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March Madness or March Mathness to pick the winning bracket

By now you’ve completed your NCAA March Madness brackets. Did you know the odds of picking the perfect bracket are 1-in-9.2 quintillion? Yes, quintillion, which means 18 zeros after the value. On Monday, Forbes profiled three ways to pick a winning bracket. Two of the three ways outlined in the article use MATLAB.

#1) SmartBracket

SmartBracket, by Supported Intelligence, doesn’t target a perfect bracket. Instead, it aims to beat the others entered in your pool. And who doesn’t want to win their pool?

“SmartBracket takes team popularity and team strength data as an input and uses the computing power of MATLAB and the Rapid Recursive Toolbox to evaluate all 9.2 quintillion NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament bracket possibilities in less than a second. Then, it determines and provides the bracket that will give the user best statistical odds to win his or her NCAA Tournament pool.”
Neal Anderson, Lead Developer at Supported Intelligence, SmartBracket’s parent.

SmartBracket is powered by the Rapid Recursive Toolbox for MATLAB, which is part of MathWorks’ Connections Program. Supported Intelligence utilizes MATLAB Compiler to make SmartBracket available on the web.

#2) March Mathness

March Mathness wasn’t designed to help you win in your pool, but rather to find the perfect bracket, that 1-in-9.2 quintillion unicorn. The tool, created by math professor Dr. Tim Chartier at Davidson College, teaches math and shows how modeling decisions shape bracket selections.

Based on an accumulation of 14 years of college basketball data such as recent performance and winning streaks as an input, Chartier’s model enables users to adjust input factors based upon their opinions and expectations to create their own bracket selections.

The March Mathness tool is available here. To see how MATLAB and March Madness are combined in the classroom, check out this presentation on Sports Ranking with MATLAB.

#3) Pick your teams by the color of their uniform

Ok, this doesn’t sound like the most scientific method, but according to the Forbe’s article:

Since 1939 blue has been the dominant team color of schools who have gone to the Final Four (44%), the Final Two (55%) and won the championship (55%).

It beats a coin toss.  But 5 of the 8 number 1 and number 2 seeds have blue uniforms.  So I think I’ll use math. While Warren Buffet and Quicken Loans haven’t repeated their Billion Dollar Challenge since 2014, you still want to have the best bracket in your pool.  Bragging rights are on the line!

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Let us know if you used math, or MATLAB, to pick your brackets.

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