The Madness Begins

I wanted to start this post off with an ecard I got from my friend Lisa over in Indonesia (that is the international connection for today’s post),

Very true

Filling out my bracket is always equal parts fun and frustration for me, and how you fill out your bracket says a lot about you. Thankfully my picks do not get as heavily scruntinized as President Obama’s, whose picks were described as “predictable and pandering” in Time Magazine. Obama (and perhaps myself) may have been better off following some of the tips outlined in a recent article on Barking Up the Wrong Tree, wherein science is used to inform bracket picks and eventual winners. Some of the surprising findings they suggest are that;

Despite all the preparations and tips I follow when picking a bracket, I still manage to come up short and I feel as though this McSweeney’s letter is written to me. And while I might not have the best luck at the NCAA Tournament picks, maybe I can do better at one of the many other similarly designed brackets that are out there, such as;

Two-tone boxes FTW!

But all of this March Madness (and subsequent April Abjectedness) actually has the potential to teach us a little bit about evolutionary ecology. Last year io9 had a great post discussing a paper which compares the tournament to biological evolution. Their case makes some sense, and falls along the lines of “the rich get richer”, where good schools are more easily able to attract good players, which creates this feedback loop of sorts. More recently, this metaphor was taken even further with the use of Rock-Paper-Scissors (lizard-Spock) in a tournament style framework to demonstrate the eventual equilibrium obtained in an ecosystem, and the potential disruption by the loss of a trait (think about an “ecosystem” where the organisms with the ability to throw rocks were eliminated, you would end up with a lot of scissor yielding organisms). So even when spending time working out my bracket, it still counts as studying.


3 thoughts on “The Madness Begins

  1. Pingback: Racquets and Paddles | On a Quasi-Related Note

  2. Pingback: Round-Up Ready: March Madness Edition | On a Quasi-Related Note

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