Tako Tuesdays Revolutionizes the Art of the Bracket

Ever wish that more things worked like college brackets? That you could seed everything that way? Top 64 pre-game foods. Top 64 college players. Well, now you can do just that with your friends, with the Allstate BFF Brackets, which takes your 64 top Facebook friends (an algorithm seeds them based on interaction) and seeds them in four regions, exactly like the real tourney. Once the tourney starts, your friends advance with the corresponding seeds - till one is left standing. Check it out here.

There are a multitude of strategies when it comes to filling out your NCAA tournament bracket. Whether you actually study and pick games based on what might happen on the court, or pick based on which team has the cutest mascot or tallest foreigner, it's important to have a system. I am fortunate in that I am a genius; I don't have to use a system that someone else is using because I'm smart enough to make up my own.

Now, it isn't easy to come up with a ubiquitous sports formula. It has to be complicated enough that just believing the end result is easier than figuring out what goes into it, like QB Passer Rating, the most complex and frightening statistic of them all. I was gonna try to explain it, but that would require me to learn it. And I'm not diving down another twisted rabbit hole, not this month.

It's got to have math, because the common sports fan hates math and doesn't want to take up time doing it. Take, for instance, ERA in baseball. All it is is the number of earned runs a pitcher has given up, divided by the number of innings pitched, multiplied by nine. Seems simple enough. But when it looks like this:

(ER/IP)9

Sweet Jesus, that looks hard! 

Lastly, it has to have a good name/acronym. WHIP, OBP, PER, WAR, and anything ending in % is always good. Anything with a + sign at the end of it is bad.

Therefore, I give you my formula for rating the NCAA tournament field, and the formula by which I will be picking my bracket for the ATQ Bracket Challenge; I call it the CHAMP Rating. CHAMP stands for Current and Historical Ability Measurement Percentage, and here's how it works:

  • Seeding doesn't matter - sure, the top seeds usually win the tournament, but that's because they've been the better teams over the course of the year, not because of their seeding. If the selection committee makes Middle Tennesse State a 2 seed, it doesn't give them a better shot of winning.
  • History matters - There's a reason teams like Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, and Kentucky keep winning the Big Dance. And as much as Northern Colorado wants to believe they have a shot, they aren't making a Cinderella run in their first-ever appearance.
  • Winning is everything, especially against good teams - if you have beaten the best once, you can do it again in the Dance.
  • Some stats are more important than others - more specifically, I'm valuing FG%, A/TO ratio, rebounding, and FT%.

When you put it all together, you get this:

(2010-11 Wins-ranked opponents x 1.5) + (Total NCAA tournament wins/10) + (rebounds per game/2) + (FT% x 20) + (FG% x 30) + (AST/TO ratio x 10)

Is it arbitrary? Absolutely. Are there things I'm overlooking? Definitely. But it's a formula. So it's going to work.  

You can find the stats HERE, and you can view my full CHAMP Rating bracket in the ATQ Tourney Challenge. 

So how do you pick a bracket as well as me? By inventing your own formula for success and putting it to the test. Post your best bracket strategy in the comments, and good luck this March Madness. If you win a money pool using the CHAMP Rating, I'll only need 60% of your winnings. You can keep the rest.

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