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Bracketology: How can math help?

Every year, people across the United States predict how the field of 65 teams will play in the Division I NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament by filling out a tournament bracket for the postseason play. This article discusses two popular rating methods that are also used by the Bowl Championship Series, the organization that determines which college football teams are invited to which bowl games. The two methods are the Colley Method and the Massey Method, each of which computes a ranking by solving a system of linear equations. The article also discusses how both methods can be adapted to take late season momentum into account. All the methods were used to produce brackets in 2009 and their results are given, including a mathematically-produced bracket that was better than 97% of the nearly 4.5 million brackets submitted to ESPN's Tournament Challenge.

March MATHness MOOC

In this course, you will learn three popular rating methods two of which are also used by the Bowl Championship Series, the organization that determines which college football teams are invited to which bowl games. The first method is simple winning percentage. The other two methods are the Colley Method and the Massey Method, each of which computes a ranking by solving a system of linear equations. We also learn how to adapt the methods to take late season momentum into account. This allows you to create your very own mathematically-produced brackets for March Madness by writing your own code or using the software provided with this course.

March MATHness in the Classroom

MAA Invited Paper Session on Thinking Linearly about Data in Research and Teaching, San Diego, CA. January 2013

Odds of a perfect NCAA Basketball Bracket - DePaul Expert, Professor Jeff Bergen

Getting ready for your office pool? DePaul Professor Jeff Bergen has the formula that can tell you your odds of filling out a perfect NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket, and it's more difficult to do than you might think!

Who do you expect to see in the final four? What will the final score be in the final game? Please comment below. In closing, from a friend,

Fr. Kaj Relwof, secretary to His Holiness Francis Uno, just sent the Pope's brackets. No surprise, it's an all Catholic Final Four and a Jesuit champion.