As we are all in the thralls of March Madness, watching our brackets, cursing teams we did not even know existed 24 hours earlier (or teams that have disappointed us year after year *cough* Duke *cough*) as they lose when we predicated they would win, we at Rant9 wanted to test every crazy theory for picking brackets that we could. You know..for science...or something.
So for now, let us learn about our crazy theories, and some of the unique matchups they created. Then, as the tournament goes along, we will see how good/terrible they turn out to be.
Bracket Number 1: The Know-Nothing Approach
March Madness is one of the few times that people who don't care about sports decide to care about sports. So one theory we had to test was how well someone who knows nothing about sports would do.
That brings us to my friend Ian. Ian and I met around 4 years ago, when I started working for the New Center for Arts and Culture. We shared a love of booze and a hatred for certain people in our office. What is amazing about Ian, is that he can fake knowing about sports incredibly well. He does research just to know what topics to mention, but in a way where you are always going to agree with him, so he never has to elaborate, it is genius.
At the end of the Round of 32 he is currently in 3rd place, picking 30 games correctly out of 48 games. Amazing. His bracket, much like my own Chalk bracket, is doing so well by playing it safe most of the time.
So well done Ian! Keep pretending to know things!
Bracket Number 2: Not Being Creative Whatsoever
If you are filling out tons of brackets sometimes you don't have the time to spend coming up with an interesting way to pick your teams, sometimes you just have to go on instinct, which the majority of the time is either based on loyalty to a particular team, or a general sense of who is good by the small snippets of Sportscenter you catch while getting ready to work, which brings up to our next two brackets.
When we originally came up with this idea, I figured why not test the most basic of theories, the all chalk bracket. For those who don't know, betting "chalk" means betting all the favorites. I know that it comes from the fact that back in the day the bets were written out in chalk, blah blah blah time passes and now it is a euphemism.
So how well am I doing after 2 (real) rounds of the NCAA Tournament by just trusting the people who seeded these teams? Pretty well actually, I correctly picked 30 out of the 48 games and am in 2nd Place. This little kid knows how I feel.
Bracket Number 3: Going against your Instincts
In a different version of the "chalk" method, if you have filled out multiple brackets, occasionally, when rushed for time you will decide to start picking teams that you were eliminating from all your other brackets. Ryan Flippo, having spent a good amount of time filling out brackets, had one left to do. So he decided to go against his instincts, and like George from Seinfeld, it is working out pretty well.
So how is he doing? Well he is in first place, having correctly picked 31 out of 48 games. I would congratulate Flippo, but I won't...he knows why.
Some of us have been making brackets for years, we have multiple pools on multiple websites as well as pools at work, with family, with extended family and friends. When you have so many brackets to fill out, sometimes you have to get creative, or you might want to just explore what would happen if you filled out your bracket using some weird or strange set of criteria.
Jake Sutton and Jeremy Lippiatt (who you might remember from the NFL Playoffs Predication that can be found here) decided to fill their bracket using very specific pieces of information.
Bracket 4: Average Temperatures
For Jeremy, he did it by the average temperature of the city where they school was located. So whichever team was closest to 62.5 degrees Fahrenheit (Average high temperature of 75, average low of 50, you know the dream temperature for guys) so how did this affect his choices?
It lead to some great upsets, like 16th seed Coastal Carolina beating number 1 seed Virginia, 14th seed Western Michigan beating 3rd seed Syracuse, and 14th Louisiana-Lafayette beating 3rd seed Creighton.
Sadly, after the Round of 32, Jeremy is in last place, getting 16 out 48 games correct. Well at least know we know that average temps is a bad way to choose the winners.
Bracket 5: Average Rebounds and Assists
Jake Sutton, being the numbers driven person that he is, went with the average rebounds per game and average assists per game for each team, ranked within the regions they were placed in.
This lead to some interesting upsets, like 16th seed Coastal Carolina beating 1st seed Virginia (This is going to be a common one you will notice) 12th seed SF Austin beating 5th seed VCU, and 15th seed American University beating 2nd seed Wisconsin.
While he is currently in 4th place, it does not bode well for him, as he has already lost 3 of his Final Four teams, even thought he has gotten 28 out of 48 games correct so far. Because I know he put so much work in coming up with this formula, and to show that we are obsessive nerds about something, behold the glory of Excel.
The Fun Ones
Bracket 6: ROY G BIV
For this category we have 3 brackets.
First off, we have Chris Miller, picking his team using the Roy G Biv model of primary colors, or the Rainbow method. So Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Using the primary colors of the teams facing each other is how he choose who won. So a red beats a green and such-what. If teams shared a primary color, he would use the secondary colors, if those were also the same, then he used the seeding.
Which of course lead to an all Red Final Four and another upset by 16th seed Coastal Carolina over 1st seed Virginia, and 13th seed Tulsa beating 4th seed UCLA.
After two rounds, ROY G BIV has helped Chris secure....7th Place, giving him 25 games correct out of 48.
Bracket 7: Mascot Deathmatch
Michelle Franchini, who cares not for Basketball in general, used the Mascot Deathmatch theory, which she uses ever year. If the mascots of each team faced each other in MORTAL KOMBAT, who would win? Which leads to interesting discussions; for example who would win between an Aztec (a vengeful ghost Aztec really) and a badger?
Would it matter if it were multiple vengeful ghost Aztecs and multiple badgers?
Would a gator defeat a wolf?
Does it matter where they are meeting for battle?
It is harder than you think to decide these things.
Sadly, the 3rd seeded Duke Blue Devils continue their streak of having a very powerful mascot and a team full of idiots and the 5th seeded Cincinnati Bearcats, while making the finals in the Mascot Deathmatch, could not make it out of the first round. As Michelle herself observed, "Not only did the Bearcats lose, they lost to a team with literally no Mascot (Harvard)!" But, the all powerful Wisconsin Badger still lives!
After two rounds, Michelle and her Mascots have gotten 24 out of 48 games right and is currently sitting in 8th place.
Bracket 8: Fun with Anagrams
The third fun bracket is both the most random and was probably the least useful (Sorry Chad.)
Chad Holmes decided to make anagrams for each team and the team with the best (subjective) anagram would win. Sadly while we can't list all of them (Some of us want to keep our day jobs,) some of the highlights include:
Brigham Young University: Bigamy Hog Run
George Washington University: Segregating Nohow
Coastal Carolina University: A Satanic Corrolla
Manhattan University: Have Insanity Tantrum
Which leads to some great upsets like 1st seed Arizona (Sanitize Ovary Ruin) losing to 16th seed Weber State (Waste Beret)
After the first two rounds Chad is tied for last place, getting 17 out of 48 games right. Sadly Coastal Carolina (Yep, them again) will not be winning the Big Dance.
Bracket 9: The Chosen People Bracket
As you can see, there are many different and crazy ways to fill out a bracket. The last two brackets are definitely on the more interesting side of things.
In thinking of crazy theories to try, I thought, why not make a bracket where I choose the winners depending on how many Jewish undergrads the school currently had enrolled. As a Jew myself and a lover of basketball, I figured why not give this a try. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel that Jewish men have a strong attachment to basketball, so why not use Jewish undergrads as my criteria.
I knew this would make for some very strange upsets, and it was a fun topic to research (Shout out to Hillel.org!) Sadly, this theory had 9th seed George Washington University winning the whole Tourney, but sadly they lost in the first round. Also, 15th seedAmerican University made it to the Final Four, when in reality they lost in the first round as well. This theory also had 16th seed Albany U beating number 1 seed Florida, and in my favorite upset 16th seed Cal-Poly beating number 1 see Wichita State. Oh well, while being in almost last place all of Friday, by the end of the round of 32, the Chosen People bracket is back in the middle of the pack at 6th place, but my future does not look bright as my Final Four is almost gone.
I have gotten 25 games out of 48 right so far.
Bracket 10: White Men Can Jump?
The other, demographic-type, bracket was done by none other than my partner in "Once Upon a Time" crime, Tyler Dawson.
He wondered the basic thing all Caucasian, not very athletic men wonder. What if the teams were full of people like us. What he found was not surprising.
While he correctly predicated North Dakota State beating the higher seeded Oklahoma, but like with almost all of our theories, it had 16th seed Cal Poly beating number 1 seed Wichita State, which did not happen, but he was one of the few to correctly predict number 1 seed Virginia beating 16th seed Coastal Carolina.
While hovering towards the bottom for the first few days of the tournament, by the end of the Round of 32 he is in 5th place, successfully picking 27 out of 48 games right.