March Madness

Most American people know what you are talking about when you say the phrase “March Madness.” There are people who you have to remind that it is referring to college basketball, but generally after that a light pops on and they say, “Ooohh, I don’t really follow sports,” or “Ohh, I filled out a bracket once. I think I lost.”

That isn’t quite true at SER, at least in my department. While I have filled a bracket for years and follow college basketball somewhat; I have to admit that I can’t help but see a factor tree or binary tree when I look at a blank bracket ever March. Last week when I was reminded that the tournament was approaching, I drew the following diagram:

It’s not everyone’s idea of fun, but it’s why I do what I do – instead of what you do – because I find it fascinating. I also found this article which I read, and yes I stopped at every section and calculated the odds, reminisced about geometric series & Bernoulli trials (Oh how I miss probability), plugged different values in formulas, etc. It’s a pretty great article – Check it out: http://www.exploringbinary.com/elements-of-binary-in-the-ncaa-basketball-tournament/


It seemed selfish to keep all the amusement that the tournament was bringing to myself. I asked my coworker who I really like if he wanted to fill out a bracket (we’ll call him Buddy); he’s not American, but into sports so I thought he’d enjoy it. Buddy was so excited; he had just been talking about the tournament with his son, and was so excited to join the office pool. We decided to invite The Watcher, and the Teddy Bear to play with us; neither are American; neither watch sports; both love statistics. They were excited too, but nervous, they had so many questions about the tournament and how to fill out a bracket. After all the fuss they made, we had to include Grandpa (who probably has the most experience in Bracketology – He’s a big college sports fan, and older than most of us… ) and unfortunately IC. IC is also not American, but thinks he is, and has done a bracket every year since I have been SER by himself with a pencil with a well-used eraser…

So that is our group; no money; because most don’t know what they are doing and don’t want to bet, and the others don’t want to bet against the boss. However whoever loses will have to take this fuzzy penguin to a meeting. I actually plan on trying to lose, because bringing the penguin to a meeting is actually a win from where I sit.

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