Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Bracket Matrix Submission Review

In 2014 I took Joe Lunardi's Bracketology Certificate course (and I got to meet Joe that same season when he came with St. Joe's to the tournament games in Buffalo, which was cool). It took me a couple years to get the nerve (and find the time) to start this blog, but last year I finally did it. I probably wouldn't have done it without the motivation of the Bracket Matrix, which I took to be a collection of amateur and professional bracketologists not too different from me who all love to try and figure this stuff out. Last year was my first year in the Matrix, and my goal was to finish in the top half of the 1st and 2nd year entries. And I did it, barely... I was about the 51st percentile among those brackets, and about the 42nd overall.

So my goal this year was to improve on that, to try and get into the top third (I take the advice of Richard Dreyfus's psychologist character in What About Bob? - baby steps!). My oldest son, who's 17, usually sat in while I worked on it and gave me a hand looking up information.

And the projections took a major step forward. This year's "final exam" (as I think of it) finished tied for 24th (out of 187) overall, not just among the 1st and 2nd year folks. Ironically, we made the decision to leave out our favorite team, Syracuse, and it backfired, costing us six points and the chance to finish in the top 10. Still, I'll take it.

I whiffed on USC (and the Orange), and in hindsight I was sucked in by their 2nd place Pac-12 finish and their being the runners-up in the Pac-12 Tourney. Syracuse had better wins and a tougher schedule. But I must admit, I had Arizona State as my last team in, so I'd still have lost those points, I guess.

In seeding, I have some excuses for the three I missed on by more than one line. It seems that many agree that Penn was way under-seeded as a 16, and I had them as a 14. I'd do that again. Creighton showed up on mine as a 10, but they were downgraded from a 9 only because I had Villanova and Xavier as 1's and Providence and Butler both as 9's (but ahead of Creighton) and I couldn't put Creighton in 'Nova's or X's regions. That cost me a point. And I'll just admit that I wasn't entirely sure where to put SD State, and I underestimated them a bit too much.

I'm sorta proud that I got the 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 teams in the South correct. The fun part of this process for us is building the bracket and assigning the teams to cities and seeing the potential matchups. I also had Xavier, Gonzaga and Michigan all in the LA region, though the Zags' seed was off.

All in all I had 67/68 teams correct, 45 teams correctly seeded, and another 19 off by one line, three off by two lines, and one team that didn't get in. Last year I also had 67/68 teams correct, but with 26 teams one line off and three off by two or more lines. So I'm getting a little better with the seeding.

Lots of fun this year.

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