This March, anyone with Internet access stands a chance to win $1 billion from Warren Buffet and Quicken Loans – if you can perfectly pick all 63 games in the NCAA tournament. But your chance of doing that is exceedingly small – about one in 9.2 quintillion.
College of Charleston junior mathematics major Stephen Gorman has spent the past year immersed in rankings research, and he’s ready to put his skills to the test. Here, he shares tips for billionaire-hopefuls looking to increase their odds.
Step 1: Understand your options
The Massey Rating model is a score-based, or biased, system of calculating the most likely winner. It examines the scores of previous games and factors the score differential – the number of points the winning team won by – as well as strength of schedule (more weight is given to teams that play higher quality opponents).
The Colley Rating model is an unbiased system that simply looks at whether a team won or lost, not by how much. In other words, this system bases its rankings off the assumption that all teams begin the tournament as equal, and wins and losses are the lone factors that impact a team’s rating.
Step 2: Head to the March MATHness site
Here, you can automate your bracket based on your choice of either the Massey or Colley Rating model. It’s really that easy.
Step 3: Decide whether you want to weight your bracket
The Massey Rating model predicts individual games within roughly 60 percent accuracy, but weighting those games significantly increases the odds. Weighting a game simply means assigning more or less meaning to that game, which will ultimately impact both teams’ rating.
“I recommend using ‘intervals’ weighting on the March MATHness site,” Gorman said. “It’s the easiest to understand, and works pretty well too. However I wouldn’t be correct in saying one type of weighting is better than another. There are an infinite number of weighting options, so test them out and see what you think.”
Of his own weighting system, Gorman said “the goal of it is to reward teams that play against other really good teams and beat them – and to minimize the benefit that a good team gets by beating a poorer opponent.”
Step 4: Submit your bracket by 1 a.m. tonight to Yahoo Sports!
Step 5: Wait and see
With math on your team, you’re far more likely to win than someone who picks a bracket at random. So stay tuned to find out if basketball and mathematics have made you the world’s newest billionaire.