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March 12, 2018 7:29 AM   Subscribe

In the first Chart Party of 2018, SBNation editor Jon Bois dissects the inner workings of March Madness, and looks at how realistic the idea of Cinderella stories are in the system. (SLYT)
posted by NoxAeternum (18 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Chart Party is one of my favorite things on the www.
posted by hijinx at 7:45 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Yes, but how should I fill out my bracket for the office pool?
posted by Big Al 8000 at 7:55 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


I'm a little unnerved at how out of touch I feel right now. This post made me realize that I, a nearly 32-year-old American man, knew absolutely nothing about what "March Madness" is, save for the fact that it's a sports...thing?

That's not supposed to be a snide anti-sports brag, just a "What the hell happened," come-to-Jesus revelation. Sure, I haven't lived in the US for a while, but I was and adult when I left the country, so how did I just miss all this?

This is like the time that I was informed that fantasy football is actually not about imagining a game of football played by imaginary creatures. At least this realization happened in front of the computer instead of in front of actual humans.
posted by wakannai at 7:57 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Yes, but how should I fill out my bracket for the office pool?

I find myself torn between shouting UB BULLS ALL THE WAY and LOYOLA-CHICAGO RAMBLERS ALL THE WAY, which is a lot of caps lock for two schools I did not attend. Anyway, probably don't choose either of those to go very far.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:05 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


This is like the time that I was informed that fantasy football is actually not about imagining a game of football played by imaginary creatures.

If this is a concept that interests you, I would recommend checking out Blood Bowl.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:10 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


And if you're interested in fantasy basketball along those imagined lines, I am told that Pyre is your pal :P
posted by inconstant at 8:16 AM on March 12


I don't give two shits about pro sports of any kind, and I'm especially disinterested in basketball, but this was fascinating.

(And yeah, I mean pro. The NCAA is pro. Too much money involved; they just don't pay the players. Fight me.)
posted by uberchet at 8:37 AM on March 12


Sure, I haven't lived in the US for a while, but I was and adult when I left the country, so how did I just miss all this?

"March Madness" the brand has really only been a thing since the late '90s or so. They also play many of the early round games during work hours and far fewer during prime time. I would guess if you don't watch much TV and didn't go to a D1 basketball university then it's easier to miss than say the Super Bowl.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:10 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


What I love about Chart Party is that it's interesting to people whose Venn overlap with "interested in sports" is minuscule. Chart Party involves teasing a story out of numbers, and Jon Bois's narrative gifts make that story engrossing. As one of my non-sports-caring-about friends said, "I cannot believe you got me to watch an eight-minute video about baseball statistics, and I doubly can't believe how fascinating it was."
posted by sgranade at 9:43 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


With the near infinite number of words spent on the NCAA tourney over the years (and I confess to reading more than my share), it's astounding to see something novel.

And if this serves as a gateway drug to more Jon Bois, all the better. (Here's yr starting point, the outstanding post by brainwane.)
posted by martin q blank at 9:51 AM on March 12


loser factory

A math book I once had in a class had this easy-but-sounded-hard problem: an NCAA-style (single elimination) tournament will have n teams participating. How many games will there be?
posted by thelonius at 10:11 AM on March 12


I'm still bitter about the time I filled out my bracket having carefully researched every team's away record, strength of schedule, and venue... and was totally crushed by my colleague who filled out their bracket based on "fierceness of mascot" + "cool uniform."
posted by TwoStride at 10:13 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]




I think the trick to filling a bracket is to always have the favorites go all the way, but throw in a bunch of upsets in places where it ultimately won't affect anything, so you can feel good about picking cinderellas but also acknowledge that the end the status quo steamrolls all.
posted by ckape at 12:16 PM on March 12


A math book I once had in a class had this easy-but-sounded-hard problem: an NCAA-style (single elimination) tournament will have n teams participating. How many games will there be?

-n * e / n0 - 1
posted by kurumi at 7:08 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Every team loses exactly one game, and is eliminated, except for the tournament winner. There are two teams per game. Every game has exactly one loser. So, there must be n-1 games.
posted by thelonius at 7:44 AM on March 13


Since Thelonius is correct -- ie, you must have 63 losers -- and the answer to the question is always n-1, I have zero idea why you need an equation for it.
posted by uberchet at 3:28 PM on March 13


he was joking I think - look at the denominator

the problem was in the textbook to make a point, about the pigeonhole principle I suppose, and I guess it worked, since I still remember it
posted by thelonius at 5:15 PM on March 13


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