Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bracket Showdown, Day 10: [Title Vacated]

With Kentucky's dismantling of Kansas in last night's national championship game, the first ever Feats of Strength Bracket Showdown has come to an end*. A comical 28 entries correctly put Kentucky on the final line. As I said on Twitter last night, I have never seen more experts pick the same team to win a championship -- and be correct -- in a long time. Then again, maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

Anyway, the Aluminum Pole for best performance** goes to Jerry Palm at CBS Sports, who picked 3 of the Final Four, both finalists, and Kentucky to win for a total of 146 points.
Congrats, Jerry; you've earned this.

Also finishing in the money were Ken Pomeroy (second with 137 points) and Jeff Sagarin (third with 135 points). Among the celebrity brackets, Common did the best with 126 points, good for 11th overall. The consolation prize for the last-place finisher goes to Dennis Dodd, who finished with 57 points. For reference, a "chalk bracket" -- always picking the higher seed -- would have netted you an even 120 points, good for 19th out of the 36 entries.

Since this is allegedly an analytics blog, let's see if celebrities, experts or analytical systems did a better job on average predicting the tournament.

Celebs Experts Systems
# Brackets 5 16 11
Avg. Score 117.6 114.1 124.1
Stdev. Score 9.8 20.7 13.8
% > Chalk 40% 44% 73%

Here, "% > Chalk" means the percentage of brackets that scored above the 120 points a pure chalk bracket would have earned. So, on average, you would have been better off copying one of the analytical brackets than one of the expert brackets.

And, just for the hell of it -- and because I just figured out how to code tables in HTML -- let's compare the performances of the experts by media outlet.

# Brackets 8 6 2
Avg. Score 118.1 113.8 99.0
Stdev. Score 26.1 14.2 8.5
% > Chalk 63% 33% 0%

CBS Sports has the best average score and the most brackets above the chalk threshold, although there is a wide spread of scores, ranging from Palm's 146 to Dodd's 57.

Just something to keep in mind next Selection Sunday.
*-Mercifully, in my mind. If I run this next year, there will be none of this "manual bracket scoring" crap.
**-I just want to be clear on something. There is not, nor was there ever, an actual aluminum pole. I was actually asked about this.

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