An Introduction to Bracketology 101


Some college courses are so boring, that enduring them takes a lot of fortitude (and coffee) to handle the challenge. Unless the course is an elective, you’re stuck for fifteen weeks listening to your professor drone on and on about applied economics, the mating habits of the Amazon sloth, or the impact of gamma ray irradiation on the structural conformation of two synthesized macromolecular compounds. Yeah, man, total snore material!

Bracketology 101

What if you could design the perfect course, one that would guarantee you an “A” and would provide hours upon hours of homework fun? Well, if it was a course in Bracketology 101, then you’ve hit the jackpot, but don’t hold your breath: it isn’t being taught on college campuses as an accredited course just yet.

What Is Bracketology?

Bracketology is a made up term, one crafted by Joe Lunardi while he was with the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, a publication that tracks NCAA Men’s basketball. Each March, 65 teams are picked to go to the annual tournament, with a complicated bracket structure deciding which school would be placed in what regional and against which teams they would play. The science behind determining this methodology is called bracketology, something Lunardi carried with him when he went to work for ESPN a few years later.

How Good of a Bracketologist Are You?

A bracketologist is only as good as the number of teams he correctly predicts being in the NCAA tournament and the average difference between the bracketologist’s projected seed and the actual seed assigned by the NCAA Selection Committee. These formulas are carefully followed by avid college basketball fans during the weeks leading up to Selection Sunday when the teams and their seedings are announced. Once the brackets have been filled, then the bracketologist is able to figure out how well that he did.

Selection Sunday Is Exam Day

This year’s Selection Sunday is on March 16th, giving bracketology students plenty of time to start predicting which teams will be in the tournament and where. A clearer picture isn’t evident until the last league championships are played on Selection Sunday, meaning many “students” will be cramming before the NCAA selection show airs on ESPN early that evening.

Thanks to automatic berths, about half the teams are easy to figure out. Add in the top five teams from key conferences and you have a significant number of schools picked. Putting in the correct regional with the right seed is the most difficult part of bracketology, something most students have difficulty doing.

Give Yourself An “A”

Still, since Bracketology 101 doesn’t award college credits, go ahead and give yourself an “A” just for trying. Heck, you’re the professor and the student — the best arrangement any college student could possibly hope for!


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Categories: Fun News, NCAA Basketball