As the March Madness tournament approaches closer and closer, it leaves many of us struggling to make our picks before the deadline Thursday morning. For a lot, and I mean a lot, of people, the three day gap I between Selection Sunday and the opening round is the time where we ensure that our picks are superior by doing furious research at home. By home, I actually mean you’re cubicle while simultaneously checking to see if your workplace blocks media streaming, since CBS streams the games live nowadays.
I myself needed a crash course in college basketball. The only basketball I’ve really watched all year was Pac-10 basketball and sadly Cal basketball. Watching a sucky team get stomped on by Pac-10 powerhouses leaves a rather biased taste in my mouth, and I really doubt that a team like Oregon is the shit just because they played in the Pac-10. Thus, I needed to do my own research to broaden my view on this year’s basketball scene.
My first stop for research: ESPN. Surely they would let me know who’s who in non Pac-10 basketball. And what did you know, the first thing that popped on my computer screen was this: the ESPN Bracketcaster powered by AccuScore.
For those of you who don’t know what AccuScore is, here’s the little description they give about themselves: The AccuScore Super Computer has powered more than 10,000 simulations for every possible NCAA Tournament game for ESPN.com. Each game is simulated one play at a time and repeated 10,000 times. “Pretty fuckin’ sweet,” I thought to myself. In my mind, this super computer probably has calculated every single statistic, every single factor, every ranking, RPI, win loss, whatever, into their simulation. Not only that, but the process is repeated 10,000 times. Not even a Bob Costas blogger could pull out that kind of nerd capacity. This is probably the same computer that plays chess and operates Google. I mean, how can a company called AccuScore, not be accurate? That’d be completely retarded.
Well, after using this simulator thingie, let’s just say I don’t recommend it to anyone gambling their spouse away to pay a debt. You will lose and your wife will run away with a Russian loan shark.
Let’s examine what happened exactly on the first run, region by region. First the East (to get a bigger view, click on the image):
The one cool thing is that they have little percentages next to the teams. It’s like watching poker when they have little percents next to the cards, and you don’t have to listen to any of Norman Chad’s extremely nauseating jokes. He’s the Dennis Miller equivalent of poker commentating, and I’m not even sure if poker commentating is that hard to mess up.
The first round went off kind of how I expected, nothing that surprising. The only upset was George Mason, but it’s not that big of a deal. I also that it was a little weird they gave Indiana such a staggering percentage (61). I guess they don’t factor in coaching scandals to their analysis. Then things get a little peculiar the second round. South Alabama beats Tennessee, and with almost a 30 percent chance. Then again, Tennessee does tend to fuck up a lot in the tournament. Then, in the Sweet 16, Washington State beats UNC. I’ve seen Washington State play. They’re good, but not THAT good. Washington State closes out to make it to the final four. As I look at the region I just simulated, a lot of it is kind of odd, but overall still a little believable. I mean I CAN see these games happening, but do I really think it will happen. Hell nah. On to the next region.
The Midwest region is actually a little more realistic then the South. All the games are also pretty kosher, even the Gonzaga upset in the second round. I don’t really agree with the whopping 45 percent chance though Gonzaga has against Georgetown. That’s like saying it’s a coin toss. Trust me, it isn’t. In fact, Gonzaga is the “favorite” against USC? When did this happen? Perhaps it’s my Pac-10 bias, but OJ Mayo has been playing pretty solid as of late, so where’s the love for him?
Maybe this AccuScore thing is based in Seattle and controlled by Paul Allen and his cronies at Microsoft. The big surprise USC was able to claw its way to the final four. But then again, they made it by beating Kansas, a staple for fucking up in the tourney. Not really a surprise there.
On to the West…
Now it gets retarded. Belmont in the Elite Eight? What the fuck. Yeah that’s about all I have to say. The only thing AccuScore got right: highlighting the ridiculously easy path UCLA has to the final four.
Lastly is the South…
Looks like AccuScore decided to lay one bomb and then take another dump all over the brackets. Texas losing to Austin Peay? Matthew McConaughey is not amused.
Even sadder is that Miami only has a 67 percent chance to beat AP in the next round. Of course the big “shit, I’m screwed” moment comes when Miss St. wins the whole thing and becomes the last member of the final four by beating….. Marquette. AccuScore sucks.
In the final four we have 3 Pac-10 teams. Guess my west coast biased is kind of right? I’m not really to sure, since this simulator shares the same biased, and that’s not a good thing…. AT ALL. USC downs Washington St (which they haven’t been able to do all year), and UCLA beats Miss St (what a shocker). UCLA then wins it all. At least they got the national champ somewhat right.
Now I know it’s hard to base things on one run, so I tried two more just to make sure my bad luck wasn’t at fault.
This bracket was even shittier then than the last one, and Washington State still made it pretty far. I also don’t know how Stanford ended up beating UCLA. Actually, it that does make sense, considering no Pac-10 refs will be involved.
This bracket is much closer to something “realistic” though Tennesee doesn’t seam to get love anywhere on any of these simulations. Oh, and Georgia isn’t going to make it that far, unless a sandstorm hits Phoenix and they’re forced to play a double header again.
So, yeah, that concludes my research and, on the grand scale, wasted a lot of time. It still beats doing that TPS report, though.
Have fun watching the games, just make sure you don't lose a finger for "insurance".
Update: Seems like the folks at AccuScore actually left a comment! Thus, I do think you should check out the Bracketcaster, since AccuScore seem to be good sports about it. If anything, it should just be a good little timewaster as the big dance inches closer and closer. Here is AccuScore's website.
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