Raymond’s highly scientific predictions for the 2010 NCAA men’s basketball tournament


Once again, it's time for Raymond to come up with an absurd, arbitrary criterion for filling out his NCAA bracket.

This year, we go to the well-known dispute arbiter Google Fight. The criterion is the number of Google hits for the quoted phrase "%s basketball", divided by the school's seed. (I would have used Bing hits, except Bing's numbers are highly erratic. Only 291 hits for "Arkansas-Pine Bluff basketball"? The results may be more meaningful, but I'm not looking for meaningful results; I'm looking for numbers I can plug into my bracket-o-matic.)

Once the field has been narrowed to eight teams, the results are determined by a coin flip.

Update:

  • Correct predictions are in green.
  • Incorrect predictions are in red.
  • (!) marks upsets correctly predicted.
  • (*) marks upsets predicted but did not take place.
  • (x) marks actual upsets not predicted.

Opening Round Game

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (80,900) Arkansas-Pine Bluff
(80,900)
Winthrop (29,200)

Midwest bracket

1 Kansas (94,200) Kansas
(94,200)
Kansas
(94,200) (x)
Kansas
(heads)
Kansas
16 Lehigh (1,400)
8 UNLV (43,875) Northern Iowa
(57,444) (!)
9 Northern Iowa (57,444)
5 Michigan State (15,120) Michigan State
(15,120)
Maryland
(27,750) (x)
12 New Mexico State (11,083)
4 Maryland (27,750) Maryland
(27,750)
13 Houston (6,784)
6 Tennessee (11,550) San Diego State
(17,272) (*)
Georgetown
(24,766)
Ohio State
(tails)
11 San Diego State (17,272)
3 Georgetown (24,766) Georgetown
(24,766) (x)
14 Ohio (2,057)
7 Oklahoma State (2,857) Oklahoma State
(2,857) (x)
Ohio State
(34,700)
10 Georgia Tech (2,750)
2 Ohio State (34,700) Ohio State
(34,700)
15 UC Santa Barbara (4,746)

West bracket

1 Syracuse (131,000) Syracuse
(131,000)
Syracuse
(131,000)
Syracuse
(tails)
Pittsburgh
16 Vermont (5,312)
8 Gonzaga (5,325) Gonzaga
(5,325)
9 Florida State (1,644)
5 Butler (26,000) Butler
(26,000)
Vanderbilt
(61,750)
12 UTEP (7,600)
4 Vanderbilt (61,750) Vanderbilt
(61,750) (x)
13 Murray State (6,761)
6 Xavier (26,500) Xavier
(26,500)
Pittsburgh
(54,666) (x)
Pittsburgh
(heads)
11 Minnesota (3,427)
3 Pittsburgh (54,666) Pittsburgh
(54,666)
14 Oakland (1,728)
7 BYU (6,785) BYU
(6,785)
Kansas State
(25,000)
10 Florida (5,850)
2 Kansas State (25,000) Kansas State
(25,000)
15 North Texas (7,066)

East bracket

1 Kentucky (285,000) Kentucky
(285,000)
Kentucky
(285,000)
Kentucky
(tails)
New Mexico
16 East Tennessee State (3,687)
8 Texas (24,250) Texas
(24,250) (x)
9 Wake Forest (3,022)
5 Temple (32,600) Cornell
(60,000) (!)
Cornell
(60,000) (!)
12 Cornell (60,000)
4 Wisconsin (8,325) Wisconsin
(8,325)
13 Wofford (2,192)
6 Marquette (15,283) Marquette
(15,283) (x)
New Mexico
(17,633)
New Mexico
(heads)
11 Washington (4,009)
3 New Mexico (17,633) New Mexico
(17,633)
14 Montana (1,778)
7 Clemson (4,885) Clemson
(4,885) (x)
West Virginia
(10,800)
10 Missouri (3,700)
2 West Virginia (10,800) West Virginia
(10,800)
15 Morgan State (5,686)

South bracket

1 Duke (363,000) Duke
(363,000)
Duke
(363,000)
Duke
(heads)
Duke
16 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (5,056)
8 California (2,487) Louisville
(17,444) (*)
9 Louisville (17,444)
5 Texas A&M (156,000) Texas A&M
(156,000)
Texas A&M
(156,000) (*)
12 Utah State (0,883)
4 Purdue (12,000) Purdue
(12,000)
13 Siena (0,900)
6 Notre Dame (14,450) Old Dominion
(14,454) (!)
Old Dominion
(14,454) (*)
Villanova
(tails)
11 Old Dominion (14,454)
3 Baylor (11,100) Baylor
(11,100)
14 Sam Houston State (4,671)
7 Richmond (5,714) Saint Mary's
(9,900) (!)
Villanova
(18,000) (x)
10 Saint Mary's (9,900)
2 Villanova (18,000) Villanova
(18,000)
15 Robert Morris (13,000)

Finals

Kansas (tails) Pittsburgh
(heads)
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh (heads)
New Mexico (heads) New Mexico
(tails)
Duke (tails)
Comments (14)
  1. Adam V says:

    (Slight nitpick: you show New Mexico advancing past Kentucky, but then show Kentucky in the Final Four.)

    [Oops, editing error. My bracket-o-matic doesn’t do coin flips, so I had to edit those in by hand, and obviously I missed a spot. Fixed, thanks. -Raymond]
  2. James Schend says:

    This year, your method is probably just as good as most. I hear from all my friends who play that it’s almost a complete crap-shoot.

  3. Nawak says:

    I’m a bit disappointed here. Since this professor showed that seeds (which is the team ranking, right?) become useless once only eight teams remain, you give up your method and do the coin flips instead, as suggested. This expert was talking about the regular seeds, not Raymond-optimized seeds!

    What if your ponderated seeds didn’t suffer the same shortcomings as the regular ones?

    I guess we’ll never know, since YOU GAVE UP! ;)

  4. cm2 says:

    Did you really flip heads 7 times in a row?  I think your coin may be weighted.

    [I wasn’t sure how to represent that a computer randomly chose one or the other, so I mapped it to a coin flip where the tournament director always called “heads”. You have a better idea of how to represent a coin flip? -Raymond]
  5. Tim says:

    I wait for this every year and I don’t know why. I don’t even like basketball.

  6. Michael says:

    [I wasn’t sure how to represent that a computer randomly chose one or the other, so I mapped it to a coin flip where the tournament director always called "heads". You have a better idea of how to represent a coin flip? -Raymond]

    You could assign "heads" to the team with the most hits, and then do a coin flip…

  7. Ian Johns says:

    I wait for this every year and I don’t know why.

    Because Raymond hits a nerve of truth by poking fun & exposing the train wreck that is all other supposedly-serious-and-legitimate-but-just-as-flawed systems of selecting winning teams.

    And I like basketball.  I just can’t stand most fans’ & even commentators’ ridiculous predictions of how a 65 team bracket is going to play out.  If any one of a billion fans truly could pick a majority of the winners, they’d make enough money gambling to own one or more of the teams — I mean schools.

  8. -dan says:

    I was waiting for this post too, don’t know why but I was.

    With that said, I think a post should be made about last years results, I don’t think you ever followed up.

  9. David Walker says:

    Flipping coins…   If you flip a coin 20 times in a row, and record the results, and then calculate the odds that you would have gotten the sequence you just saw, you can conclude that a miracle just happened.

    Speaking of miracles, I’m wishing that either one of the New Mexico schools would do something here…

  10. Garry Trinder says:

    I think the "divided by seed" element is a bit extreme.  I know it’s designed to give the better teams the advantage, but it seems to be working too well, generally making the top 4 seeds, the final four in that division. (only 3 of the final 16 weren’t seeded 1…4 in their division)

  11. Garry Trinder says:

    > If you flip a coin 20 times in a row, and record the results, and then calculate the odds that you would have gotten the sequence you just saw, you can conclude that a miracle just happened. <<

    The odds that that particular sequence would come up will always be 2^20, or roughly, 1 in a million.   (Your point is still valid; I just wanted to save you some time on that middle step…)

  12. Nawak says:

    By “ponderated seeds”, I meant “weighted seeds”. Ponderated was a bad translation from French.

    And by “we’ll never know”, I meant “knowing whether your formula would have worked until the end will require work from us, which is intolerable”

    I think there’s still something I don’t understand about your method, for instance:

    Cornell/12=5000

    Temple/5=6520

    Why does Cornell win?

    [The numbers in parentheses have already been divided by the seed. -Raymond]
  13. JohnD says:

    Looks like you called the first upset properly! Old Dominion over Notre Dame.

  14. mmyers says:

    I find it extremely interesting that Texas A&M and Cornell have the most hits overall, even more than traditional powers like Kansas, Duke, and Kentucky. Does anyone have any possible explanations for this?

Comments are closed.