Thursday, March 5, 2015 – March Madness – Part Three – The Bracket

Thursday, March 5, 2015 – The Bracket

A bracket is a tree diagram that represents a series of games played during a tournament. The bracket used for the NCAA college basketball tournaments is a single elimination bracket. There is no consolation for this tournament.  That means win or go home.  This type of bracket is also known as an Olympic system, or a knock out, or a sudden death.  My favorite is the single penetration name.  One does not see that name used often.

Completing a bracket leading to The Final Four has become an entity in and of itself. There are people whose profession is “Bracketologist.” They study a pseudo-science called bracketology.

There are 64 teams that will be selected to play in The Big Tournament or the NCAA tournament. Teams are “seeded” according to the number of wins and the level of the teams played.  The seedings of teams is done by a committee. Teams are placed into mini-brackets in certain regions.  Each mini-bracket feeds into the overall bracket.  Seeding of teams usually results in a lack of geographic awareness and some teams have to travel cross country, while others play in their own back yard or court as the case may be.

To play a tournament bracket is easy. One completes a bracket by predicting which team will win each game from the opening games or rounds to the final game.  In other words, you guess.  The time is called March Madness because an entire game, season and reputation can rest on an injury or illness, a foul that is called, a foul that is not called, a foul shot made, or a foul shot missed.  And of the course the worse is the dreaded buzzer beater when the big round brown ball is thrown toward the hoop with a last second heave and the ball goes through the 18 inch hoop and the team wins.

Completing a bracket is easy.  You really do not have to know anything about basketball. Here is an easy method for completing your bracket.

  1. Go to and download a copy of the bracket you wish to play. I like to play both men’s and women’s brackets. These will be available around Monday, March 16.
  2. Make several copies of the blank bracket. You will want to complete one. You will want to have one to keep track of who actually wins the games. And you will want another one when you rip yours faster than Oliver North when your team loses against a lesser opponent. See buzzer beater above.
  3. Then complete your bracket by selecting the teams you think will win and proceed through the bracket until they reach The Final Four and then pick the National Champion.

Here are several methods for choosing which teams will win and thus advance to the finals. These methods are equally and statistically valid in terms of probability and possibility and usually have similar results regardless of method used to predict winning teams.

How to select teams.  Select a team based on:

  1. The color of their uniforms,
  2. The most tattoos, (Note: this can be by player or by team.)
  3. The best, longest, and/or most creative tattoos,
  4. The school’s mascot. Note: One seldom sees live mascots at basketball games. I supposed a BEVO cleanup in the free throw area is not in the janitor’s contract,
  5. The players’ hairstyles. This includes men’s and women’s teams. Be sure to include west coast teams, whose hair colors were not originally intended for hair hues,
  6. By the coaches you like or dislike or what the coach wears,
  7. By the college you attended or graduated from or by the T-Shirt from Wal-Mart you wear if you had attended college,
  8. Actually do statistically analyses comparing won loss records and strength of schedule data,
  9. On the men’s bracket, predict Kentucky as the winner and work backwards,
  10. On the women’s bracket, predict UConn as the winner and work backwards.

Good luck and BTHO Auburn. (SEC Tournament – Lady Aggies vs. Auburn)

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