Wednesday, March 26, 2014 Issue # 7.2.4 "Billion Dollar Time Machine" [Sweet 16 Thoughts] [ Home | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Updates ]
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CERRITOS/EL SEGUNDO, CA (smt)- After just 32 games, much less the 48 that have been played already, no one in the Warren Buffett-insured Quicken Loans Billion $ Bracket Challenge was perfect. Of course, the odds up to the start of the Round of 32 was still 4,294,967,296 (4.2 billion) to 1, not accounting that each game has a different probability of winning (e.g., the 4.2 billion assumes each game has a 50/50 chance of either team winning but we know, for example, the #16 seed has basically >1% chance). So try beating 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 1 (9.2 quintillion) to get all 63 games correct (that number is greater than the national debt of $17,560, 724,125,874 (17.5 trillion). Even if you were to weigh each game (e.g., #1 has 90% beating #16, #2 85% over #15, #3 80% over #14, etc.), you still would be about 70 billion to 1. And for the first 32 games, it's about 45,000 to 1 (very reasonable and has happened (not in our pool) quite a few times in the past in other national pools). Over 20 years, we've had only 1,559 entries which means sometime in the next 569 years we will have our perfect 32-0 bracket! If the games were split evenly over the first two days (e.g., two #1 seeds play Thursday, two on Friday), then weighing the probabilities, it's only 211 to 1 to be a perfect 16-0. And in our pool, we've had 5 perfect 16-0 entries (including 2 this year) which means our actual ratio is 312 to 1, which is close to 211 to 1. Don't you love it when the math works out?
Anyway, if you had gone 48-0 by now, the odds are only 1 in 32,768 or if weighted, as good as 1 in 4,114 (it'll be higher because not all #1, #2, #3, and #4 seeds will make the Sweet 16) to complete the perfect bracket. Seems reasonable. So, if I had a hot tub time machine and was able to tell myself how to pick the bracket to get to 48-0 to be on my way to a Billion Dollar bracket, here are 16 pieces to the puzzle.
Chalk. Start with all the favorites (seed-wise). There were only 14 upsets of the 48 games.
N'names. A couple big schools have some weird shortened names ('Cuse, 'Nova). So the big school name will get them through one game, but the shortened name will put them short of the Sweet 16.
Home away from home. Dayton was a potential to play in the First Four, which meant playing on their home court. But the Flyers didn't want that. So they got a #11 seed away in Buffalo and advanced to Memphis.
Injury uncertainty. Would Kansas' Joel Embid return for the Sweet 16? Well, don't worry about it. And Iowa St, even without Georges Niang, knows how to beat teams with "NC" in their name.
Committee shenanigans. What a funny group. Once again, they'll try to pit UCLA vs Florida again for the 4th time in 9 years. They'll try to eliminate undefeated Wichita St, not with a mid-major #8 or #9 seed, but #8 Kentucky with elite freshmen and a coach (John Calipari) to boot. They also set up a 2nd round matchup between coach (Louisville's Rick Pitino) vs former assistant (Manhattan's Steve Masiello) and the mentor always wins. A former Big East matchup looms between UConn & Villanova.
Devil's advocate. In '11 and '13, Duke made the Sweet 16. In '12, they lost to #15 Lehigh. It's 2014.
Adjacent states. From north to south, Nebraska touches Colorado which touches New Mexico. The line of death. Tri-State Peak in the Cumberland Gap connects Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia -- the point of double success.
Repeaters. Of the 7 2nd round winners of last year's Midwest bracket playing this year, bet on six of them to do it again (see #6). Of the 6 2nd round winners of last year's West bracket playing this year, five of them will do it again (see #3). Of the 6 2nd round winners of last year's South bracket playing this year, five of them will do it again (see #10).
Broken panhandle. Not a good year for the three Oklahoma teams.
Texas stars. Bet on the three Texas-based teams to win their 2nd round game but only the best seeded team will make the Sweet 16.
Everyone's a winner. All 10 multiple-bid conferences will win at least one game, which is good news for the West Coast Conference (see #9).
Great lakes. The two states in the tourney which border Lake Michigan will flow through two games.
Carolina blues. Of the six North or South Carolina teams in the tourney, only one will win a 2nd round game (see #4).
California dreamin'. UCLA played in nearby San Diego for their two games while San Diego St. will now play in nearby Anaheim for their next game.
Four is a lucky number. Forget the #1 seeds. Bet on all #4 seeds to make the Sweet 16.
Double Wildcats. There are five Wildcat teams and four of them played each other: Arizona-Weber St & Kentucky-Kansas St. Pick the better seed.
Hopefully with this info, you would've been able to decipher the puzzle and pick 48 straight correct games. And then get back in the time machine to brag to your friends!
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Never tell me the odds! ...