Strategizing the Madness

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Sixty-eight teams participating in 65 basketball games in 20 days has even the biggest sports junkies openly acknowledging the NCAA Tournament as “madness.”
Sports fans such as Nick Walter, studying information systems, love being able to watch so much basketball in so little time. And like so many other March Madness advocates Walter eagerly awaited Selection Sunday and the chance to fill out his bracket.
Unlike many bracket competitors though, Walter uses a set algorithm to ensure success. Walter, with ISYS classmate Jeff Potter, developed an algorithm that creates a full, strategized and calculated,  bracket within seconds. The program – which is accessible from their site PickMyBracket.com – pulls statistical data from ESPN.
Walter said the original  idea for PickMyBracket.com came from watching his dad’s tedious statistical analysis of brackets.
“For around the past 10 years he made an Excel file that filled out your March Madness bracket for you based off of team’s ranks and some randomness,” Walter said. “He called it ‘The Pickalator.’ I thought this would be a great chance to bring The Pickalator to the whole world.”
With a large group of students working on PickMyBracket.com, the options with this algorithm are even greater than The Pickalator. Bracketers pick two choices from eight different categorical options. They then  select a statistic they want emphasized such as rebounds or assists. Next, a random factor such as co-ed hotness or mascot strength is selected. After these few options are selected the site  fills out the entire bracket.
When asked why options such as mascot strength are even provided, Isaac Lomeli, over all advertising and marketing of the website, explained they know that’s how some people really like to fill out their brackets and they’re not going to stop them.
“They are fun,” Lomeli said. “Nobody likes a drab website with nothing new. This allows some fun wild cards to be thrown into the algorithm that generates the bracket. Also, I know of people that have made some pretty legit brackets solely based on things like which mascots they liked the best.”
Simply committed to the cause of increased bracket involvement, PickMyBracket.com is eager to help everyone enjoy the madness.
“There are a lot of people invited to participate in a March Madness bracket competition, but in the end they don’t fill out a bracket. They’re too busy or they don’t feel like they know enough about basketball to participate,” Potter said. “We’re trying to help these people experience the fun of March Madness.”

PickMyBracket is on Facebook, PickMyBracket.com and Twitter @pickmybracket

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