.

South Regional Final
Marquette beats Pitt

West Regional Final
Western Kentucky beats West Virginia (How many full sets of teeth in that crowd?)

Final Four
Kansas St. beats South Alabama
Western Kentucky beats West Virginia

National Championship
Kansas St. beats Western Kentucky

DEEP BENCH
This category is supposed to point out the teams that can ball 10-deep. We’ll see about that.

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Arkansas (The Hawks made their way back!)

Midwest Regional Final
Gonzaga beats Kent St.

South Regional Final
Marquette beats Michigan St. (The Golden Eagles rely on a couple of star players and have a deep bench. Amazing!)

West Regional Final
Xavier beats BYU (I feel the Cougars really got gipped out of a 1 seed at this point).

Final Four
Gonzaga beats St. Joseph
Marquette beats Xavier

National Championship

Marquette beats Gonzaga

HI SEED
Finally, they pick the favorites. Sort of.

East Regional Final
UNC beats St. Joseph

Midwest Regional Final
Kansas beats Wisconsin

South Regional Final
Memphis beats Texas

West Regional Final
UCLA beats Xavier

Final Four
Kansas beats UNC
Memphis beats UCLA

National Championship
Memphis beats Kansas

So, after all of that, I finally found a bracket that makes sense. But you better not sleep on Phil Martelli. Or with him.

LO SEED
In case you felt the other bracket options didn’t provide enough upsets.

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Winthrop

Midwest Regional Final
Kansas St. beats Kent St.

South Regional Final
Oral Roberts beats St. Mary’s

West Regional Final
Georgia beats Western Kentucky

Final Four
St. Joseph beats Kansas St.
Oral Roberts beats Georgia

National Championship

Oral Roberts beats St. Joseph

Take that you dirty Papists! You’ve been Evangelicized!

EAST COAST
This favors teams on the East Coast… so I guess we can call it the ESPN/Billy Packer Bracket.

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Winthrop

Midwest Regional Final
Gonzaga beats Clemson (Uh, I know Spokane is in the eastern part of Washington, but…)

South Regional Final
Miami beats Pitt

West Regional Final
BYU beats Georgia

Final Four
St. Joseph beats Gonzaga
Miami beats BYU

National Championship

St. Joe’s beats Miami

FINALLY! The Hawks get their day in the sun. I guess this is the version of the championship game where Delonte West suits up and plays.

WEST COAST
Screw you, midwest! Let’s go to the left coast bias!

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Washington St.

Midwest Regional Final
UNLV beats Wisconsin (I once went surfing in Sheboygan.)

South Regional Final
Oregon beats Stanford

West Regional Final
West Virginia beats UCLA (well, they do have West in their name.)

Final Four
UNLV beats St. Joseph
Oregon beats West Virginia

National Championship

Oregon beats UNLV

If only the Runnin’ Rebels could have paid their guys for this one…

NEW COACH
You can’t get newer than Dan Dakich. So let’s see how the Hoosiers fare. Oh, they lost in the first round again.

East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Winthrop (that Martelli guy is still wet behind the ears.)

Midwest Regional Final
Kansas St. beats UNLV

South Regional Final
Marquette beats Oral Roberts (Tom Crean? The hottest new coach out there.)

West Regional Final
BYU beats West Virginia

Final Four
St. Joseph beats Kansas St.
BYU beats Marquette

National Championship

BYU beats St. Joseph

Could you imagine the party they’d be having in Provo? I bet at least 2-3 guys would slam a Mountain Dew.

VETERAN COACH
East Regional Final
St. Joseph beats Arkansas (Is it just me or has Roy Williams coached for awhile? Where’s his team?)

Midwest Regional Final
Wisconsin beats Vandy

South Regional Final
Michigan St. beats Miami

West Regional Final
Drake beats Belmont

Final Four
St. Joseph beats Wisconsin
Drake beats Michigan St.

National Championship

Drake beats St. Joseph

Veteran second-year coach Keno Davis pilots The Drake past the rest of the grayhairs. Makes sense to me.

SUMMARY
There you have it. I have successfully conducted an experiment using the different algorithms of the Bracket-O-Matic. You can pretty much bank on the fact that Phil Martelli and St. Joseph will be in the Final Four. And if you don’t have Kent St. at least reaching the Elite 8, you’re loony.

On a sidenote, while I’m no mathmagician, I think I would have to recommend that Coke Zero find a new algorithmaster for next year’s Bracket-O-Matic. The thing is totally FUBAR. And by FUBAR I mean hilarious.

PS — If you want to see my picks, I will have them up tomorrow. I don’t want any of my rivals getting an edge.

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  1. 3 Responses to “Fun With Bracket-O-Matic”

  2. I ran ESPN’s AccuScore bracket projector twice. The first time, St. Mary’s made the finals; the second time they won it all. It also took me only two runs to get the thing to predict a 16 seed winning (Texas-Arlington over Memphis). Nice to know these things are always so smart.

    By Flax on Mar 20, 2008

  3. Billy Packer disapproves of all predicitons that place St. Joe’s in the Final Four, and he will share that disapproval with all!

    By Mark D on Mar 20, 2008

  4. This is beyond excellent. With the sliders adjusted to my true preferences, I got:

    Elite 8: Duke, UCLA, Texas, Memphis, Georgetown, Vandy, UNC and….St. Joe’s.

    Final 4: UCLA, Memphis, Georgetown and, of course…St. Joe’s.

    Championship: Memphis squaring off against…St. Joe’s.

    Champion: Memphis

    Memphis just matches up better with St. Joes, that say, Tennesse, North Carolina and Georgetown.

    By Anonymous on Mar 20, 2008

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