Bracketologist

Bracketologist

BracketDobberSBN

Arlington, VA

Male, 34

I'm currently the resident bracketologist for SB Nation and I've been attempting to accurately project the NCAA Tournament field since 2006. My goal is not only to be correct in picking at-large teams and the seeding of all 68 teams, but to inform the public about the process and how the sometimes bashed college basketball regular season does really have importance. I'd be glad to answer your questions on how the field of 68 is put together, but I won't be much help with your bracket picks.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +

Share:

Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

26 Questions

Share:

Last Answer on May 03, 2013

Best Rated

How did you become a bracketologist? And given the randomness of March Madness outcomes, what makes any one college hoops fan more qualified to be a bracketologist than any other?

Asked by Pete T. about 11 years ago

One of my friends challenged me to put together a bracket when I was in grad school, in 2002. I put it aside for a few years and decided that I could probably do a good job if I did it more frequently. 

Any fan could probably do it, but most probably don't have the interest in rules, procedures and organizational minutiae that I do. It's not the simplest thing in the world to do, even if it looks like it.

If you had a REALLY inaccurate year picking the 68 teams, would your job be in jeopardy?

Asked by L-train about 11 years ago

Considering that I'm trying to predict the behavior of a group of 10 on my own, I wouldn't think so. Plus, the "picking 68 teams" is an exaggeration. In any given season, a maximum of four or five spots is really up for grabs at the end, and usually (like this season) it's a few less.

What's your background? Did you study and/or work in statistics and probability?

Asked by JSB about 11 years ago

I have more of a writing background than a statistical one, though I did a fair amount of statistical analysis in grad school. My focus was on judicial politics -- attempting to predict Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals decisions. Trying to predict the Selection Committee's behavior is actually rather similar. 

Why focus only on predicting the field? Isn't projecting the winners where the majority of interest and value lies?

Asked by Falcons4Life about 11 years ago

In my case, I'm a college basketball fan first. So my goal is to primarily show that there is worth in the journey not just the destination. Otherwise, there are two different skill sets at play here. Mine examines the big picture body of work. Picking the bracket focuses more on the small picture. Given that the tournament is a crapshoot and unpredictable things can happen, I stick with what I know and can explain fairly well. 

What team(s) do you think got screwed this year?

Asked by baselineJ about 11 years ago

No one really. Tennessee was the team I missed, and they came closest, but they also got swept by Ole Miss and Georgia, lost to Alabama in the SEC quarterfinals, and failed to crack 40 against Virginia and Georgetown. If that's the team that's the most screwed this season, I'd say the Committee did a terrific job.

Sounds like the team selection process has improved over time, but what do you think the Committee still needs to improve upon?

Asked by boomshakala... about 11 years ago

The Committee really needs to stop pushing the RPI so much, since it's not a basketball-specific metric (the NCAA uses it for various sports to compare teams). It also creates an issue when evaluating schedules, particularly since everyone's RPI and SOS pull into one another and it creates a feedback loop.

On the schedule front, I think the numbers get too much emphasis over the intent. Take Virginia, for example. While there were several teams on the Cavaliers schedule who probably weren't going to be very good, they did schedule a few CAA teams that in most years would have been an RPI boost. Plus, they played two of them away from Charlottesville (at George Mason and Old Dominion on a neutral court). They got burned by those good intentions when the CAA turned out to be historically bad this season. In short, the Committee should recognize that not all "bad games" are created equal.

What was your most accurate bracket ever?

Asked by brikhaus about 11 years ago

In terms of selection, I got all (then) 34 at-larges right in 2008. In terms of seeding, which is more important since it's more difficult, I've done the best this season and last.