It’s that time of year again…I suddenly find myself fascinated by the game of college basketball. It’s something that I couldn’t care less about for the rest of the year, but for some reason I can’t look away when the NCAA basketball tournament rolls around. Is it the fast-paced, do-or-die tournament feeling that every game brings to the table? Could be…but personally I just like filling out a bracket and watching it all unfold.
So here’s what bothers me. Every year I fill out a bracket, knowing nothing about college basketball, trying to pick the upsets, the final four, and eventually the champion. I’ve never been able to predict the big upsets that could gain huge points in the pools (Butler in the last couple of years). Yes, I do some research in an attempt to somehow increase my chances of winning the office pool. But then I think to myself that everyone has their own opinion for their picks, and everyone ends up picking a heavy favourite to win the whole thing anyways (which rarely happens).
Seeing as I know nothing about the sport, I figured I’d look at some stats, come up with some rules for how to pick the winning teams of each game, and stick to them as I fill out my bracket. This year, I decided to look at offensive rankings, defensive rankings, pythagorean winning %, and strength of schedule. I threw in strength of schedule because it “should” be important…if a team has good offense and defense rankings that were determined by facing strong opponents, that means something to me.
So I did a little math, assumed some weightings, and came up with my final four: Kentucky, Michigan St., Ohio St., and Kansas. With Michigan St. taking down Ohio St. in the finals. No one I know has these 2 teams in the finals, so if it happens I’ll be in good shape.
Anyways, I thought it would be fun to see if this method leads to anything. I checked it against the 2010 and 2011 bracket results and it does look somewhat promising. We’ll see what happens.
Enjoy the madness!